Maryland reported 1,081 new cases of the coronavirus and 11 more deaths Sunday, extending a streak of more than 1,000 people contracting the virus to five straight days.
The additions bring the state’s total to 153,996 cases of COVID-19 and 4,063 people who have died due to the disease or complications from it, since officials began tracking the pandemic in March.
As large swaths of the United States are seeing surges of the coronavirus, setting record highs for daily case counts, Maryland is seeing hundreds more people hospitalized due to the disease and positivity rates climb in several counties.
As of Sunday, 655 people in Maryland are hospitalized due to complications from COVID-19, 23 more than Saturday.
According to health officials, 10 more people have been placed in intensive care units for a total of 163 patients, the most since June 27. The state reported 492 people are being treated in acute care units, 13 more than Saturday.
Health officials have reported that 209 more people have become hospitalized with the disease in the past two weeks. After a steady decline in patients from August to September, the number of people hospitalized from the disease has risen since mid-October.
The seven-day rolling statewide positivity rate was 4.62% Sunday, 0.08 percentage points more than Saturday. The Johns Hopkins University coronavirus research center has that positivity rate at 3.79%.
The World Health Organization recommends governments wait until their jurisdictions experience positivity rates below 5% for 14 consecutive days before easing restrictions on businesses and gatherings.
While the state is still slightly below the 5% rate, nearly one-third of Maryland’s counties as well as Baltimore City are above that recommended rate as of Sunday.
According to the state, Somerset (9.36%), Allegany (7.7%), Garrett (7.45%), Harford (5.73%), Charles (5.67%), Prince George’s (5.52%) and Anne Arundel (5.17%) counties are above the recommended 5% seven-day average rate. Baltimore City is also at 5.47% as of Sunday.
Somerset County — a largely rural county of roughly 25,000 people that’s home to the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore — has reported 82 new coronavirus cases in the past two weeks. With 492 cases reported overall since March, it means more than 15% of the jurisdiction’s cases have been reported since Oct. 25.
Allegany County — a jurisdiction of roughly 70,000 people and one of three counties that border Pennsylvania and West Virginia — has seen a drastic increase in cases over the same period. The county has reported 416 new cases over the past two weeks, representing roughly 40% of the county’s overall case count, which stands at 1,051 as of Sunday.
Allegany officials reported Sunday that 52.14 out of every 100,000 county residents are currently testing positive for the virus, based on a seven-day rolling average infection rate. The rate is by far the highest in the state, with the second-highest being Somerset County at 28.44 cases per 100,000 people.
Garrett County — another Western Maryland county that shares borders with Pennsylvania and West Virginia with a population a little below 30,000 people — has reported 45 new cases in the past two weeks, or about 25% of the county’s 181 total cases.
The majority of cases continue to come from five counties and jurisdictions in the populated Baltimore-Washington D.C. metropolitan corridor. Officials reported that 699, or roughly 64.66%, of Sunday’s cases came from Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Prince George’s and Montgomery counties as well as Baltimore City. Roughly 65.52% of the state’s population lives in those jurisdictions.
Baltimore City reported 131 new confirmed cases Sunday, the fourth-most out of any jurisdiction. Its rate of 26.21 cases for every 100,000 residents is nearly double what it was two weeks ago and the highest the jurisdiction has seen since early August.
On Friday, Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young reinstated stricter restrictions on city establishments, requiring bars that don’t serve food to close and limiting operating capacity at other establishments to 25%.
Young adults continue to contract the disease at higher rates than the rest of the population.
State officials reported that more than half of Sunday’s cases, 568, were from people 20 to 49 years old. For reference, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that roughly 40% of the state’s population is within this age demographic.
All 11 people who died from the virus were 60 or older, the state reported.
The pandemic continues to disproportionately affect the state’s Black and Latino populations. Roughly 60% of the state’s confirmed COVID-19 cases where information on race was available, 79,220, were found in Black or Hispanic residents. The two demographic groups represent less than half the state’s population.
In comparison, white residents — who constitute more than 58% of the state’s population, or about 50% when accounting for those who also identify as Hispanic or Latino — represented about 32% of all confirmed cases with 42,120.
While the split is still disproportionate compared with the state’s population, white residents have slowly become a larger portion of the state’s total cases in recent months after representing less than a quarter of all cases in mid-July.
Over the past two weeks, white residents were the leading demographic for new confirmed cases, representing about 42%, or 5,097, of the 12,107 cases reported since Oct. 25 where race data was available. Black residents were second with 3,601 cases, or roughly 30%, and Hispanic/Latinx residents were third with 2,472 cases, or roughly 20%.
White people have a higher mortality rate compared with other races, with 1,687 cases proving fatal for a rate of about 4.16% as of Sunday. About 3.48% of cases among Black people and about 1.44% of cases among Latinos were fatal. All of these rates have been decreasing at varying rates in recent months.
The state does not have racial demographic data for 22,512 COVID-19 cases.