Maryland officials on Saturday reported 798 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus and four new fatalities associated with COVID-19, the disease the virus causes.
Those additions bring the state to 135,127 confirmed infections and 3,891 virus-related deaths since state officials began tracking the spread of the virus in March.
Entering Saturday, Maryland’s positivity rate was 3.15%, a slight increase over the rate the state announced Friday.
The 14-day average of newly reported cases in Maryland has trended upward in October. That figure stood at 488 Sept. 30, but was at 593 as of Saturday.
The state reported the third-highest daily testing volume to date Saturday, with over 36,000 new tests conducted. That raised the cumulative testing volume to 3,049,634.
State officials say 422 people are currently hospitalized with the virus, six more than on Friday. Of those, 108 are being treated in intensive care units, down by three since Friday.
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Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus resource center on Saturday placed Maryland’s positivity rate at 2.27%.
Hopkins officials calculate state positivity rates using data provided by The COVID Tracking Project. On Friday, the project changed how it maps Maryland’s case data, causing Hopkins' positivity rate for the state appear to plummet from earlier in the week, when it was above 5%.
Previously, Hopkins calculated the positivity rate using the number of people tested. That meant that individuals who are tested multiple times, regardless of their results, were counted only once in the university’s calculation.
The project counts “total tests” to now include all viral tests performed, Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo, lead epidemiologist for Hopkins' coronavirus resource center’s Testing Insights Initiative, said Saturday in a statement.
“With this significant change, we will once again review our data inputs and calculations to insure that our numbers reflect the most responsible public health calculation of test positivity,” Nuzzo said.
The World Health Organization says governments should wait until their jurisdictions' positivity rates are below 5% for 14 consecutive days before beginning to ease virus-related restrictions. Maryland has been under this threshold since July, according to the state’s reported figures.
Maryland officials reported that Prince George’s County, at 5.38%, was the only state jurisdiction with a positivity rate higher than 5% as of Friday. Somerset County had a rate of 5.04% Thursday, but dropped to 4.1% Friday.