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Maryland reports 1,199 new coronavirus cases, 21 fatalities

The Maryland health department reported 1,199 new coronavirus cases Thursday, along with 21 deaths attributable to the COVID-19 illness.

The daily tallies bring the state’s case count to 367,865 and its casualties to 7,288 since health officials began tracking the disease in March.

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Ten fewer people were hospitalized because of the coronavirus Thursday compared to Wednesday. Some 1,272 people were in hospitals across Maryland, with 324 requiring intensive care.

“Today, we sense with optimism, that we have weathered this most recent phase of the storm,” Dr. Ted Delbridge, executive director of Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems, said Thursday. ”We are, by no means, out of the fight. And we have quite a way to go. However we are optimistic that COVID-19 hospitalizations will continue to improve in the near term. ... We remain vigilant with no plan to stand down.”

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Maryland reported completing 39,191 COVID-19 tests over the last 24 hours. It has now completed more than 7.3 million tests for the disease.

Meanwhile, the state’s seven-day average testing positivity rate continued to decline Wednesday, down to 5.08%, from 5.32% a day earlier.

At opposite ends of the state, Washington and Dorchester counties reported the highest average testing positivity rates. In Western Maryland, Washington County reported 8.32% positivity over the past week. On the Eastern Shore, Dorchester County reported 8.02% testing positivity over the same time frame.

In the suburbs of Washington, D.C., Prince George’s County reported the highest average testing positivity among Maryland’s five most populous jurisdictions, with 7.29% positivity over the past week.

Maryland’s average number of infections per 100,000 people decreased Wednesday, after increasing for two days in a row following almost a month of decline. Wednesday’s rate was 20.9 infections per 100,000 people.

The nation averaged 32.4 cases per 100,000 people, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dorchester County was the only Maryland jurisdiction to record a rate higher than the national average. With about 32,000 residents, Dorchester reported about 35 infections per 100,000 people.

Boasting more than 900,000 residents, the rate in Prince George’s County of 26.6 cases per 100,000 people paced Maryland’s five most populated jurisdictions.

With elevated positivity and average case rates, Prince George’s continued to lag behind the rest of the state in vaccinating its residents. It has fully vaccinated 11,709 residents, about 1.2% of its population. That’s the lowest figure in the state.

As of Thursday, Maryland reported 197,990 people had been completely immunized statewide and 587,180 received at least one shot of the vaccines, which requires two doses.

Some 16,685 people received their first immunization over the last 24 hours, while 16,449 got their second shots, according to state health department data.

Over the last week, Maryland has averaged more than 26,179 doses administered per day, the highest rate since the first shots were administered to health care workers in mid-December.

Garrett County, the farthest-west jurisdiction in the state, had fully vaccinated 5.2% of its population as of Thursday, the highest proportion in the state.

Baltimore County paced Maryland’s five most populated jurisdictions, having completely immunized 36,900 residents, or about 4.5% of its population. Next door, Baltimore City has provided two shots into the arms of about 3.5% of its people, about 20,590 shots.

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