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Maryland averaging 750 new coronavirus cases a day in first 2 weeks of August; 12 new deaths reported Friday

Maryland health officials reported 715 new coronavirus cases and 12 new deaths Friday, ending the first two weeks of August with an average of just over 750 new confirmed cases a day.

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state reached 98,875 on Friday , and the total number of deaths is now 3,495, state officials said. August’s case numbers are down from the last two weeks of July, when Maryland averaged 855 new COVID-19 cases a day.

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The number of Marylanders currently hospitalized with the disease, a key metric in the state’s paused reopening plan, is down for the fifth straight day. Maryland is reporting 457 patients currently hospitalized, 13 fewer than the day before. Of those patients, 107 of them are requiring intensive care, down four from Thursday, and 350 are in acute care, down nine from Thursday.

The total number of people ever hospitalized with COVID-19 in Maryland has reached 13,508, according to the state.

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Maryland’s seven-day average testing positivity rate has risen slightly to 3.63%, according to the state health department. That’s up from its lowest reported rate of 3.49%, reported Thursday, and marks the 50th straight day Maryland’s reported figure has been beneath 5%.

The state’s rate tracks the percentage of positive test results among all tests conducted, a method consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

The World Health Organization recommends 14 straight days of positivity rates beneath 5% before easing virus-related restrictions.

But the Johns Hopkins University, which calculates the positivity rate differently, reports that Maryland’s positivity rate remains just above the 5% benchmark. The state has the 18th-lowest positivity rate among the nation’s 50 states, with a seven-day rolling positivity rate of 5.01% through Thursday’s data, according to the university’s coronavirus resource center.

Hopkins determines its rate using the number of people tested, rather than tests conducted, meaning multiple tests on the same individuals aren’t included in the calculation.

Among states, Maryland ranks 24th in test results per capita, 18th in cases per capita and 13th in deaths per capita through Thursday’s data, according to Hopkins.

Six of the state’s jurisdictions had positivity rates higher than the statewide rate as of Friday, according to the Maryland Department of Health.

Prince George’s County led the state in total cases and positivity rate as of Friday, according to the state.

Prince George’s had 24,442 total cases, followed by Montgomery County (18,819), Baltimore County (13,699), Baltimore City (13,210) and Anne Arundel County (7,564).

With a 5.77% seven-day positivity rate Friday, Prince George’s was the only county that remains above the recommended 5% rate, according to the state’s calculations.

The five other areas with the highest rates were Baltimore City (4.59%), Charles County (4.53%), Queen Anne’s County (4.2%), Baltimore County (3.93%) and Alleghany County (3.74%), according to the state.

The coronavirus has continued to disproportionately affect Maryland’s Black and Latino populations.

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Despite representing only about 30% of the population, Black people accounted for more than 37% of all confirmed cases and 41% of all deaths for which the patient’s race was known, according to the state.

Latinos, who make up only about 10% of the state’s population, accounted for nearly 30% of the confirmed cases and nearly 12% of all deaths for which the patient’s race was known.

White people account for about 60% of all Marylanders, but only 26% of the confirmed COVID-19 cases and 42% of the deaths for which the race was known.

The state says it lacks race data for more than 15,000 cases — more than 15% of the confirmed total.

The virus is deadliest to the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions and compromised immune systems. People older than 80 accounted for almost 46% of all confirmed deaths and 55% of the 136 deaths believed to have been caused by COVID-19 but without confirmation from a laboratory test.

But four age groups — people in their 30s, 20s, 40s and 50s — continued to represent the bulk of the patients.

Nearly 19% of patients were in their 30s; about 18% were in their 20s; about 17% were in their 40s; and about 15% were in their 50s, according to state data.

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