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Maryland reports spike in new cases, declining hospitalizations as state prepares to lift stay-at-home order

The Maryland Department of Health reported a spike in new cases of the coronavirus, to 1,091, even as total hospitalizations ticked down to 1,538 on Thursday, the day before the governor’s stay-at-home order was set to expire.

The new case count jumped 45 percent from the day before, and was the state’s sixth worst day for new cases since the outbreak began in mid-March. Overall hospitalizations continued their slow trend down, declining by 12 patients since Wednesday.

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The state also reported 54 overnight deaths as a result of COVID-19, bringing the death toll to 1,748. An additional 112 deaths are counted as probably caused by the virus but not yet confirmed by a laboratory test

Gov. Larry Hogan, who announced Wednesday the lifting of some restrictions on retailers, salons and houses of worship, cited a 14-day trend in decreasing in hospitalizations as reason enough to amend the stay-at-home order. Hospitalizations peaked at 1,711 on April 30.

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While overall hospitalizations have decreased since the beginning of May, the number of patients needing intensive care has remained about the same since then, with 569 reported in the ICU Thursday.

More than 35,000 people in Maryland have tested positive for the coronavirus, while about 142,000 others have tested negative. Still, tests remain limited in number and hard to come by for patients who do not have symptoms or cannot prove they have been exposed to the virus.

State figures show a disproportionate number of Hispanic residents have tested positive for the coronavirus, representing more than a fifth of all known cases and just 10% of Maryland’s population. Black Marylanders continue to lead the reported racial and ethnic group data with over 11,000 total cases, despite making up about 30% of the state’s population, according to U.S. Census data.

Prince George’s and Montgomery counties continue to lead all other Maryland jurisdictions in cases, with 10,072 and 7,283, respectively. Baltimore County and Baltimore City follow with 4,160 and 3,476 cases each.

Over 6,500 Marylanders have been hospitalized for COVID-19, with about 2,456 released from isolation — 24 of them in the last 24 hours.

While people in all age groups are vulnerable to infection by the coronavirus, the elderly remain most likely to succumb to the illness. Of the state’s 1,748 deaths, 771 were aged 80 or more and 438 were 70 to 79.

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