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Maryland reports 471 new coronavirus cases, one new death

Maryland officials reported 471 newly confirmed cases of the coronavirus Sunday and one more death.

The additions bring the state’s count to 127,290 cases of COVID-19 since officials began tracking the disease in mid-March. In total, 3,814 people have died due to the disease or complications from it.

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As of Sunday, 320 people in Maryland are hospitalized due to complications from COVID-19, three fewer than Saturday. Of this group, 77 require intensive care.

The state reported that 35 of those patients were newly hospitalized, down significantly from Saturday’s spike of 96 patients.

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The statewide seven-day testing positivity rate is at 3.01% as of Sunday, a slight increase over Saturday and the first time the state has been over 3% since Sept. 18.

Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus resource center, which calculates the positivity rate differently from Maryland officials, has the state’s seven-day average positivity rate at 5.88% as of Sunday.

The World Health Organization recommends governments see 14 consecutive days with positivity rates below 5% before beginning to ease restrictions related to the coronavirus. The state’s reported rate has been below that figure for about three months, but it began its reopening before getting under the 5% mark, citing guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Somerset County is the only county the state is reporting with a seven-day average positivity rate of above 5%, at 5.45% as of Sunday with four new cases of the virus Sunday. While it’s had 299 total cases since March, fewer than 30,000 people live in the rural Eastern Shore county, making it more susceptible to momentary increases due to positive tests.

More than 75% of all cases came from five counties and jurisdictions — Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Prince George’s and Montgomery counties along with Baltimore City — in the populated Baltimore-Washington D.C. corridor. Roughly 65.52% of the state’s population lives in those jurisdictions.

Prince George’s, the state’s second-most populated county, reported the most newly confirmed cases Sunday with 99. The county has a seven-day average positivity rate of 4.85%, according to the state.

Sunday’s totals come as the nation awaits further news on the condition of President Donald Trump, who was airlifted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center In Bethesda on Friday after contracting the virus.

White House physician Navy Cmdr. Dr. Sean Conley wrote in a memo Saturday night that the president was “conducting business” Saturday afternoon and has “made substantial progress” since being diagnosed. Conley added Trump’s medical team is “cautiously optimistic” but that the president is “not yet out of the woods.”

On Sunday, Trump briefly left the hospital in his car to wave to supporters gathered outside. Earlier in the day, his doctor said he “continued to improve” and suggested he could be discharged as early as Monday.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan loosened additional COVID-19 restrictions Thursday, allowing for certain indoor visits at nursing homes and removing size restrictions on child care facilities.

Meanwhile, the pandemic continues to disproportionately affect the state’s Black and Latino populations. Roughly 62.4% of the state’s confirmed COVID-19 cases where information on race was available, 67,448, 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 29.9% of all confirmed cases with 32,303. 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.

However, white people have a higher mortality rate compared with other races, with 1,617 cases proving fatal for a rate of about 5% as of Sunday. About 3.89% of cases among Blacks and about 1.62% 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 19,283 COVID-19 cases.

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