Maryland officials reported Sunday 431 new cases of the novel coronavirus and 10 more deaths.
Sunday’s additions bring the state’s total to 123,403 cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, since it began tracking the disease in March.
Since then, officials say 3,790 people have died because of the disease or complications from it. It’s only the second time in the past 23 days the state has seen 10 or more newly reported deaths due to the virus.
As of Sunday, 328 people in Maryland are hospitalized due to complications from COVID-19, 19 fewer people than Saturday.
The statewide rolling seven-day positivity testing rate is at 2.57% as of Sunday, effectively flat with Saturday’s rate. The state also reported a daily positivity rate of 1.92% of 30,051 completed tests, which is only the second time in the past six months the state has reported an under-2% daily positivity rate, with the last time being Sept. 19 when there was a 1.89% daily rate, the lowest on record.
The World Health Organization recommends 14 straight days with a seven-day rolling positivity rate of 5% or lower before governments begin relaxing social distancing and business restrictions.
Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus research center pegs Maryland’s seven-day rolling positivity rate at 4.93%, making it one of 22 states, along with the District of Columbia, the university says is below the recommended 5% rate. Hopkins calculates its rate using the number of people to whom tests have been administered, but the state uses the raw number of tests administered. In other words, Hopkins doesn’t count multiple tests administered to the same person.
While the state is largely seeing positivity rates drop, Worcester County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore continues to have a positivity rate above the 5% recommended rate, posting a 7.07% seven-day rolling average Sunday with five newly confirmed cases. The rate is a slight decrease from Saturday’s rate of 7.3%.
The rural county of roughly 52,000 people that also includes the Ocean City resort town has seen its average positivity rate fluctuate significantly since July, seeing spikes as high as 8.39% earlier this month.
Since Sept. 20, the county has gone from a 3.88% positivity rate to 7.07% Sunday as officials have confirmed 50 new cases in the county during that time for a total of 1,050 cases since the start of the pandemic.
It’s one of two Eastern Shore jurisdictions above the 5% recommended rate. Somerset County, a county of roughly 26,000 people that borders Worcester County, has a seven-day rolling average of 5.07% as of Sunday. The county has confirmed 30 new cases since Sept. 22, more than 10% of the county’s total of 276 cases since mid-March.
The vast majority of cases were reported in Maryland’s most populated counties, as five jurisdictions in the Baltimore-Washington D.C. corridor — Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Prince George’s and Montgomery counties along with Baltimore city — accounted for more than two-thirds of all of Sunday’s newly reported cases.
Montgomery County led the state in new daily cases with 85 confirmed Sunday. Montgomery is Maryland’s most populous county with more than 1 million people, and its 2.57% seven-day positivity rate is in line with the statewide average.
Baltimore City came in fourth with 41 newly confirmed cases and has remained below the statewide positivity average rate since Aug. 30, with a seven-day rolling average of 1.81% as of Sunday.
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Young adults, teenagers and pre-teens continue to be leading drivers behind the spread of the virus, as 167 of the reported cases were from people aged from 10 to 29 years old, or about 39% of all cases.
For comparison, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that about 26% of the state’s population ranges from 10 to 29 years old.
Meanwhile, the 10 people confirmed dead from the disease were all at least 50 years old, the state reported Sunday. Six of them were people 80 or older.
The pandemic continues to disproportionately affect the state’s Black and Latino populations. Roughly 63% of the state’s confirmed COVID-19 cases where information on race was available, 59,516, 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 29.5% of all confirmed cases with 30,858. While the split is still disproportionate compared to 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 1,600 cases proving fatal for a rate of about 5.19% as of Sunday. About 3.97% of cases among Blacks and about 1.64% 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 18,669 COVID-19 cases.