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Maryland reports 712 new coronavirus cases, one death; positivity rate up slightly

One day after reporting no new deaths associated with COVID-19 for the first time since March, Maryland officials reported one new fatality and 712 new confirmed cases of the virus Friday.

With these additions, Maryland has confirmed 126,222 total cases of the virus and 3,806 deaths since March. Through Thursday’s numbers, the state had the 27th-most cases per capita and 16th-most deaths per capita in the U.S., according to the Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus resource center.

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The day’s numbers were reported hours after President Donald Trump — who has downplayed the toll of the virus for months — announced that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19. The White House later announced Trump was being to Walter Reed Hospital “out of an abundance of caution.”

“Yumi and I are wishing President Trump and the First Lady a speedy recovery. Our thoughts and our prayers are with them both,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan wrote in a tweet Friday morning.

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There are currently 323 patients are hospitalized with the virus in Maryland, down eight from Thursday. Of this group, 80 require intensive care, an increase of six from the day before. Maryland reached peak ICU occupancy in the early days of May, hitting 611 beds on May 10.

Maryland reported a seven-day positivity rate of 2.93%, up from 2.88% Thursday. The rate has been below 3% since Sept. 20, below 4% every day since Aug. 8 and below 5% since June 26.

Before governments ease back virus-related restrictions, the World Health Organization recommends that they see positivity rates below 5% for 14 straight days.

Hopkins, which calculates positivity in a different way from the state, reports Maryland’s seven-day positivity rate through Thursday as 5.6%, right at the center of the pack compared to other states. Maryland calculates positivity by using tests conducted, while Hopkins looks at the people tested, meaning those who are tested numerous times are counted only once in the university’s statistics.

According to the university, Maryland has performed the 27th-most tests per capita compared to other states as of Thursday. The state conducted fewer tests in September than it did the previous month.

As of Friday, the state reported a testing volume of more than 2.6 million during the pandemic — up almost 31,000 from the previous day. Of the test results the state reported Friday, about 6.15% were positive, up from Thursday’s 4.03%.

Baltimore City had conducted just over 203,000 tests as of Friday, taking fourth place in this metric among Maryland’s 23 other jurisdictions. Montgomery County had conducted the most tests as of Friday, with 285,503.

The seven-day positivity rate for each of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions remained below 5% as of Thursday, with Somerset County having the highest at 4.63%. Prince George’s County came in second, with a rate of 4.53%.

After dipping down below 2% on Sept. 16, Baltimore City’s seven-day positivity rate has since risen back above that point, hitting 2.44% on Thursday. The state confirmed 43 new cases in the city Friday.

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