According to the Johns Hopkins University’s calculations, Maryland’s statewide coronavirus positivity rate rose to 5.39% as of Sunday, the second straight day it has surpassed the 5% threshold recommended by the World Health Organization before governments reopen.
The state’s back-to-back positivity rate increases during Labor Day Weekend came after Republican Gov. Larry Hogan moved the state into Stage Three of its plan to relax restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 last week. Before this weekend, Maryland had gone three straight weeks beneath the 5% threshold, using Hopkins’ formula.
Maryland health officials, however, reported that the state’s rolling, seven-day average positivity rate increased to only 3.63%, as of Sunday.
The difference in the rates comes from Hopkins calculating the number of people tested, while the state uses the total number of tests administered.
Maryland health officials added 512 confirmed coronavirus cases and three deaths to the state’s tally Sunday.
The three people whose deaths were announced Sunday included one person in their 50s, one person in their 70s and one person in their 80s.
A total of 3,655 people have now died from the coronavirus in Maryland, and the total number of cases has reached 112,119, officials said.
The number of Marylanders hospitalized with COVID-19 — a key metric health officials are watching — has dropped for the past three days. A total of 341 people, a dozen fewer than on Saturday, were hospitalized Sunday, officials said.
Of those, 245 patients are in acute care, eight fewer than Saturday, and 96 in intensive care, four fewer, across the state.
The green light from the governor for all businesses to reopen, subject to local authorities, came just in time for beachgoers headed to Ocean City for Labor Day Weekend — despite a far higher positivity rate in Worcester County, where the resort town is located, than the statewide average.
Worcester County’s rolling, seven-day positivity rate has declined for the past two days but remains more than double the statewide rate, at 7.58%, according to the Maryland health department.
If you do go to Ocean City, bring a mask. Face coverings are required on the boardwalk from 8 a.m. until 2 a.m.
Caroline County has the second-highest positivity rate among Maryland’s jurisdictions, and is the only other one above 5%, with 7.35%, according to the state.
The 878 cases and 25 deaths in Worcester, and 565 cases and three deaths in Caroline, however, account for fewer than in more populous areas.
Prince George’s County, which has a positivity rate of 4.67%, continues to lead the state in total coronavirus cases with 26,917. Montgomery County has a positivity rate below 3%, but leads the state in total deaths with 784.
Baltimore County has had a total of 16,183 confirmed cases and 585 deaths, and 14,834 cases and 450 deaths have been confirmed in Baltimore, according to the state.
The percentage of new cases among patients ages 10-19 dropped slightly from the previous two days, but still accounted for more than 16% of the state’s new cases Sunday, according to the health department.
The acute respiratory virus is deadliest to people older than 65 and those with preexisting conditions or compromised immune systems. But the rates of infection among youths should be closely monitored, experts say, as officials work on plans to bring students back to schools for in-person instruction.
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People in their 20s and 30s represented more than 42% of the new cases Sunday and nearly 37% of the Maryland’s total cases since the state began tracking them in March.
The pandemic continues to have a disproportionate effect on Black and Latino Marylanders.
Black people, who account for about 30% of the state’s population, make up nearly 38% of the cases and 41% of the deaths for which the patient’s race was known. Latinos, who represent about 10% of Marylanders, account for 26% of the cases and 12% of the deaths for which the race was known.
Maryland is about 60% white, but white people represent only about 28% of the state’s coronavirus cases and 42% of deaths for which the race was known, according to the state.
The patient’s race was either not known or reported in 16,792 cases and 11 deaths, according to the state. That’s nearly 15% of the cases and 0.3% of the deaths.
The state’s death toll does not include 144 patients whose deaths were presumed to have been caused by COVID-19 but whose cases were not confirmed with a laboratory test.
More than 2.06 million COVID-19 tests have been conducted in Maryland, according to the state.