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Maryland reports more than 1,500 new COVID-19 cases

Maryland again reported more than 1,500 newly diagnosed cases Wednesday and more than 1,000 people hospitalized due to COVID-19.

After January’s peak, the state’s coronavirus numbers were mostly decreasing until mid-March, but amid loosening restrictions, schools reopening and the rise of new virus variants, they’ve since worsened.

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Meanwhile, the state’s vaccination campaign already has fully inoculated close to a quarter of Maryland residents. But the state had to suspend using one of three vaccines Tuesday due to an extremely rare complication.

Here’s the state’s latest coronavirus data:

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Cases

Health officials in Maryland reported 1,552 new cases of the COVID-19 Wednesday, bring its cumulative caseload to 430,351 cases.

For eight of the last 10 days, the state has reported 1,000 or more new cases. The two-week average is around 1,300 new cases a day.

Still, the state is recording considerably fewer cases than during the post-holiday surge. The state repeatedly reported more than 3,000 new daily cases in December and January.

Deaths

Health officials said nine more people died due to complications from the virus, bringing the state’s death toll since the pandemic struck in March 2020 to 8,307.

Hospitalizations

Maryland hospitals were treating 1,236 people for COVID-19 Wednesday, seven fewer than Tuesday, but the 17th straight day that at least 1,000 people were reported hospitalized.

Hospitalizations had fallen to a one-day low in March of 765, down from the pandemic peak of 1,952 in mid-January before starting to rise again.

Positivity Rate

The state’s seven-day average testing positivity rate increased to 5.69% from 5.53%, despite the fact that the state administered close to twice as many tests Tuesday than Monday.

The rate has been above 5%, a threshold that the World Health Organization considers a precursor to relaxing restrictions, since March 29. In Maryland, most capacity restrictions have been removed, but face masks and social distancing still are required.

Vaccinations

Wednesday, the state reported that 74,205 more people received a dose of a coronavirus vaccine in Maryland. That’s nearly 20,000 shots more than reported Tuesday.

The state reported 2,627 newly administered Johnson & Johnson shots a day after federal officials paused the distribution of the single-shot vaccine to investigate six cases of blood clotting among the nearly 7 million people who have received the vaccine.

State-run clinics didn’t administer any Johnson & Johnson doses Tuesday, but some could have been administered by private clinics “prior to understanding that administration of Johnson & Johnson vaccines had been paused,” state health department spokesman David McCallister said in a statement. They also could also have been doses from prior days that were reported late.

“Providers are instructed to report all vaccine administrations within 24 hours; however, this sometimes does not occur,” McCallister wrote.

According to Wednesday’s data, 37,827 more people got their first shot of the two-dose Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines and 33,751 got their second.

So far, 24.2% of Maryland’s population is fully vaccinated.

Vaccinations by Age

So far, 77.1% of adults over 65, an age group more vulnerable to severe COVID-19 symptoms, have been vaccinated with at least their first dose in Maryland. Meanwhile, 53.4% of Marylanders between 50 and 64 have been vaccinated with at least one dose, and 36% of those between 18 and 49.

And 12.2% of Marylanders between 16 and 17, the youngest people that are approved to receive the vaccine, have been at least partially inoculated.

Vaccinations by Race

Ever since it began, the state’s vaccination effort has been plagued by disparities.

Where race information is known, Black Marylanders have received 23.7% of shots. But, they make up 31% of the state population, according to U.S. Census data.

Where ethnicity information is known, Latino Marylanders have received 5.6% of shots, despite making up 11% of the population.

Vaccinations by County

Prince George’s County, the state’s largest majority-Black jurisdiction, remains behind the rest of the state in vaccinations. So far, 16.6% of the county’s population is completely vaccinated. In Montgomery County next door, which is somewhat larger but majority-white, 25.6% of the population is fully vaccinated.

In some of the state’s smaller, more rural jurisdictions, as much as a third of the population is fully vaccinated. Talbot County on the Eastern Shore leads the way, with 34.6% of its residents fully inoculated.

In Baltimore City, 20% of residents are fully vaccinated, and in Baltimore County, it’s 25.5%.

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