Maryland reported 648 new coronavirus cases Tuesday and 12 more deaths.
Tuesday’s numbers represent a sharp decline from Monday, when 1,128 new cases were reported, but the state has confirmed 1,000 or more cases in two of the past four days. The largest number of cases Maryland has reported in a single day is 1,784.
In total, Maryland has reported 85,524 confirmed cases and 3,327 deaths from COVID-19 since officials began tracking the virus in March.
Deaths from the virus have remained relatively low, and haven’t risen above 20 per day since last month. The highest number of deaths the state has reported in a single day is 74.
Hospitalizations, meanwhile, are beginning to rise. On Tuesday, Maryland reported that 544 people were hospitalized because of the virus, eight more than Monday.
During the first few weeks of July, the number of people hospitalized in Maryland because of COVID-19 hovered around 400. Over the past week, though, it’s lingered from 500 to 550 people.
The statewide seven-day average testing positivity rate is at 4.54%, a decrease of 0.07% compared with Monday.
The state hasn’t reported a seven-day average testing positivity rate over 5% in a month. This is considered an important benchmark, since the World Health Organization recommends that states remain below it for 14 days before initiating reopening procedures. Maryland began reopening before its rate fell below 5%, but has hovered there since late June. But Johns Hopkins University, which calculates the rate differently, placed Maryland at 5.83% as of early Tuesday morning. By Hopkins’ count, 34 states currently have a positivity rate higher than 5%.
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 more than one test administered to the same person.
Meanwhile, 4.33% of COVID-19 tests reported complete Tuesday came back positive, compared with 5.86% on Monday.
Baltimore County led the state in new cases reported Tuesday, with 128, followed by Baltimore City, with 123. Prince George’s County — which has the highest number of cases per 1,000 residents — reported 100 new cases.
Notably, Anne Arundel County reported 68 new cases Tuesday, placing it above the far more populous Montgomery County, which reported 66 new cases.
Younger people continue to drive the case count higher. About 21% of new cases were reported Tuesday among Marylanders 20 to 29 years old. This cohort, meanwhile, represents about 13% of the state’s population, U.S. Census data shows.
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Thus far, Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, has resisted calls to shutter bars, restaurants and other indoor areas statewide once more. Currently, they’re allowed to operate at 50% capacity indoors, and can only serve seated patrons.
“I don’t think they should be scapegoated,” Hogan said on WBAL Radio’s C4 and Bryan Nehman show Tuesday morning. “There are a few people that are not following the rules, so we gotta make sure they do, because we don’t want to hurt the other 95% of the small businesses that are doing a great job.”
In Baltimore City, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young, a Democrat, ended indoor dining for two weeks beginning last Friday.
The virus also continues to have a disproportionate impact on Black and Hispanic Marylanders. Black people make up 36.3% of the COVID-19 cases for which race data is reported, but about 30% of the state population, Census data shows. Hispanic people, who make up about 11% of Maryland’s population, constitute nearly 30% of the state’s coronavirus cases. White people have about 26% of the cases, but white people who don’t identify as Hispanic make up about half of the state’s population.