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Maryland reports second straight day of 900+ new coronavirus cases

Maryland health officials reported 927 new coronavirus cases Friday morning, piling on to the week’s already heavy caseload.

Friday is the third day this week that new cases have topped 800, something that — before this week — hadn’t happened in October and only twice in September. It’s the second straight day of over 900 new cases. The state hit its highest number since early August, at 962 new cases, on Thursday.

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The state also reported Friday that 10 more people died from COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.

A total of 513 people were hospitalized Friday, up 11 from Thursday. That’s the highest number since Aug. 11. About 24.5% of those hospitalized Friday were being cared for in intensive care units.

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The state remains well below its peak number of hospitalizations — 1,711 on April 30 — but local hospitals say they’re preparing for the worst as cold weather approaches and residents grow increasingly “COVID-fatigued."

Nationwide, coronavirus cases are on the rise in all but a handful of states, as temperatures drop and fears of a hard-hitting flu season mount. Meanwhile, cities like Baltimore are hard at work discouraging gatherings in bars and other locales during Halloween celebrations this weekend.

In addition, Maryland’s seven-day average testing positivity rate continues to inch higher. Friday, health officials said it reached 3.71%, up from Thursday’s 3.52%. The state calculates this rate by dividing the number of positive tests by the number of tests taken, so it includes repeat tests taken by the same individual.

Generally, a rate below 5% is considered promising, but the recent uptick in positivity, daily cases and hospitalizations has drawn concern, including from Gov. Larry Hogan. The Republican extended Maryland’s coronavirus state of emergency once again Friday.

“While Maryland’s positivity and case rates remain lower than most states in America, we are closely monitoring increases in some of our key health metrics as well as rising numbers in states across the country,” Hogan said.

Friday’s data brings the state’s total to 144,314 reported coronavirus cases, and 3,990 deaths from the virus.

Prince George’s County remains the state’s hardest-hit jurisdiction, with about 36 cases per 1,000 residents. Baltimore City and County have the next-highest case rates, followed by Montgomery County and a collection of counties on the Eastern Shore.

The largest share of Friday’s new cases came from people in their 20s. Marylanders in their 40s had the next-highest number of new cases, followed by those in their 30s.

The virus continues to disproportionately impact Hispanic people in Maryland. About 22% of Friday’s new cases were reported among Hispanic individuals, who only represent about 10% of the state population.

About 31% of Friday’s new cases were among Black people, who also represent about 31% of the population, and 45% were reported among white people, who make up about 58% of the state population. Asian people, who represent about 6% of the state population, make up just over 2% of the state’s cases.

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