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Maryland reports 2,167 new coronavirus cases, 38 more deaths

Maryland health officials reported 2,167 new cases of the coronavirus Wednesday, along with 38 more deaths caused by the illness.

The state reported 1,858 people hospitalized with the virus Wednesday, 17 fewer than Tuesday. Every day for the past two weeks, 1,800 or more people have been hospitalized in Maryland because of COVID-19. That total was never surpassed in 2020.

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Of those hospitalized, 420 were in intensive care units battling the virus, nine more more than Tuesday.

In total, Maryland has seen 332,353 cases of COVID-19 since the state began tracking the virus in March, and 6,514 residents have died from complications of the disease.

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The state’s seven-day average testing positivity rate is 7.76%, down slightly from 7.8% reported on Tuesday. Tuesday was the first day Maryland’s statewide rate dropped below 8% in 2021.

Some 30,886 tests were reported administered over the past 24 hours. The all-time high for Maryland is more than 65,000 tests in a day.

The case numbers have ebbed slightly since a peak of more than 3,700 daily cases about 10 days ago, while hospitalization totals, which lag behind the daily case counts, remain high.

Meanwhile, the state is rushing to distribute vaccines to a growing list of priority groups. At the beginning of the week, teachers, other school and child care workers, and people over the age of 75 became eligible, but counties are struggling to keep pace with a flood of vaccination appointment requests.

So far, the state has administered 279,412 doses of the coronavirus vaccine. That makes up roughly half of the doses Maryland has received thus far. Over the past 24 hours, 13,725 doses have been administered in the state. The record is more than 21,000 doses in one day, which was reached on Jan. 16.

About 4.15% of the state population has received at least one of two required doses. Western Maryland’s Garrett County has highest percentage of its population to received at least one dose, at 6.945%. The rural county was among those hit hard by the virus this winter.

The lowest percentage of initial vaccinations is in Prince George’s County, at 1.476%. The county has been one of the state’s hardest hit jurisdictions in the pandemic.

The Eastern Shore is now seeing some of the highest rates of infection. Dorchester County has a seven-day average rate of 97.99 new cases per 100,000 residents, far above any other jurisdiction. It’s followed by Washington County in Western Maryland, with 72.92 cases per 100,000 people and Worcester and Wicomico counties on the Shore, with 53.77 and 57.11 cases per 100,000 people.

The statewide average rate is 41.32 cases per 100,000 people. The rate has been on the decline since hitting a peak of 53.39 cases per 100,000 people on Jan. 12.

But it’s still much higher than it was before the winter surge. Back in September, it was about 8 cases per 100,000 residents.

Case rates in the Baltimore region are some of the state’s lowest. In Baltimore County, the seven-day average rate was 31.58 new cases per 100,000 residents, and in the city, where indoor and outdoor dining is set to resume Friday after a hiatus, the rate is 33.15 people per 100,000.

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