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Fewer than 800 people are hospitalized from COVID-19 in Maryland for the first time since November

For the first time since mid-November, the number of people hospitalized due to COVID-19 in Maryland dipped below 800, according to state health department data.

New cases of the virus have declined markedly since January but may be beginning to plateau. It comes as the state hustles to vaccinate its population, and a new single-shot vaccine from Johnson & Johnson has become available.

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Here’s the data reported Monday:

Cases:

Maryland health officials reported 716 new cases of the coronavirus Monday. The state hasn’t reported more than 1,000 new cases in a day since Feb. 19.

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That represents a significant decline from earlier this year, when daily case counts climbed above 3,000.

Overall, Maryland has reported 388,035 cases of COVID-19 since officials began tracking the virus a year ago.

Deaths:

The state announced Monday that eight more people have died due to complications from the virus, bringing Maryland’s total to 7,781 deaths.

Hospitalizations:

Health officials said Monday 792 people were in Maryland hospitals with COVID-19. It’s the first time since Nov. 10 that hospitalizations have fallen below 800 people.

Positivity Rate:

The seven-day average testing positivity rate was 3.36% Monday, the same as Sunday’s. The rate has been below 5%, a World Health Organization recommended bench mark for reopening, since Feb. 11.

Vaccination

Maryland reported Monday that 10,781 new first doses of coronavirus vaccines were administered, as well as 6,613 new second doses. That’s well off the record set on Saturday, when 31,239 first doses were reported.

So far, 16.9% of the state population has at least one dose, and 9.3% have two doses.

As of Sunday, Maryland ranked 31st among states on the Centers for Disease Control vaccination list, having administered 27,220 doses per 100,000 people.

The state’s vaccination dashboard does not yet include single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine data, said state health department spokesman Charlie Gischlar.

“We’re in the process of updating our reporting process and expect to show J&J doses soon,” Gischlar wrote in a statement.

Vaccination by Age:

About 53% of first doses of the vaccines have gone to people over 60, according to Monday’s data.

Vaccination by Race:

About 18% of first shots have gone to Black Marylanders, who represent 31% of the state population, according to U.S. Census data. About 4% of the people who have received at least one dose of the vaccine are Latino, a group that makes up 11% of the state population.

Vaccination by County:

Montgomery County, the state’s largest jurisdiction, has given at least one shot to the most people — 183,637, or 17.5% of its population. But Prince George’s County, the state’s second largest jurisdiction, has given shots to about half as many people.

The state’s smaller counties on the Eastern Shore have vaccinated the greatest shares of their populations. Talbot County, for instance, has given first shots to nearly a quarter of its population. But Howard County, which is considerably larger, is also moving quickly. About 20% of that county’s population have received at least one vaccine dose.

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