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Maryland reports 554 new coronavirus cases, 5 deaths

The recent rise in coronavirus cases in Maryland slowed a bit Monday, when the state reported 554 new cases.

On Sunday, the state reported more than 900 new cases, which was the largest new caseload reported in seven weeks. Maryland has reported more than 700 cases on five of the past seven days.

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Other key figures have lagged behind the rising case count, and remain relatively low, including deaths from the virus and the state’s testing positivity rate.

For the 25th straight day, the state reported fewer than 20 deaths, with five.

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Officials said 463 people are hospitalized as a result of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, 14 more than on Sunday. This number has ticked up slightly as of late.

Health experts have warned that increasing case numbers will precede more dire trends, and that the state should eye the numbers carefully and consider closing indoor restaurants and other facilities again.

In total, the state has reported 78,685 coronavirus cases and 3,252 deaths since officials began tracking the pandemic in March.

The recent case numbers represent a significant increase from earlier this month. During the first week in July, the state reported, on average, about 400 new cases a day.

The state’s testing positivity rate remained below 5% as of Monday, as it has for the past several weeks, at 4.5%. This benchmark is noteworthy, since the World Health Organization considers it a precursor to reopening. It recommends that governments remain below it for two weeks before beginning to lift coronavirus-related restrictions.

But Johns Hopkins University, which calculates the rate differently, placed the state slightly above 5%, at 5.21% as of early Monday morning.

The state reported conducting 14,755 new coronavirus tests, compared with Sunday’s record high of 28,899 tests administered.

Baltimore County reported the highest number of new cases Monday, with 105, followed closely by Prince George’s County with 101. Baltimore City had the third-highest tally, with 77, and Montgomery County had the fourth with 61.

Younger people have continued to contribute most heavily to the state’s case count. About 55% of Monday’s new cases were reported among people younger than 40 years old, a cohort that represents about 51% of the state’s total population, according to U.S. census data. The most new cases were reported among people in their 20s — 22%. This group represents about 13% of the state population.

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