Maryland health officials reported 1,137 new cases of the coronavirus and 33 more deaths associated with it Wednesday.
Those additions bring Maryland to 366,666 infections and 7,267 confirmed fatalities since the state reported its first case of COVID-19 in March 2020.
Before Wednesday, the state had reported fewer than 1,000 cases on four of the previous eight days, but those days coincide with lower numbers of test results being reported. More than 30,000 test results were reported Wednesday, more than double Tuesday’s total.
Another 11,657 Marylanders received their first COVID-19 vaccination, the state said, compared to 13,745 recipients the prior day. Maryland passed 750,000 administered vaccine doses overall, according to state health department data Wednesday, leaving 3% of Marylanders fully vaccinated, while 9.4% have received at least one dose.
More than 100,000 Marylanders in their 70s have now received at least one of the needed two doses of vaccine. Nearly 12,000 of those residents have gotten both shots and are considered fully vaccinated. For those whose age was known, about 47% of those given a vaccine dose in Maryland have been at least 60 years old, an age group considered particularly at-risk to the virus’ effects. However, almost 73% of residents who have been fully vaccinated are under that age.
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Maryland’s seven-day average of daily administered doses is at its highest point since the vaccination process began in December, with an average of 25,558 shots given per day. But the state is currently receiving only 11,000 doses per day, Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford said during a video meeting of the Board of Public Works on Wednesday.
“Now the challenge, of course, is the amount of the allocation that we actually get,” he said. ”We will be receiving more doses. The Biden-Harris administration has promised additional vaccines, so we expect to be receiving more vaccines and we will be able to meet some of that demand. The big challenge is currently 2 million Marylanders fit the priority category for getting vaccines. … There’s going to be a gap and we ask people to be patient as we roll this out.”
The state’s seven-day testing positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that return positive results, was 5.32% Wednesday, down from 5.78% Tuesday. That’s the state’s lowest positivity in three months. It’s the 13th straight day that figure has been under 6% after being above that mark from mid-November to late January.
Maryland’s weekly update on the status of nursing homes and similar long-term care facilities showed that there have been 31,539 cases of the virus among residents and staff. More than half those cases, nearly 17,000, derived from facilities where there has been a newly reported case in the past two weeks. Of those in Maryland whose death was virus-related, 3,388 — or 46.6% — have been residents or staff members of long-term care facilities.
Meanwhile, the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 plunged under 1,300 to 1,282 Wednesday, a day after the state reported reporting fewer than 1,400 hospitalized for the first time in nearly three months. Of those hospitalized, 324 required intensive care, two fewer than Tuesday.
“We’re moving in the right direction and a lot of that is due to the fact that Marylanders … are really adhering to the physical distancing, the wearing of the masks, washing your darn hands,” Rutherford said. “I think that we really should congratulate our fellow Marylanders for what they are doing to try to address this pandemic.”
Baltimore Sun reporter Pamela Wood contributed to this report.