Maryland officials reported 335 new cases of the coronavirus Saturday, and 15 additional deaths, though increased testing continues to show a decline in new positive cases.
The state has tallied 66,450 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 3,030 deaths by Saturday since the first confirmed cases were reported back in early March. As of Saturday, a total of 623,927 tests have been conducted, of which 447,366 people have tested negative.
The state continues to see a testing positivity rate below 5%, which measures the number of tests conducted and how many of those tests are positive, which health experts say is important to identify new cases and slow the spread of new cases. The rate Saturday was 4.86%.
The World Health Organization has recommended a positivity rate of 5% or lower for two weeks before officials should consider further easing virus-related restrictions. The nationwide rate is 6.4%, and states that have seen a surge in cases like Florida have a rate of about 14%, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
But state officials are warning that the positivity rate among Marylanders under the age of 35 is higher than the rate among those 35 and older.
“The fight against this virus is far from over,” Gov. Larry Hogan said in a statement this week. “We simply cannot afford to stop being vigilant and cautious,” Hogan said.
The number of individuals who are hospital also continues to decline from the peak in late April with 478 now hospitalized, of whom 181 are in intensive care.
Prince George’s and Montgomery counties continue to lead all state jurisdictions in cases, with more than 32,000 infections combined. Baltimore County, Baltimore City and Anne Arundel County have counted more than 20,000 infections total.
Minorities continue to be at higher risk with 37,045 confirmed cases among Black and Hispanic residents, though those groups only make up about 40% of the state’s population. Black residents also account for 40% of death with 1,233 deaths as of Saturday.
Data is not available for the racial or ethnic backgrounds for nearly 12,000 residents who’ve had the coronavirus, according to state data.