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Maryland reports 297 newly confirmed coronavirus cases, 8 more deaths

Maryland officials reported 297 new cases of the coronavirus Monday and eight more deaths.

Monday’s additions bring the state’s totals to 64,603 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 illness caused by the virus, and to 2,945 people who have died due to the disease or complications from it.

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As of Monday, 602 people in Maryland are hospitalized due to complications from COVID-19, a decrease of six patients compared to Sunday. Officials reported that 370 patients are in acute care units while 232 are in intensive care.

The statewide testing positivity rate stood at 5.03% as of Monday.

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Health experts and the Trump administration have offered conflicting guidelines as to what rate of positive COVID-19 tests states should reach before reopening businesses and lifting business restrictions.

Gov. Larry Hogan has cited a guideline from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends reopenings after two weeks of a positivity rate of less than 15%. The CDC recommendation for even further reopenings is another two weeks of positivity rates below 10%.

Johns Hopkins University, meanwhile, compares states to a World Health Organization standard of 5% positivity rate for two weeks. By the Hopkins calculation, Maryland is at 4.85% as of Monday, moving into the group of 30 states that meet the WHO guidelines.

While Hogan gradually lifted statewide restrictions on businesses in recent weeks, he’s left municipalities and counties to make their own decisions about how to reopen.

On Friday, Baltimore City, which has a positivity test rate of 5.56%, allowed restaurants, churches and gyms to reopen in a limited capacity. The Horseshoe Casino Baltimore also was allowed to reopen at 50% capacity with other safeguards.

The state’s Hispanic population continues to contract the disease at a disproportionately higher rate than other demographic groups. More than a quarter of all confirmed COVID-19 cases, 17,580, were in Hispanic patients, despite the fact that they represent 10.4% of the state’s population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

This does not account for the fact that the state does not have demographic data on about one out of every six diagnosed cases.

The 20783 ZIP code — which includes parts of Hyattsville, Adelphi and Langley Park in Prince George’s County and is majority Hispanic, according to censusreporter.org — leads the state in total cases with 2,180 as of Monday.

Black Maryland residents continue to lead the state in total COVID-19 cases, with 18,657 as of Monday, despite the fact that they represent 30.9% of the state’s population.

For comparison, state officials have confirmed 12,693 cases of COVID-19 in white patients, a demographic that constitutes 58.8% of Maryland’s population.

Prince George’s and Montgomery counties continue to lead the state in total cases, with 17,935 and 14,141, respectively, representing a little more than half of all confirmed cases in the state.

While the two counties continue to see higher positive testing rates, they’ve also seen their rates decrease at a similar pace as the rest of the state since May.

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As of Monday, Prince George’s County has a positivity rate of 8.6% and Montgomery County was at 6.88%.

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