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Maryland reports 440 newly confirmed coronavirus cases, as the state surpasses 3,000 deaths

Maryland officials reported 440 new cases of the coronavirus Thursday and 23 more deaths, showing the state is not seeing the same increases in daily reported cases that spurred a record-high count of COVID-19 infections across the country Wednesday.

Thursday’s additions bring the state’s total to 65,777 cases of the COVID-19 illness caused by the virus since it first appeared in mid-March. To date, 3,001 people who have died due to the disease or complications from it.

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While thousands of Marylanders have now died due to the disease, the state has seen its daily number of newly confirmed cases plateau to below 500 per day over the past week.

In stark contrast, several states reported their highest single-day new cases totals Wednesday. The U.S. recorded a one-day total of 34,700 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, the highest level since late April, when the number peaked at 36,400, according to a count kept by the Johns Hopkins University.

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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan asked state residents to remain vigilant while also touting the state’s decreases in hospitalizations due to the disease. As of Thursday, 511 people are hospitalized due to the disease, 33 fewer than Wednesday.

“As we continue to safely reopen, it is important to remember that this crisis is still not behind us,” the Republican governor said in a statement.

“Now more than ever, as we begin to come into contact with more people, we must all continue to remain vigilant,” he continued. “Our health and economic recovery depends on all of us continuing to exercise personal responsibility in order to keep ourselves, our family members, our neighbors, and our coworkers safe.”

The state’s seven-day testing positivity rate stood at 5.05% as of Thursday.

Johns Hopkins reported a 4.82% positivity rate as of Thursday, keeping Maryland in the group of 29 states that meet World Health Organization guidelines to begin further removing social distancing measures.

Meanwhile, Maryland’s Department of Labor continued to see a steady flow of unemployment claims amid the crisis, as tens of thousands of residents remain out of work.

The department reported Thursday that 47,801 claims for unemployment insurance or aid were filed the week ending June 20, nearly 6,000 more than the week before.

However, some say the state could do more to provide assistance to out-of-work Marylanders.

Del. Vaughn Stewart, a Montgomery County Democrat, started a petition drive asking the governor to immediately send $1,200 checks to any Maryland residents still in the backlog of cases, mirroring a similar effort by Vermont Gov. Phil Scott in April.

In a statement, Stewart said the governor “should send relief now, and worry about bureaucratic box-checking later.”

In his statement, Hogan said that because of the administration’s “early and aggressive actions, Maryland is better positioned for an economic comeback than nearly every other state in America.”

“Our unemployment rate is more than one-third better than the national average,” Hogan wrote. “We have led, and will continue to lead, on the road to economic recovery.”

Businesses like the B & O Railroad Museum reopened to the general public Thursday after Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young announced the city would further relax restrictions on commercial entities. On Wednesday, the Maryland Zoo reopened to members only and the Baltimore Museum of Art reopened its outdoor sculpture gardens.

While signs of Maryland’s recovery are trending in a positive direction, the state’s Hispanic population continues to contract the disease at a disproportionately higher rate than other demographic groups. Hispanics accounted for more than a quarter of all confirmed COVID-19 cases, 17,833, 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 2,227 as of Wednesday.

Black Maryland residents continue to lead the state in total COVID-19 cases, with 18,918 as of Wednesday, despite the fact that they represent 30.9% of the state’s population.

For comparison, state officials have confirmed 12,887 cases of COVID-19 among whites, who constitute 58.8% of Maryland’s population.

Prince George’s and Montgomery counties continue to lead the state in total cases, with 18,249 and 14,381, respectively. The two counties represent a little more than half of all confirmed cases in the state.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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