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Maryland’s streak of reporting 1,000+ COVID-19 cases is over, but hospitalizations continue climb

About a week and a half ago, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan eased capacity restrictions at bars, restaurants, stores and larger venues.

Since then, daily COVID-19 caseloads and hospitalizations have inched upward, following weeks of declines. But the numbers remain far better than the peaks at the beginning of the year.

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Meanwhile, nearly a quarter of Marylanders are at least partially vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to state officials.

Here’s the latest:

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Cases

After four straight days of reporting more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases, Maryland reported 682 Monday. Maryland has reported more than 400,000 total cases of the coronavirus.

Deaths

Maryland health officials reported 14 new deaths caused by the virus Monday.

Over the past two weeks, the state has averaged about 15 such deaths a day. At the pandemic’s peak, the state was averaging more than 40 deaths per day.

In total, nearly 8,000 people have died from the virus in Maryland.

Hospitalizations

As of Monday, 866 people were reported hospitalized in Maryland because of the coronavirus, 14 more than Sunday. About 205 of those hospitalized were in intensive care units. It’s the fourth consecutive day that hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have increased.

Positivity Rate

For the first time in about 10 days, the state’s seven-day average testing positivity rate declined ever so slightly, dropping from 4.4% to 4.37%.

The rate has remained below 5% since Feb. 11.

The World Health Organization recommends that areas remain below 5% for two weeks before easing pandemic-related restrictions. Maryland was above that mark for all of December and January.

Vaccinations

Monday, Maryland health officials reported administering 31,505 new coronavirus vaccine shots — 21,082 first doses and 9,785 second doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, and 638 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The numbers dipped over the weekend, but at times last week more than 50,000 shots were given out per day.

So far, about 13% of Maryland’s population has been fully vaccinated, either with the two-shot regimen or the single-shot variety. Nearly a quarter of the state population has received at least one shot of a vaccine.

Vaccinations by Age

More than half of the vaccines doled out have gone to Marylanders 60 or older. Starting Tuesday, all those 60 and older will be eligible for shots. Previously, the age cutoff had been 65.

Vaccinations by Race

As of Monday, white Marylanders had received about 66% of the state’s vaccine doses, for which race data was reported, despite making up 58.5% of the state population. Black Marylanders, meanwhile, have received about 21% of the doses, but make up 31% of the population.

Hispanic and Latino Marylanders have received about 4% of the shots given out where ethnicity data was reported, despite making up 11% of the state population.

Vaccinations by County

Small counties, largely on the Eastern Shore, have vaccinated the greatest share of their populations. Kent County is leading the way, with more than 21% of its population fully vaccinated.

Prince George’s County, a majority-Black jurisdiction, has continued to lag considerably behind the rest of the state. About 7.5% of its population is fully vaccinated.

Charles County, another majority-Black jurisdiction in Southern Maryland, has the second lowest vaccination rate, at 8.8%. State officials recently set up a mass vaccination site at a baseball stadium there, but reported last week that county residents had booked about 6% of appointments, while 8% went to people from out of state and nearly 68% went to residents of Montgomery, Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties.

Last week, the state announced its intention to set aside 2,100 priority appointments for locals each week at its vaccination sites in Prince George’s, Charles and Baltimore City.

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