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Maryland reports 688 new coronavirus cases, 70 more deaths

The number of newly confirmed coronavirus cases in Maryland dropped significantly Tuesday for the second day in a row even as the number of deaths doubled from Monday.

Maryland officials reported 688 new cases Tuesday, bringing the state to 34,061 total cases of COVID-19 since the first were recorded in mid-March.

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The 70 more people who died since Monday due to complications from the illness bring the state total up to 1,643 fatalities. The spike in deaths made it the outbreak’s fourth deadliest day in Maryland.

State officials said 113 more people probably died due to COVID-19 or complications from it, but laboratory results have yet to confirm the diagnosis.

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Maryland officials said that 1,563 people are currently hospitalized with the infection, 19 more than Monday, ending a four-day streak of declining hospitalizations. Of those hospitalized, 590 are in intensive car, five more than Monday.

Gov. Larry Hogan has said he will start his three-stage recovery plan after the state sees two weeks of declines in the number of cases requiring hospitalization and intensive care. Still, the Republican governor started easing restrictions last week, opening state beaches and allowing more recreational activities, including golfing and boating.

In total, 6,287 people in Maryland have been hospitalized due to complications from COVID-19, with 2,394 since released from isolation, the state reported.

Tuesday’s figures continue to show that the disease is disproportionately affecting the state’s minority communities, with the state’s Hispanic population seeing the highest rate of infection among the state’s races and ethnicities. Nearly a third of the newly confirmed cases, 217, were Hispanic residents who were diagnosed with the disease.

Of the 27,822 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with racial demographic data available as of Tuesday, 26% of those cases, 7,274, were from Hispanic residents. With a total population of about 629,000 Hispanic residents in the state, it means more than one of every 100 Hispanic residents have been diagnosed with the disease.

For comparison, 11,110 black residents have contracted the disease as of Tuesday, the largest total number of cases for any one race or ethnicity. However, the state’s black population is nearly triple that of its Hispanic population, with roughly 1,868,000 African Americans calling Maryland home. As of Tuesday, about six out of every 1,000 black residents had been diagnosed with the disease.

Only 16% of Latinos and 20% of African Americans are able to work from home; they’re often working in jobs where social distancing is not possible, according to an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data by the Economic Policy Institute.

Dr. Kathleen Page, an infectious disease expert and associate professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said Latinos often work low-wage jobs and live in shared households with multiple family members or roommates, which could further fuel the spread of COVID-19.

The state reported that 7,365 confirmed coronavirus cases were from white patients; that demographic makes up more than 58% of the state’s population.

If the infection rate among whites were equal to that among Hispanics, there would be nearly six times the number of white COVID-19 patients in Maryland than there are today.

Prince George’s and Montgomery counties continue to lead the state in total cases, with 9,892 and 7,130 respectively.

The 20783 ZIP code — which includes parts of Hyattsville, Adelphi and Langley Park in Prince George’s County — continues to lead the state in total cases with 1,220, adding 50 new ones in the past 24 hours.

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According to censusreporter.org, 65% of the population in the 20783 zip code is Hispanic and 24% are black.

In Baltimore City — which added 50 new confirmed coronavirus cases Tuesday to raise its total to 3,404 confirmed cases — neighborhoods in northwestern and southeastern parts of the city continue to have a high number of cases.

The 21224 ZIP code, which includes Canton, Highlandtown and parts of Dundalk, has 520 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday, the most of any ZIP code within the city limits. About 19% of the population of the 21224 ZIP code is Hispanic, according to censusreporter.org.

The 21215 ZIP code, which includes parts of Northwest Baltimore and Baltimore County, has 480 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, two more since Sunday. Officials said that nearly half those cases, 231, were confirmed at the FutureCare Lochearn nursing home in Northwest Baltimore. As of Monday, 21 residents at the facility have died due to the disease.

Baltimore Sun reporter Thalia Juarez contributed to this report.

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