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Maryland reports record coronavirus hospitalizations for 3rd straight day, most new deaths since May

With hospitalizations again reaching a record, Maryland reported 2,616 new coronavirus cases Friday and 51 more deaths tied to COVID-19, the most deaths reported in a single day since May.

The state has now reported 46 or more deaths for the past four days and more than 40 deaths in six of December’s 11 days so far after not reaching that mark since June 3.

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Maryland has reported 2,000 or more cases for 14 of past 17 days after never doing so before mid-November. The state has now also reported 1,000 or more confirmed virus cases for 38 consecutive days after reaching that mark only four times between early June and this stretch.

There now has been about one case for every 26.5 Marylanders.

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Maryland’s death toll has soared in November and December, jumping from 195 deaths recorded in October to 901 since Nov. 1. The state’s 14-day average of new deaths reported daily rose to 35 Friday, nearly quadruple the figure from a month ago.

Experts have said they expect case increases from Thanksgiving would start showing up in data this week. It’s now two weeks until Christmas Day, and health officials are again discouraging holiday travel and gatherings.

The state reported 1,729 people hospitalized with virus-related complications Friday, nine more than Thursday and setting a pandemic record for the third day in a row. Hospitalizations have more than tripled since the beginning of November.

Among those hospitalized, 416 required intensive care, the same as Thursday. ICU hospitalizations have more than doubled since they were at 193 as of a month ago.

“It is clear we are experiencing a post-Thanksgiving surge and that the worst days of the pandemic are still ahead of us,” Gov. Larry Hogan said Thursday.

The state’s seven-day average case rate per 100,000 people hit a pandemic high again, up to 48.34 Thursday.

The state’s 14-day average of new daily also reached a record 2,544 cases.

The new data bring the state to a total of 228,471 confirmed virus cases and 4,901 deaths since March.

Among people reported to have died Friday, 30 were 80 or older and all but two were in their 60s or older.

People 60 and older have made up more than 87% of virus deaths statewide during the pandemic. State residents 60 and older made up more than 21% of Friday’s new cases, a larger share than overall during the pandemic.

Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties and Baltimore City accounted for about 67% of Friday’s new cases, along with 25 of the new deaths. Nine deaths came from Baltimore City and 10 came from Montgomery County.

Baltimore City and Anne Arundel County both moved to close indoor and outdoor dining this week.

Allegany County in Western Maryland added four new deaths Friday, bringing its death total to 113. But the county’s seven-day average case rate per 100,000 people has been declining, down from 198.41 Sunday to 158.45 Thursday. That rate, however, is still more than triple the statewide average and remains the highest among the state’s municipalities.

Neighboring Garrett County also saw its seven-day average case rate per 100,000 people decline to 108.81 Thursday from 118.66 Wednesday, though still well more than double the statewide average.

In Washington County, Allegany’s neighbor to the east, though, the seven-day average case rate has climbed to 80.86 Thursday from 55.61 on Dec. 3. The county reported 147 new cases Friday — more than 2.5% of its pandemic total in a single day — and two deaths.

The state’s reported seven-day positivity rate was 7.49%, down from 7.71% Thursday. The daily positivity rate reported Friday was 6.75%.

The new numbers came hours before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Pfizer’s vaccine for emergency use.

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