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Maryland reports 64 more coronavirus deaths, the most since May, and 2,405 new cases

Maryland reported 64 deaths tied to COVID-19 Wednesday — the sixth most reported in a single day during the pandemic — as well as 2,405 new coronavirus cases.

After reporting fewer than 200 deaths in October, more than 1,100 residents have died in November and about half of December.

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The state’s 14-day daily death average has climbed to 39 as of Wednesday, more than tripling from 11 as of a month ago. The 14-day death average peaked at 52 in May.

Maryland has reported 617 deaths so far this month — more than 12% of the state’s overall death toll.

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The state reported 1,762 people hospitalized with virus-related complications Wednesday, down from 1,799 Tuesday, which was a pandemic high. Hospitalizations have more than tripled since the beginning of November.

Among those hospitalized, 399 required intensive care, down from 411 Tuesday. Just a month ago, there were 237 people hospitalized in intensive care units.

The state has now reported 1,000 or more virus cases for 43 consecutive days. In the summer, a daily total that high was a rarity, but has now become routine. Maryland has reported 2,000 or more cases for 19 of past 22 days, including every day in December, after never doing so before mid-November.

The state’s 14-day new daily case average was 2,744 as of Wednesday, the second-highest it has been during the pandemic.

The new data comes a day after state officials said that all Maryland hospitals and nursing homes are slated to receive their first coronavirus vaccine doses in the next two weeks. First responders could be vaccinated in the next few weeks, as well.

“While we still have several months of difficult struggles ahead of us, this is a turning point and a light at the end of a very long tunnel, and the beginning of the end of this deadly pandemic,” Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, said at a news conference Tuesday.

The new batch of data brings the state to a total of 241,767 confirmed virus cases and 5,103 deaths since March.

Among those reported to have died Wednesday, all but five were age 60 or older. The exceptions were two people in their 40s and three in their 50s.

People in their 60s or older account for more than 87% of the state’s death toll overall, despite making up less than 20% of confirmed cases.

Baltimore County on Wednesday reported 12 new deaths, about 19% of the county’s death toll.

Western Maryland continues to be a hot spot for the virus.

Garrett County saw its seven-day average case rate per 100,000 people fall again, going from 120.14 as of Dec. 7 to 71.39 as of Tuesday, but it’s still well above the statewide average of 45.84. The county also reported five deaths, more than 20% of its death total before Wednesday.

Allegany County saw its seven-day average case rate per 100,000 people tick up slightly to 108.13 — the highest in the state. But overall, that number has fallen from a pandemic high of 198.41 as of Dec. 6.

Washington County also saw its seven-day average case rate per 100,000 people rise as of Tuesday, up to 84.93 from 55.61 as of Dec. 3. The county also reported five deaths, moving its death total to 103.

Those three counties represent about 4% of the state’s population but made up more than 12% of new cases reported Wednesday.

The state’s reported seven-day positivity rate was 7.49%, down slightly from 7.53% Tuesday. The daily positivity rate reported Wednesday was 8.7%.

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