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Maryland reports 63 new coronavirus deaths, 1,878 more COVID-19 cases

Maryland’s coronavirus death toll is continuing to rise, as the state reported 63 fatalities Tuesday tied to COVID-19, along with 1,878 new coronavirus cases.

Maryland has now seen 1,150 deaths in December, the most in any month except for May. The state has reported 1,636 deaths since Nov. 1, 29% of its death toll.

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As of Tuesday, the 14-day new daily death average was 43 people for the second straight day. That average was at a pandemic high of 52 in May.

Outside of Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, the state has reported 2,000 or more coronavirus cases every day in December after never doing so in a single day before mid-November. Nov. 3 was the last time the state reported fewer than 1,000 cases.

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The state’s reported seven-day positivity rate was 8.1%, up from 7.42% Monday. The daily positivity rate reported Tuesday was 11.7%, the highest since May.

Testing volume has been down in the days around Christmas, with an average testing volume of just over 31,000 reported between Friday (Christmas) and Tuesday. That figure was over 44,000 between Dec. 19 and Thursday (Christmas Eve).

The United States passed 19 million cases this weekend. Now, at least one in 17 people in America has had the virus, and 1 in 1,000 people has died from the virus.

The new numbers come as vaccination efforts progress. Beyond Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines, which have already begun to roll out in Maryland, Novavax — headquartered in Gaithersburg — is set to start a Phase 3 study of its vaccine in the United States and Mexico.

As of Tuesday, 28,615 people have now been vaccinated statewide, according to the state’s data. That’s 0.47% of the state population.

The state reported 1,725 people hospitalized with virus-related complications Tuesday, down from 1,738 Monday. Hospitalizations have been above 1,600 since Dec. 8 and set a pandemic high of 1,799 Dec. 15.

Among those hospitalized, 420 required intensive care, down slightly from 423 Monday.

The new data bring the state to a total of 271,061 confirmed virus cases and 5,636 deaths since March.

Among those reported to have died Tuesday, nearly all were in their 60s or older, including 37 people in their 80s or older. The six exceptions were all in their 50s.

More than 2,600 Marylanders in their 80s or older have died from the virus, approaching the death toll for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York, which was 2,753 in the city.

More than 87% of Marylanders who have died have been age 60 or older, and 95% have been 50 or older.

Washington County in Western Maryland had the highest seven-day average case rate per 100,000 people in the state as of Monday at 88.05, more than double the statewide average of 38.07. The county added four new deaths Tuesday, bringing its death total to 140. Its seven-day positivity rate reported Tuesday was 17.94%, also the highest in the state.

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Neighboring Allegany County, which just over three weeks ago had the highest seven-day average case rate per 100,000 people of any jurisdiction statewide ever during the pandemic at 198.41, had a case rate just over the state average as of Monday at 41.59. There has been close to one confirmed case per 13 Allegany County residents during the pandemic.

Garrett County, also in Western Maryland, haso seen its case rate take a dive in recent weeks, falling from 122.11 as of Dec. 6 to 53.67 as of Monday. The county added one death Tuesday, bringing its virus death toll to 44.

Location data was not available for 24 of the deaths reported Tuesday, more than a third of the deaths.

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