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Maryland reports lowest COVID positivity rate for second straight day

Maryland reported its lowest COVID-19 positivity rate of the pandemic for a second consecutive day Wednesday as the state added fewer than 400 new coronavirus cases for the fifth straight day.

With just over 40% of Marylanders fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, the number of hospitalizations — a key measure of the state’s recovery — dropped every day in May except two.

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”Progress is taking place and it shows the vaccines are effective in stopping the spread of the virus,” Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford said Wednesday during a video meeting of the Board of Public Works, the state’s spending panel. “We believe the vaccinations are critical to returning to the pre-pandemic life that we all once enjoyed.”

Here’s where Maryland stood Wednesday according to the state health department:

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Cases

There were 337 newly confirmed cases Wednesday, up from 212 both Monday and Tuesday.

The total number of cases throughout the pandemic has reached 456,765.

Deaths

Twelve more reportedly died from COVID-19, bringing the state’s death toll from the virus to 8,766 since officials began tracking in March 2020.

An average of 10 people per day have died of COVID-19 over the past two weeks, a 14-day average that has been slowly dropping since the beginning of May.

Hospitalizations

Eleven fewer people were hospitalized Wednesday with the virus than the previous day. Of the 585 patients being treated in hospitals, 155 required intensive care.

It’s the seventh decline in active hospitalizations in the past eight days. Hospitalizations increased by one on Monday, but fewer than 1,000 people have been hospitalized with the virus since May 2.

Positivity rate

An average of 2.19% of the COVID-19 tests conducted in Maryland in the past week came back positive, according to the state.

That’s down from the state’s lowest-ever seven-day positivity rate, 2.23%, reported Tuesday. Before this week, the rate had previously bottomed out at 2.51% Sept. 24.

Testing clinics reported completing 19,946 tests in the past 24 hours.

Vaccinations

Nearly half of all Marylanders — and two-thirds of all adults — have received at least one vaccine dose, according to state health officials, who say they expect to meet President Joe Biden’s goal of vaccinating 70% of all adults by the Fourth of July.

Another 79,848 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered, state health officials said Wednesday, including 31,294 people who received their first dose of the Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, and 45,509 people who received their second dose. It also includes 3,045 people who received the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Vaccinations by age

Nearly 84% of residents 65 and older have gotten at least one shot, along with 70.3% of those ages 50-64; 54.5% of those ages 18-49; and 23.8% of those ages 12-17.

Vaccinations by race

About 2.6 times more white Marylanders than Black residents have been fully vaccinated, as of Wednesday, a disparity in access that has been shrinking slowly since the early days of the vaccine rollout.

Of the nearly 2.5 million fully vaccinated Marylanders whose race was known, white people accounted for about 59% and Black residents accounted for nearly 23%, according to the state. White people make up about 58.5% of the population, and Black people make up about 31.1%.

Hispanic and Latino Marylanders, who make up 10.6% of the state population, according to the Census, represent about 6.5% of fully vaccinated residents whose ethnicity was known by the state.

Vaccinations by county

Howard County became the first jurisdiction in the state with half of all residents fully vaccinated Wednesday, reaching a rate of 50.7%. Talbot County, which led the state in vaccinations for weeks, had the second-highest vaccination rate, 49.5%, as of Wednesday.

Montgomery County is close behind, with nearly 48% of all residents fully vaccinated, according to the state.

Somerset County, which has persistently seen the lowest percentage of residents inoculated in the state, reported fewer than 28% of its 25,616 residents were fully vaccinated as of Wednesday.

Baltimore Sun reporter Pamela Wood contributed to this article.

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