Maryland reported 2,948 new coronavirus cases Thursday, along with 44 more deaths, state health department data shows.
Almost 318,000 Marylanders have contracted COVID-19 since March, while the state’s death toll stands at 6,277.
The number of people hospitalized with the virus dropped by 86 over the last 24 hours. Some 1,843 Marylanders are under hospital care for the disease, of whom 425 required intensive care, 29 fewer than a day before.
The state reported completing 43,826 COVID-19 tests over the past 24 hours and it saw the percentage of people who tested positive dip slightly. Maryland’s positivity rate was 8.43% Wednesday, down from 8.53% Tuesday.
Western Maryland’s Garrett and Washington counties reported the highest testing positivity rates, about 15% and 14.5%. The next highest rates came on the Eastern Shore, with Dorchester and Worcester counties reporting almost 12% positivity and Wicomico County reporting about 11.6%. Meanwhile, Prince George’s County paced Maryland’s most populous jurisdictions with an 11.07% positivity rate.
Maryland has now completed 6,298,178 coronavirus tests.
After escalating to record levels for three days running, the state’s seven-day average of newly reported infections per 100,000 residents slowed. The rate was 51.9 Wednesday, down from 53.39 Tuesday. The national average, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is 74.8 infections per 100,000 residents.
With an average of 89.48 cases per 100,000 residents over the past week, Dorchester County had the state’s highest seven-day average case rate, supplanting Washington County for the first time since Dec. 23.
Washington County’s average case rate over the past week stood at 82.85 per 100,000 residents, declining for the third day in a row.
The case rate in Frederick County, Washington County’s neighbor to the east, continued to trend upwards. After two days on the rise, Frederick recorded its highest-ever rate of infection per 100,000 residents: 75.24. Frederick County, which the U.S. Census Bureau estimates to have about 260,000 residents, has added 899 cases over the past three days, bringing its total case count to 13,836.
Dorchester County saw the steepest day-over-day increase in cases, adding 74 cases, about a 4% increase. The Eastern Shore county now has 1,732 confirmed cases. In Southern Maryland, St. Mary’s County also added 74 cases, which represented an approximately 2% increase over the day before and brings its total case count to 3,948.
Anne Arundel County, for the second day in a row, recorded the steepest increase in cases among Maryland’s five most populated jurisdictions. It reported 341 cases Thursday, about 1% more than the day before. Baltimore City and Baltimore, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, the four most populous jurisdictions in Maryland, all reported day-over-day increases Thursday of less than 1%.
The jurisdictions that make up what the health department defines as the Baltimore Metropolitan Area — Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties — have administered the majority of the state’s coronavirus vaccine doses — 92,602 total, including 13,755 in the last 24 hours. They have not, however, vaccinated the biggest proportion of their population (3.36%).
The less populated Eastern Shore and Western Maryland regions have given shots to 3.71% and 3.4% of their populations, respectively. The nine counties on the other side of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge administered 2,339 doses over the past 24 hours, compared to 1,430 in Allegany, Garrett and Washington counties.
Southern Maryland (Calvert and St. Mary’s counties) and the National Capital Region (Charles, Frederick, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties) have administered vaccine doses to 2.81% and 1.85% of their populations. The former, which accounts for about 3% of Maryland’s population, administered 322 doses in the last day. The latter, about 1/3 of the state’s population, stuck shots into 7,159 arms over the same time.
Some 13,508 people received their first dose over the last 24 hours, while 3,136 received their second shot.
More than 178,000 Maryland residents have received their first dose of the vaccine, while 15,840 received their needed second dose.