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Maryland adds more than 1,000 COVID cases for second consecutive day

As Maryland officials touted a new daily COVID-19 vaccination milestone, the state recorded more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases for the second consecutive day amid a steady uptick in the state’s testing positivity rate.

Here’s where the rest of the key coronavirus metrics stood:

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Cases

The daily tally of 1,152 new infections brings the state to 397,898 cases since health officials began to track the disease last year. Friday’s figure also marks the first time in over a month the state has recorded more than 1,000 new cases on consecutive days.

Maryland has averaged 873 infections daily over the last two weeks, state health data shows.

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Deaths

Eighteen more Marylanders were reported dead from the disease Friday. Some 7,947 people have died from COVID-19 complications since last March.

An average of 14 fatalities have been reported daily for the last two weeks.

Hospitalizations

After declining slightly Thursday, the number of patients hospitalized in Maryland increased by 18. Of those hospitalized, 218 required intensive care.

More than 36,500 people have been hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state since the pandemic began.

Vaccinations

Providers across Maryland administered 57,550 doses of the coronavirus vaccine — the most shots in one day since the immunizations arrived in the state Dec. 14, according to health department data released Friday.

More than 2.09 million vaccines have been administered in the state, with 753,517 people — about 12.5% of the population — fully vaccinated.

Health department data shows that approximately 22% of Maryland’s more than 6 million residents have gotten an initial immunization of the more abundant two-dose vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

Averaging a new high of 44,839 vaccinations daily over the last week, Maryland is adding more providers to the rollout in preparation for expanded vaccine eligibility next week. Gov. Larry Hogan said in a tweet Friday that a coalition of 22 independently owned pharmacies is now providing immunizations, meaning the state is nearing 300 pharmacy vaccinators.

Hogan announced Thursday that waves of expanded vaccine eligibility will begin Tuesday, an effort that will be carried out with the assistance of additional mass vaccination clinics and, for the first time, primary care physicians across the state. The goal, the governor said, is to offer the immunizations at as many different providers as possible.

“We’re going to get it in every pharmacy,” Hogan said during a Friday morning appearance on Delmarva’s WGMD Radio. “We’re eventually going to get it to every primary care physician.”

Testing Positivity

The state’s testing positivity rate, which measures roughly the number of tests returned positive over the last week, climbed to 4.16%, 0.09 percentage points higher than the day before. The rate has increased slightly for the last nine days.

Variants

As of Thursday, laboratory genome tests revealed 272 COVID-19 cases caused by more contagious coronavirus variants, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s 40 more variant cases than the last update from the CDC, which doesn’t occur daily.

Roughly three months after the first variant cases were detected, there have been 246 infections caused by the strain first detected in the United Kingdom. That variant is expected to become dominant by the end of the month. Scientists say it’s likely more fatal than the original virus that causes COVID-19.

Two other virus mutations have been discovered in Maryland, though just the one first identified in South Africa has reportedly spread. That strain, which was first detected in the state at the end of January, has been identified in 25 COVID-19 samples.

First discovered in Brazil, the mutation known as P.1 has been connected to just one infection in Maryland.

Nationally, CDC data shows there have been a combined 5,795 cases caused by the variants, though many states have yet to ramp up their genomic testing capabilities. In Maryland, health officials have expanded their ability to test for variants and as such expect the number of cases to climb. They also say the strains are spreading in communities.

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