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Maryland reports record 76,590 COVID vaccinations, another day of more than 1,000 virus cases

While Maryland health officials marked another daily coronavirus vaccination milestone Friday, the state also reported another day with more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases.

The state’s testing positivity rate ticked up, too, amid the spread of more contagious strains of the virus.

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Here’s where the state’s COVID-19 indicators stood:

Cases

Maryland added 1,457 infections of the disease to its COVID-19 case count, which climbed to 414,385, according to the health department.

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The state has now averaged more than 1,100 new cases daily over the last two weeks.

At a news conference Thursday, Gov. Larry Hogan said the uptick in several coronavirus metrics was attributable to the spread of more transmissible variations of the virus in Maryland. However, public health experts said the concerning trend was likely due to a series of factors, key among them people’s tendency to engage in riskier behavior following the easing of restrictions in Maryland and beyond.

Deaths

Sixteen more people were reported dead from the coronavirus Friday, according to the health department. The disease has killed 8,134 people since health officials began to track its effects in March 2020.

Hospitalizations

The number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus increased by 32 patients Friday, with 1,045 remaining under hospital care. It’s the fifth day in a row that at least 1,000 remained in hospitals battling the disease.

Of those hospitalized Friday, 251 required intensive care, up 15 from a day earlier.

More than 38,000 have been hospitalized in Maryland throughout the pandemic.

Testing positivity

Continuing its upward trend, the state’s coronavirus testing positivity rate increased by 0.09 percentage points, reaching 5.6%. The percentage, which measures the average number of tests returned positive over the last week, has increased for seven days straight and is more than two percentage points higher than its 2021 low on March 3.

About 37,000 tests were completed over the last 24 hours, with more than 8.8 million nasal swabs from Maryland examined throughout the pandemic.

Governments should reach positivity rates below 5% for two consecutive weeks before lifting restrictions, the World Health Organization recommends. Several Maryland counties are above the global health authority’s threshold.

Harford County recorded the highest positivity rate in the state, with 9.87% positivity — a rate higher than the peak of the statewide average during a winter surge of the virus. Save for Howard County, all the jurisdictions in the Baltimore Metropolitan Area had rates at or above the statewide average.

The counties of Washington, Worcester and Charles also had elevated rates, with 8.88%, 8% and 7.43% testing positivity, respectively.

Vaccines

Health officials reported a record 76,590 new COVID-19 vaccinations, eclipsing 2.8 million vaccine doses administered statewide since Dec. 14.

Some 38,437 received their first dose of the two-dose regimen made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna; 33,134 got their second dose.

More than 1.04 million people have been fully vaccinated in Maryland, while about 1.8 million have received at least one dose.

The state has averaged 59,115 immunizations administered daily over the last seven days, according to the health department.

Vaccines by age:

As more people are deemed eligible for vaccines, health department metrics show almost 73% of Marylanders 65 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Vaccines by race:

About 3.3 times as many white people have been completely vaccinated in Maryland as Black people, health department data shows.

The proportion is smaller when accounting for only initial immunizations, with about 2.7 times as many white people, who make up about 58.5% of the state’s population, receiving at least one dose than Black people, who account for about 31% of residents.

Approximately 11% of the state’s population is Latino, though Latino people have received about 4.8% of all vaccine doses administered for which the recipients’ ethnicity was known.

Vaccines by county:

With about 37,000 residents, Talbot County became the first jurisdiction in Maryland to have 25% of its population fully vaccinated, health department data shows. Only three other counties — Worcester, Kent and Howard — have seen more than 20% of their respective populations completely immunized.

Prince George’s and Charles counties, meanwhile, have seen the smallest shares of their populations, which together account for about 18% of Maryland, complete their vaccines. About 10.85% of Prince George’s 909,000 residents have finished their immunizations, while about 11.68% of Charles 163,000 have been fully vaccinated.

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