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Maryland adds 1,196 new COVID cases; 1.8 million now fully vaccinated

Maryland health officials reported more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases for the fourth day in a row Saturday.

The same day the state announced a resumption of the use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, it also marked the milestone of having 1.8 million residents fully vaccinated against the disease, almost 30% of Maryland’s population.

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Here’s how other key pandemic indicators looked:

Cases

With 1,196 new infections, the state has recorded 442,351 throughout the pandemic, according to health department data.

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On average, the state has reported 1,222 infections daily over the last two weeks.

Deaths

Fifteen more people were reported dead from COVID-19 Saturday, bringing to 8,462 the disease’s fatality count in Maryland, the data shows.

Hospitalizations

There were 1,163 people still hospitalized with the coronavirus Saturday, 25 fewer than the day before, according to the health department. Of those hospitalized, 287 required intensive care, two fewer than a day earlier.

At least 1,000 people with COVID-19 have populated Maryland hospitals every day since March 28.

Meanwhile, more than 40,000 people have been hospitalized with the disease since health officials began to track its effects in March 2020.

Testing positivity

The state’s average testing positivity rate decreased to 4.87% Friday, 0.23 points lower than the day before, marking seven days of decline after an upward trajectory most of March, the data shows. It’s the first time since March 28 that the rate, which measures the average number of tests returned positive over the last week, has dropped below 5%.

The World Health Organization recommends that a jurisdiction records two weeks with less than 5% testing positivity before easing coronavirus restrictions.

Maryland reported almost 50,000 tests were returned over the last 24 hours, meaning more than 9.5 million nasal swabs have been tested for COVID-19 throughout the pandemic, according to health department data.

Vaccinations

In addition to over 1.8 million fully vaccinated, almost 2.5 million Marylanders received at least one vaccine dose — about 40% of state residents, health department data shows.

The state reported 58,257 new vaccinations Saturday. About 26,284 people received their first of two doses required for maximum protection with the immunizations made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. Meanwhile, 31,944 reportedly completed their two-dose regimens.

U.S. health officials lifted Friday evening an 11-day pause on the single-shot vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson, a delay prompted by the discovery of a few cases of rare blood clots among millions of recipients of that vaccine.

Maryland announced Saturday it will resume the use of Johnson & Johnson’s product, millions of doses of which were tainted at the East Baltimore plant of vaccine maker Emergent BioSolutions. Still, the state health department reported Saturday 29 new Johnson & Johnson immunizations.

Previously, the state health officials have attributed Johnson & Johnson shots reported during the 11-day pause to data entry delays and vaccine reporting errors by providers.

Over the last week, the state has reported an average of 63,637 vaccine doses daily, according to health data.

Vaccines by age:

About 79.5% of Marylanders 65 and older have received at least one coronavirus vaccine dose, according to state data. Meanwhile, almost 61% of residents between 50 and 64 years old and roughly 44% of people in the state between 18 and 49 have received at least one dose.

There’s only one vaccine available to 16- and 17-year-olds, the Pfizer-BioNTech immunization. None have been authorized for children younger than 16. Still, almost a quarter of Marylanders who are 16 or 17 years old have received at least one dose.

Vaccines by race:

About 2.8 times more white people have been fully vaccinated than Black people in Maryland, according to state data. Those demographic groups make up 58.5% and 31% of the state’s population. About a week ago the proportion was 2.9 to 1 and roughly a month ago it was 3.8 to one.

Latino residents, who account for about 11% of Maryland’s population, have received roughly 6% of all vaccines for which the recipients ethnicity was recorded. A week ago, it was less than 6% and a little a month ago, Latino residents accounted for closer to 4% of overall vaccinations.

Vaccines by county:

Two Eastern Shore counties find themselves at opposite ends of the state’s vaccination campaign.

Talbot County, population 37,000, is the only jurisdiction in the state where at least 40% of the population is fully vaccinated. Meanwhile Somerset County, the farthest south on the shore and with about 27,000 residents, is the only locality in Maryland where less than 21% of the population has completed their coronavirus immunizations.

For much of the five-month vaccination effort, Prince George’s County lagged behind the rest of the state in terms of the percentage of its population vaccinated. The D.C. suburb of about 909,000 residents has eclipsed Somerset, but has seen just 21.5% of its people completely immunized — the second smallest proportion in the state.

Prince George’s is majority Black, while about 41.5% of Somerset’s residents are Black.

Cecil and Queen Anne’s counties, both almost 90% white, have seen about 22% and 23% of their populations finish their COVID-19 vaccines — third and fourth lowest in the state. Cecil has about 103,000 people; Queen Anne’s has roughly 50,000.

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