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Maryland eclipses 2 million fully vaccinated as several COVID indicators decline

More than 2 million people in Maryland are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, state health officials reported Saturday.

The milestone came as several key metrics declined, including the state’s coronavirus testing positivity rate and the number of people hospitalized, according to health department data.

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Here’s where other key pandemic metrics stood:

Cases

Maryland added 939 new coronavirus infections, with the state’s case count reaching 448,340 since health officials began to track the virus in March 2020.

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Saturday marks the third day in a row that fewer than 1,000 cases were reported. There have been fewer than 1,000 infections in six of the last seven days, health department data shows.

Deaths

Twenty more people were reported dead from COVID-19, according to health department data. The disease has caused 8,575 deaths throughout the pandemic.

Hospitalizations

About 1,009 people remained in Maryland hospitals Saturday, down 33 from the day before, health department data shows. Of those hospitalized, 269 patients required intensive care.

At least 1,000 people have remained hospitalized with the coronavirus in Maryland every day since March 29, according to the health department.

Testing positivity

The state’s testing positivity rate was 3.7%, down 0.03 percentage points compared to the day before.

Health department data shows the rate, which measures the average number of tests returned positive over the last seven days, has been below 5% for eight days. The World Health Organization recommends jurisdictions stay under 5% for two weeks before easing restrictions.

Maryland reported that 39,598 coronavirus tests were returned positive Friday, up from 35,916 Thursday.

Vaccinations

About 2.09 million people, almost 35% of Maryland’s population, have been fully vaccinated either by receiving two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines or getting the Johnson & Johnson single-shot immunization, according to health department data.

Meanwhile, 2.75 million, or about 46% of the population, have received a first vaccine dose, the data shows.

Maryland reported 229,878 new vaccinations Friday, with 120,013 receiving a first dose, 105,456 getting a second and 4,409 receiving Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine.

Before Friday, Maryland had not reported more than 100,000 vaccinations in a day. The bump happened because the health department adjusted its vaccination data to include vaccinations administered by federal entities within the state, said Mike Ricci, a spokesman for Gov. Larry Hogan.

The federal entities report vaccinations directly to the federal government, and the the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention counts doses administered by those entities in a state as being administered by the state, so “the state is now incorporating these administrations in the dashboard to be consistent with CDC reporting methodology,” Ricci said in an email.

Ricci said the state actually added 60,751 vaccinations Friday.

Federal entities have administered approximately 169,000 vaccine doses in Maryland, according to the health department.

Vaccines by age:

About 81% of Marylanders 60 and older, 65% of residents between 50 and 64 years old and 48% of those between the ages of 18 and 49 have received at least on vaccine dose, according to health department data.

Only the Pfizer vaccine has been authorized for people under 18, while no COVID-19 immunization has been OK’d for anyone under 16. The health department reports about 33% of 16- and 17-year-olds in the state have received at least one dose.

Vaccines by race:

Approximately 2.7 times more white people have been fully vaccinated than Black people, demographics that account for 58.5% and 31% of the state’s roughly 6 million residents. When accounting for first doses alone, Black people have received 2.5 times less initial immunizations than white people.

Latino people, who make up almost 11% of Marylanders, have received almost 7% of all vaccine doses administered for which the recipients ethnicity was recorded — and not counting federal entities.

Vaccines by county:

Talbot County (44%) has fully vaccinated the biggest proportion of its population of any jurisdiction in the state and double as much as Somerset County (22%), which has seen the smallest share of its people completely immunized.

Both located on the Eastern Shore, Talbot has about 37,000 residents, more than 80% of whom are white, and Somerset has a population of roughly 26,000, about 54% of whom are white. They’re both among the five least-populated localities in Maryland.

About 37% of Montgomery County’s roughly 1 million residents have completed their immunizations — the fourth-largest proportion in the state. Its neighbor, Prince George’s, has seen about 25% of its 909,000 residents fully vaccinated — the fourth-smallest share. The two most populated localities in Maryland, Montgomery is about 60% white, while Prince George’s is about 64% Black.

Somerset (28%) has seen the smallest share of its people receive a first vaccine dose. Howard County (53%), with about 326,000 residents, has the largest proportion of people who’ve received initial immunizations.

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