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As Marylanders remove masks, state tops 5.5 million COVID vaccinations; hospitalizations continue to fall

With Marylanders weighing whether to continue wearing masks indoors in light of Gov. Larry Hogan’s lifting of the statewide mask mandate, the state eclipsed 5.5 million coronavirus vaccinations as hospitalizations continued to drop statewide.

Hogan’s order took effect Saturday. Here’s a look at where other pandemic indicators stood:

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Cases

Maryland added 378 coronavirus infections, raising the state’s pandemic case count to 455,635, according to the health department. That’s the smallest tally of cases reported in five days.

Deaths

Seventeen more people were reported dead from COVID-19, bringing to 8,733 the number of fatalities in Maryland attributable to the disease since health officials began tracking it in March 2020, the data shows.

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Hospitalizations

Some 653 remained in hospitals statewide battling the coronavirus, 27 fewer than the day before, according to the data. Of those patients, 191 required intensive care.

Over the last four days, the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 has declined by almost 150.

The tally of people hospitalized is the lowest figure reported since Nov. 7, when hospitalizations were rapidly increasing as the pandemic began its winter surge. Hospitalizations peaked at 1,952 in January.

Testing positivity

The state’s testing positivity rate held steady at 2.6% Friday, the data shows.

Measuring the average share of coronavirus tests returned positive, the percentage reached its lowest mark since Sept. 28. It’s also less than half what it was a month ago.

About 28,068 tests were returned Friday, the state reported, meaning more than 10.07 million nasal swabs have been tested for the disease throughout the pandemic.

Vaccinations

Maryland reported 53,269 coronavirus vaccinations, with 22,656 receiving their first dose of vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna and 29,142 completing their two-dose course. The state said 1,471 of Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot immunizations were administered.

About 65.9% of Maryland’s adult population has received at least one vaccine dose, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In sum, 5.5 million vaccine doses have been administered in Maryland, with about 2.53 million people fully vaccinated either by receiving a single-shot vaccine or completing a two-dose schedule, health department data shows.

The state has reported an average of 48,956 immunizations daily over the past week. Federal entities have administered roughly 188,000 doses in Maryland, according to the health department.

Vaccines by age:

More than 83% of Marylanders 65 and older have now received at least one vaccine dose, according to the health department. About 69.3% of those between the ages of 50 and 64 and 53.3% of residents 18 to 49 years old have received at least one dose.

Just one vaccine, Pfizer’s, has been authorized for people under 18, approval recently expanded to include children as young as 12. On Thursday, Maryland began vaccinating youths 12 to 15 years old.

The health department reported that almost 17% of Marylanders 12 to 17 years old had received at least one vaccine dose as of Saturday morning.

Vaccines by race:

Approximately 2.6 times more white people have been fully vaccinated in Maryland than Black people, though those demographics account for 58.5% and 31% of the state’s population, health department data shows. A month ago, the difference was 2.8 times. Approximately two months ago, it was 3.8 times.

About 6.5% of the people who’ve been fully vaccinated in Maryland and whose ethnicity was recorded identified as Latino, a demographic that makes up about 11% of state residents, the data shows.

In sum, the data shows, Latino residents have received about 7.27% of all vaccine doses in Maryland where the person’s ethnicity was known, up from about 6% a month ago.

Vaccines by county:

Three counties have fully vaccinated at least 45% of their populations, while just two have seen less than 30% of their residents complete their immunizations, according to the health department.

Howard (48.6%), Talbot (48%) and Montgomery (45.9%) continue to pace the state in terms of the shares of their populations that are fully vaccinated. Located in the Baltimore metropolitan area, the Eastern Shore and the suburbs of Washington, they have populations of 326,000, 37,000 and 1 million, respectively. All are majority white, but Talbot is the least diverse, with 83% of its residents being white.

The counties of Somerset (26.2%) and Cecil (28.1%) have seen the smallest shares of their people fully vaccinated. Somerset, the southernmost locality on the Eastern Shore, has about 27,000 residents, while Cecil, the northernmost, has about 103,000. Cecil is 88% white; Somerset is about 54% white and 41% Black.

Lagging behind the rest of the state for much of the vaccination campaign, Prince George’s County climbed above Somerset a month ago. The Washington suburb of 909,000 people, 64% of whom are Black and 19.5% of whom are Latino, now finds itself ahead of six other counties. With federally and state-run mass vaccination sites and vaccine equity clinics, Prince George’s has fully vaccinated about 32.2% of its people.

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