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Maryland’s COVID positivity rate hits new low as new cases, hospitalizations continue to drop

For the first time since Maryland began reporting it, the state’s coronavirus testing positivity rate dropped below 2%, according to the state health department.

Here’s a look at where other key pandemic measures stood Tuesday:

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Cases

Maryland health officials reported 160 new coronavirus infections — the lowest figure reported since March 26, 2020.

Over the past 14 days, Maryland has reported an average of 349 new infections daily. The state’s pandemic case count now stands at 458,680.

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Deaths

Seven more people reportedly died from COVID-19, meaning 8,838 people in Maryland have succumbed to the virus, the data shows.

Maryland health officials have reported an average of 11 deaths daily over the past two weeks.

Hospitalizations

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 fell by six Tuesday to 442. It was also the smallest reported number of patients since October.

More than 43,000 people have been hospitalized because of the disease throughout the pandemic, according to the health department.

Testing positivity

The state’s average testing positivity rate fell to 1.98%, from 2.04% the day before.

Measuring the share of tests returned positive over the last week, the rate has declined much of the month of May and is less than half what it was a month ago.

Maryland reported 9,042 tests Tuesday, down from 13,337 the day before.

Vaccinations

The state reported 23,227 vaccinations Tuesday, with 8,889 people receiving the first of two doses required for the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines and 12,767 more completing the course. Furthermore, 1,571 of Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot immunizations were administered.

About 46% of Maryland’s 6 million residents have been fully vaccinated. As of Monday afternoon, about 55.5% of the state’s population had received at least one vaccine dose, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

More than 5.93 million vaccine doses have now been administered in Maryland, including 199,575 dished out by federal entities, the data shows. The health department has reported an average of 47,564 vaccinations daily over the last week.

Vaccines by age:

About 32.4% of Marylanders 12 to 17 years old have received one dose of Pfizer’s vaccine, the only one approved for people under 18.

However, the effort to immunize teens and preteens soon could get a boost. Vaccine maker Moderna announced Tuesday that its COVID-19 vaccine strongly protects youths as young as 12 and that its findings will be reviewed next month by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

In the meantime, Maryland health officials said almost 84.2% of residents 65 and older, nearly 71.7% of those 50 to 64 years old and about 56.4% of those between the ages of 18 and 49 have received at least one dose.

Vaccines by race:

Down from a difference of 2.6 times a week ago, about 2.55 times more white people than Black people have been fully vaccinated in Maryland, according to state data.

Those demographic groups account for about 58.5% and 31% of the state’s population.

Latino people make up about 10.6% of the state’s population but account for about 7.2% of the people who’ve been fully vaccinated in Maryland and whose ethnicity was recorded. A week ago, Latino people represented about 6% of those completely immunized and whose ethnicity was known.

Vaccines by county:

Howard (53.9%), Talbot (51.4%) and Montgomery (50.7%) counties are the only localities in the state to have at least half their populations fully vaccinated, according to health department data.

Somerset (29.1%) and Cecil (30.9%) counties continue to lag behind the rest of the state in terms of the share of their residents completely immunized.

With about 26,000 people, Somerset also ranked last when it came to the share of its population to receive a first vaccine dose, 32.9%, the data shows. Not far ahead is another Eastern Shore jurisdiction, Caroline County, where approximately 33.4% of its 33,000 people received a first dose.

Howard (61.3%), Montgomery (57.7%) and Talbot (50.9%) paced the state with the shares of their people to have received a first dose. Howard has about 326,000 people, Montgomery has about 1 million people and Talbot about 37,000, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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