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As Maryland COVID testing positivity marks new low, virus hospitalizations creep up

As Maryland marked yet another record low coronavirus testing positivity rate, the number of people hospitalized with the virus crept up, state health department data shows.

Here’s a look at where the state’s COVID-19 measures stood Thursday:

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Cases

Maryland added 134 new coronavirus infections, bringing the state’s pandemic case count to 460,194.

Deaths

Four more people were reported dead from COVID-19, the respiratory illness that has killed 9,414 people in Maryland since March 2020.

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Hospitalizations

About 347 people remained in hospitals statewide with the coronavirus, two more than the day before. After declining everyday for more than two weeks, hospitalizations have increased slightly the past three days.

Despite the slight increase, the number of people hospitalized is less than half what it was a month ago and almost six times less than the pandemic peak of 1,952 patients Jan. 12.

Testing positivity

Maryland’s seven-day average testing positivity rate was 1.39%, down from 1.44% the day before and a pandemic low. The decrease more than made up for a slight uptick following the Memorial Day weekend.

Meanwhile, the state’s daily testing positivity rate dropped below 1% for the first time, reaching 0.74%.

Some 21,576 coronavirus tests were returned, meaning more than 10.4 million nasal swabs from Maryland have been tested for the disease.

Vaccinations

The state reported 24,215 new coronavirus vaccinations Thursday.

Of those immunizations, 9,587 people received their first dose of the two-dose vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna, while 13,760 completed the course. An additional 868 of Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot immunization were administered.

Almost 6.2 million vaccine doses made their way into arms in Maryland, while almost 2.95 million have been fully vaccinated.

The state reported an average of 25,557 immunizations daily over the last week.

Vaccines by age:

Maryland marked the milestone of having 85% of Marylanders 65 and older having received at least one vaccine dose, according to the health department.

About 73.2% of Marylanders 50 to 64 years old and about 58.5% of residents between the ages of 18 and 49 have been partially vaccinated.

The state also reported about 38.5% of Maryland’s population 12 to 17 years old have received at least one dose of the Pfizer vaccine, the only immunization approved for youths under 18. No vaccine is available to those younger than 12.

Vaccines by race:

State data shows racial disparities persist in vaccinations.

Black residents, who make up about 31% of Maryland residents, have received about 24.6% of the approximately 5.62 million vaccines administered statewide where the recipient’s race was known.

Meanwhile, white residents, who account for about 58.5% of the state’s population, have received about 58.8% of vaccines, according to the health department. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates 6.7% of Maryland’s population is Asian, while health data shows Asian residents have received about 8% of vaccines.

The ethnicity of vaccine recipients was known for about 5.6 million doses. But about 8% of those vaccines have gone Latino residents, who represent about 10.6% of Marylanders.

Vaccines by county:

Howard County continues to pace the state in vaccinations, with about 66.7% of its 326,000 people having received at least one dose and about 56.9% fully vaccinated.

Depending on the immunization metric, Howard’s neighbors in the Baltimore Metro Area range from fifth in the state to 17th.

About 54.7% of Baltimore County’s 827,000 people have received at least one vaccine dose — the fifth highest share in Maryland. Meanwhile, about 46.6% have been fully vaccinated.

Carroll County has seen about 54.5% of its 168,000 people receive at least one dose and about 47.5% of its residents completely immunized — the sixth largest share in the state.

South of Baltimore, about 54% of Anne Arundel County’s roughly 579,000 people have received at least one dose, and 45.5% are fully vaccinated. To the northeast, about 52.9% of Harford County’s 255,000 people have gotten at least partially immunized, while 45.6% have completed the course.

Baltimore trails its neighbors in both categories. About 45.1% of the city’s 593,000 residents have achieved at least partial protection from the coronavirus with a vaccine; 38% have been fully vaccinated — ranking it 17th among the state’s 24 jurisdictions.

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