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Maryland COVID hospitalizations, positivity rate drop as state nears 50% of residents fully vaccinated

As Maryland’s coronavirus hospitalizations and testing positivity rate continued to descend, the state approached a milestone in its vaccination campaign: Nearly half of all residents have been fully immunized.

Here’s a look at where other COVID-19 indicators stood Saturday:

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Cases

Maryland added 132 coronavirus infections, bringing the state’s pandemic case count to 460,471, according to the health department.

The state has averaged 173 cases daily over the last 14 days.

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Deaths

Nine more people were reported dead from COVID-19, the disease that has now claimed 9,426 lives since health officials began tracking its effects in March 2020, the data shows.

Maryland has reported an average of eight fatalities every day for the last two weeks.

Hospitalizations

The number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus in Maryland dropped by 16, with 302 still under hospital care, according to the state.

That’s the smallest tally of COVID-19 patients since Sept. 21, during a lull in the pandemic before it surged in the fall and into the winter with a shocking number of hospitalizations.

Testing positivity

Maryland’s average testing positivity rate was 1.3%, down 0.06 percentage points from the day before, the data shows.

The figure Friday represented a new low mark for the rate, which measures the share of tests returned positive over the last week. However, the percentage has generally declined for more than a month. It’s about a third of what it was May 4 and less than a fourth of where it was April 4.

About 24,715 tests were returned, according to the state, while almost 10.5 million nasal swabs from Maryland have been analyzed for COVID-19 throughout the pandemic.

Vaccinations

The state said more than 2.99 million Marylanders have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, either by completing Pfizer-BioNTech’s or Moderna’s two-dose vaccine courses or receiving Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot immunizations.

That means approximately 49.5% of the state’s roughly 6 million residents have been completely immunized.

On Saturday, the state reported 35,217 new vaccinations. Some 9,210 people received a first vaccine dose, 24,837 received their second dose and 1,170 got a single-shot vaccine, according to the health department.

The daily vaccination haul is the largest reported this month, though the state’s seven-day average of daily immunizations continued to drop, the data shows. Over the past week, officials reported an average of 23,527 shots every day.

More than 6.25 million vaccine doses have been administered in Maryland since Dec. 14, about 202,600 of which were doled out by federal entities in the state, according to the health department.

Vaccines by age:

The state said 70.6% of adults in Maryland have gotten at least one vaccine dose, including about 85.2% of residents 65 and older, 73.5% of Marylanders 50 to 64 years old and almost 59% of those between the ages of 18 and 49 years old.

Only the Pfizer vaccine is authorized for people under 18, and no immunization has been approved for children younger than 12. Still, about 39.5% of Maryland’s youths 12 to 17 years old have gotten a dose of that vaccine, according to the health department.

Vaccines by race:

While the gaps have narrowed, disparities in vaccinations along racial lines still exist.

About 2.48 times more white Marylanders than Black residents have been fully vaccinated, despite those demographic groups making up 58.5% and 31% of the state’s population, the data shows. Accounting for first doses alone, white people in the state have received 2.29 times more doses than Black people.

Those differences are down from 2.7 times and 2.47 times on May 5.

Latino residents account for about 10.6% of Marylanders, yet roughly 7.77% of those who’ve been fully vaccinated in the state and whose ethnicity was known were Latino, according to the health department. As for first doses, about 8.7% of people who received one and whose ethnicity was recorded were Latino.

On May 5, Latino residents made up about 5.8% of people fully vaccinated and had received about 7.4% of first doses.

Vaccines by county:

Howard (57.9%), Montgomery (54.4%) and Talbot (53.3%) counties are pacing the state in terms of the proportions of their populations that have been fully vaccinated, the data shows. The same three lead the state in terms of the shares of their people with at least one vaccine dose, with 67%, 63.7% and 59% of their populations having been partially immunized.

Howard and Montgomery counties have two of the three highest median household incomes in the state and among the smallest shares of people living in poverty, U.S. Census Bureau estimates show. Talbot is near the state average on both measures.

Somerset (31.4%), Cecil (33%) and Garrett (35.1%) counties have seen the smallest shares of their people fully vaccinated. They also trail the state in terms of proportions of their populations at least partially immunized, with 37.1%, 38.9% and 39.8%, respectively.

Somerset has the lowest median household income and the highest percentage of people living in poverty. Garrett is not far ahead; Cecil’s metrics are around the state average.

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