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Maryland again tops 1,000 new coronavirus cases as hospitalizations continue to rise

Maryland health officials reported nearly 1,200 newly confirmed coronavirus cases Wednesday as more than 900 residents are currently hospitalized with the disease despite the state’s ongoing vaccination campaign.

Here’s how Wednesday’s numbers breakdown:

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Cases

The state reported 1,173 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, the fifth time in the past seven days officials have reported more than 1,000 new cases.

The Maryland Department of Health has reported a total of 402,600 cases since the state started tracking the disease last March. The state is one of 26 to surpass at least 400,000 cases, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Deaths

Health officials reported that 19 more people died due to complications from COVID-19, raising the total to 8,029.

Hospitalizations

The number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus rose by 20 to 915 Wednesday. It’s the first time the state has reached over 900 hospitalizations since March 1, according to state data, and the highest total since Feb. 26.

In the beginning of March, health officials had reported a steady decline of people hospitalized due to the illness. However the number of hospitalizations has risen for six consecutive days.

Positivity Rate

The state’s positivity rate, which measures the average number of positive COVID-19 tests over a seven-day period, continues to climb closer to 5% despite health officials’ efforts to vaccinate tens of thousands of residents daily. Wednesday’s rate was 4.59%, up from 4.45% Tuesday.

The World Health Organization recommends that jurisdictions reach a seven-day average positivity rate below 5% before relaxing pandemic-related restrictions.

Currently, Anne Arundel County (6.41%), Carroll County (5.27%), Cecil County (6.97%), Charles County (6.75%), Dorchester County (6.03%), Frederick County (5.08%), Harford County (6.18%), Prince George’s County (5.4%), Washington County (5.62%) and Wicomico County (5.73%) are all above that 5% threshold.

Vaccinations

Health officials reported that 51,434 total doses of the coronavirus vaccines were administered Tuesday, an increase of about 15,000 doses over Monday’s total of 36,594 shots. Tuesday was the first day state residents age 60 to 64 were eligible to receive the vaccine as Maryland entered Phase 2A of its vaccine distribution plan.

Gov. Larry Hogan wrote on Twitter that it was the most shots administered on a Tuesday since the state started administering the vaccine, but it is about 6,000 doses fewer than the daily record of more than 57,000 doses administered earlier this month.

The state reported that 36,664 people got their first shot of either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines and that 14,770 people were fully inoculated by either receiving their second shot or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Currently, 816,155 Marylanders have been fully vaccinated against the disease, or about 13.5% of the state’s population, according to state health department data. Officials say that 1,488,253 people have received at least their first dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.

Vaccines by age:

As of Wednesday, 67.9% of residents aged 65 and older have received at least their first dose of the vaccine, according to state health officials.

Vaccines by county:

Kent and Talbot counties, two rural jurisdictions on Maryland’s Eastern Shore where more than 27% of residents are age 65 and older, continue to lead the state in fully vaccinated residents. As of Wednesday, state health officials reported that 21.25% of Kent County residents and 20.58% of Talbot County residents are fully inoculated against the coronavirus, the only two jurisdictions in the state to top 20%.

Prince George’s and Charles counties, two majority Black counties located in the Washington area, continue to lag behind the rest of the state in vaccination rates. As of Wednesday, only 7.86% of Prince George’s County’s roughly 909,000 residents and 8.97% of Charles County’s roughly 163,000 residents have been fully vaccinated, making them the only two counties below 10%.

Baltimore City, which had previously been more comparable to Prince George’s and Charles counties’ vaccination rates, now has fully vaccinated a larger share of its population than four other counties. As of Wednesday, about 11.44% of city residents have been fully inoculated against the coronavirus, outpacing Prince George’s, Charles, Cecil and Somerset counties.

Cecil and Somerset counties have seen about 10.69% and 10.86% of residents fully vaccinated, respectively.

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