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Maryland posts fifth straight day of 1,000-plus COVID cases as hospitalizations and positivity rate rise

State health officials reported more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases for the fifth consecutive day Sunday as Maryland’s positivity rate rose again despite more than 51,000 doses of the available vaccines being administered over the past 24 hours.

In addition, the Maryland Department of Health is reporting an additional increase in the number of people hospitalized due to the disease as officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say they’re worried about the national trend of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across the country.

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Here’s how the metrics break down:

Cases

State health officials reported 1,335 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in the past 24 hours, bringing the state total up to 408,044 cases since officials began tracking the virus in March 2020.

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It’s the fifth consecutive day that Maryland has reported more than 1,000 new cases as March has seen officials report an uptick in the infection rate across the state. The increase is still well below the peak Maryland saw in January, when the state was reporting nearly 3,000 cases a day across a two-week stretch following the holiday season.

However, the state has seen an increase in average daily cases since mid-March, as it had not reported more than 1,000 cases in a single day between Feb. 19 and March 13.

Deaths

Health officials reported five more people died due to complications from COVID-19, bringing the total up to 8,066 Marylanders since the state began tracking the disease in March 2020.

Hospitalizations

Maryland reported an increase of 23 people hospitalized with the coronavirus, bringing the total number up to 970.

Since March 18, the state health department has reported an increase of 172 patients hospitalized with the disease.

Testing positivity

The statewide testing positivity rate rose slightly to 4.7% from 4.58% on Saturday. The rate, which measures the percentage of positive tests over the past seven days, had somewhat leveled out in recent days.

However, the state has seen its average positivity rate raise more than 1 percentage point since the beginning of March to coincide with the increase in daily cases.

The counties of Anne Arundel (6.14%), Baltimore (5.21%), Calvert (5.05%), Caroline (5.27%), Carroll (6.08%), Cecil (5.56%), Charles (6.43%), Frederick (5.44%), Harford (7.77%), Prince George’s (5.07%), Washington (7.25%) and Wicomico (6.04%) are all above the state average. The World Health Organization recommends places achieve a positivity rate below 5% before relaxing coronavirus restrictions.

The state health department reported that 34,462 tests were completed statewide in the past 24 hours.

Vaccinations

Health officials administered 51,256 total doses of the coronavirus vaccines over the past 24 hours, the state reported Sunday, as Maryland eclipsed more than 2.5 million total doses since December.

Gov. Larry Hogan wrote on Twitter that the state has averaged 49,713 doses of the vaccines administered daily over the past week. He also cited CDC data on the rate of vaccinations among certain age demographics, which differs from the state health department’s reported rates.

According to the state, 21,799 people were reported to have been fully vaccinated against the virus by either receiving their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna versions of the vaccine or the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson shot. Additionally, 29,457 people received their first dose of the two-dose regimens on Saturday, according to the state health department.

As of Sunday, 14.88% of Maryland residents, or 877,651 people, have been fully inoculated against the coronavirus, according to the state health department. More than a quarter of Marylanders, about 27.02%, have received at least their first dose of the vaccine, state health officials reported.

Vaccines by age:

The state health department reported that 70.4% of Maryland’s population of residents ages 65 or older have received at least their first dose of the vaccine as of Sunday.

Additionally, state health officials reported that 34.87% of Marylanders ages 50 to 64 have received their first dose, as well as 23.17% of residents ages 18 to 49 and 3.29% of 16- and 17-year-olds. Maryland on Tuesday began offering immunizations to anyone who is at least 60 years old.

Vaccines by race:

About 3.5 times as many white people have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus as compared with Black people, a racial gap that has slowly decreased, health department statistics show. The demographic groups make up 58.5% and 31% of the state’s population, respectively.

Hispanic residents have also been fully inoculated at a slower rate when comparing ethnicity data. According to the state, 3.95% of people who have been fully vaccinated identify as Hispanic or Latino when comparing vaccination rates where ethnicity data was available.

The demographic represents about 11% of Maryland’s population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and about 9.1% of coronavirus deaths where racial and ethnicity data was available.

Vaccines by county:

Prince George’s and Charles counties, two majority-Black counties located in the Washington area, are still the only two jurisdictions to see less than 10% of residents fully inoculated against the coronavirus.

Only about 8.93% of Prince George’s County’s roughly 909,000 residents and 9.54% of Charles County’s roughly 163,000 residents have been fully vaccinated, the two lowest rates in Maryland as of Sunday, according to state health department data.

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 Sunday, about 12.82% 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 11.63% and 11.66% of residents fully vaccinated, respectively.

Meanwhile, Eastern Shore counties with large populations of residents ages 65 or older continue to see higher rates of vaccination when compared with the rest of the state.

Currently, Kent, Talbot and Worcester counties are all reporting that more than 20% of residents have now been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Talbot County leads the state with 22.46% of residents having received either their second dose of the vaccine or the single Johnson & Johnson shot, according to state health department data. Kent and Worcester counties come in second and third, with 21.83% and 20.81% of residents having been fully vaccinated, respectively.

All three counties are largely rural, with at least 27% of residents ages 65 or older and at least 81% of residents being white, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The statewide average for residents ages 65 or older is 15.9%.

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