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Maryland confirms 585 new cases, 13 new deaths from coronavirus

Maryland officials reported 585 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus Tuesday as the state pushes closer to 100,000 infections.

Of Maryland’s 96,843 confirmed infections, at least 3,467 have resulted in death, with 13 additional fatalities reported Tuesday. Through Monday’s data, Maryland ranks 11th of the nation’s 50 states in deaths per capita, according to John Hopkins University’s coronavirus resource center.

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As of Tuesday, 529 people were hospitalized with the COVID-19 illness caused by the virus, including 121 in intensive case.

Since passing back above 500 hospitalizations July 22, Maryland’s hospitals have reported at least that many patients each day, but never surpassed 600. The number of patients requiring intensive care hasn’t exceeded 150 since July 2.

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Maryland’s reported seven-day average testing positivity rate was 3.54%, below 4% for the fourth time in the previous five days. The rate measures the number of virus tests that return a positive result. Tuesday’s reported average rate, the state’s lowest during the pandemic, was a full percentage point lower than the state’s rate at this point last month and nearly 3% lower than the rate reported June 11.

Hopkins, which calculates the positivity rate figure differently than Maryland, has the state at 5.32% through Monday’s data, the third-lowest rolling seven-day rate among the 37 states exceeding 5%. While the state uses the number of positive tests divided by the total testing volume to determine its rate, Hopkins divides the number of confirmed cases by the number of people tested, which means an individual who has been tested multiple times will be used only once in the calculation.

The World Health Organization recommends 14 straight days of positivity rates beneath 5% before governments ease virus-related restrictions. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for entering a third reopening phase calls for 14 straight days with a positivity rate beneath 10%, which Maryland has achieved in both its single-day and seven-day rates, with a median test result return time of fewer than two days. The state is not reporting its average test return time.

Maryland began its reopening process before reaching the WHO’s benchmark but has reported a seven-day average positivity rate under 5% every day since June 26. With Tuesday’s 4.37% figure, the state’s single-day rate has been below 5% for 12 straight days, Maryland’s longest streak.

The more than 17,000 test results reported Tuesday are the state’s fewest in the past five days and mark the third time in the past 13 days with fewer than 20,000 results.

Maryland has performed almost 1.5 million tests on nearly 1.1 million people. Of those tested, slightly more than 9% have received at least one positive result.

Nearly a quarter of Tuesday’s new confirmed cases were residents in their 20s, with 53% of the new infections being in those at least 10 years old but younger than 40.

Meanwhile, of the 11 new victims whose ages were known, nine were at least 60, with six being 80 or older. The state reported that the seven-day average positivity rate for residents older than 35 is 2.96%, while for those under that age, the figure is 4.72%. Both are record lows during the pandemic, according to state data.

In addition to Tuesday’s 585 new cases, the state also reported the race of 321 infected people for whom it didn’t previously have that information. Among those 906 combined cases, 46% were in residents who are Black, compared to 27% who are white.

Of the 11 new victims for which the state provided racial data, six were Black. About 31% of Maryland’s overall population is Black, while 59% of the state’s residents are white, according to U.S. Census data.

The state does not have race data for about 16% of its cases and less than 1% of its deaths.

Although Prince George’s County remains the Maryland jurisdiction with the most total cases and highest seven-day average positivity rate, the 5.3% rate the state reported Tuesday is the county’s lowest since the state began reporting that figure.

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Queen Anne’s County, which has 433 total cases, is the only other jurisdiction with a rate above 5%. Of the other 22, only Charles County (4.43%), Baltimore (4.38%) and Baltimore County (4.21%) have rates of at least 4%, according to state data.

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