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Maryland reports 327 new coronavirus cases and 12 more deaths as statewide positivity rate remains under 5%

Richard Parker, left, listens to instructions after administering a self-test for Covid-19 at a walk-up testing center in the parking lot of Mondawmin Mall Friday afternoon.
Richard Parker, left, listens to instructions after administering a self-test for Covid-19 at a walk-up testing center in the parking lot of Mondawmin Mall Friday afternoon. (Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun)

Maryland health officials Sunday announced an additional 327 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 12 more deaths resulting from the disease.

In Maryland, the total confirmed COVID-19 cases now stand at 66,777 and deaths at 3,042, according to the latest figures.

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Meanwhile, there are currently 446 people hospitalized in the state, of which 158 are being treated in intensive care units, officials said.

The statewide testing positivity rate — the percentage of those tested who test positive — is holding steady at 4.89%.

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The number is significant because the World Health Organization has recommended that states show a positivity rate below 5% for two weeks before officials should consider easing coronavirus-related restrictions.

Maryland’s figure ranks 29th out of the 29 states whose rates are currently below the WHO threshold, according to Johns Hopkins University, but it represents improvement.

Friday marked the first time Maryland had ranked below 5% for 7 straight days.

Positivity rates, among other things, are an indicator of how effectively states are administering tests for the virus.

“If a positivity rate is too high, that may indicate that the state is only testing the sickest patients who seek medical attention, and is not casting a wide enough net to know how much of the virus is spreading within its communities,” according to a Hopkins website on the matter. “A low rate of positivity in testing data can be seen as a sign that a state has sufficient testing capacity for the size of their outbreak and is testing enough of its population to make informed decisions about reopening.”

Maryland, meanwhile, continues to show a steady slide in its numbers of confirmed new cases over the past month or so, particularly compared with states such as Florida, Georgia and Texas that reopened more quickly.

Maryland’s number of new cases peaked at 1,256 on May 26, representing a more than 70% drop over that time.

Florida’s new daily cases increased by more than a factor of 10 over roughly the same period, from 768 on May 18 to 7,844 on June 26, and Texas’ jumped from 1,305 to 5,921 over the same span.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases around the world had surpassed 10 million by late Sunday afternoon, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins, and the total number of deaths had surpassed 500,000.

More than one-fourth of the confirmed cases are in the United States.

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