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In Maryland, virus death toll climbs past 200, more than 7,000 infections across state

The novel coronavirus has killed more than 200 Marylanders and infected more than 7,000 people statewide, officials announced Saturday, as they also called for more support from the federal government.

The tally added 726 new cases and 35 additional deaths from Friday.

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The largest number of cases and deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, have occurred in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties; 50 people have died in Prince George’s, 36 in Montgomery.

In the Baltimore region, Baltimore City has 756 cases and 22 deaths; Baltimore County 1,173 cases and 26 deaths; Anne Arundel 615 cases and 19 deaths; Carroll 214 and 25 deaths; Howard 351 cases and six deaths; and Harford has 120 cases and one death.

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State officials have begun releasing the race of new patients, a process that began Thursday after officials faced weeks of mounting pressure.

Black Marylanders experience the highest number of cases with 2,599 residents testing positive, of which 77 have died, while 1,883 white residents have tested positive and 58 have died, though white residents make up a larger share of the state’s population, according to U.S. Census data. The state said race data is not available for 1,690 cases and 23 of the deaths.

State officials said 39,544 people have tested negative for COVID-19 and 431 have been released from isolation.

Also Saturday, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who chairs the National Governors Association, issued a joint statement with Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the vice chair, seeking $500 billion in aid from Congress to help states with looming budget shortfalls from the pandemic.

The governors say help is badly needed for states that have been “leading the on-the-ground response to the national COVID-19 pandemic.”

The White House has acknowledged the request, a spokesman for Hogan said.

Hogan also urged Marylanders to stay home and follow social distancing through the holiday weekend of Easter.

“This is going to be one of our most dangerous times ever," he said Friday in Annapolis. "This would be the worst possible time for people to be violating executive orders and congregating.”

In Baltimore County, meanwhile, Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. urged the White House to pressure General Motors to reopen its White Marsh plant and manufacture life-saving ventilators.

General Motors shut down the plant last May, displacing nearly 300 workers and bringing an end to its seven decades of manufacturing in the Baltimore area. Workers there built heavy-duty truck transmissions — the sorts used in the popular Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra — as well as electric motors.

Olszewski sent a letter to President Donald Trump asking for help to reopen the plant.

Trump has invoked the Defense Production Act, directing General Motors to switch from producing cars to ventilators amid the fight against coronvairus. The Defense Production Act gives the government authority to direct companies to meet national defense needs.

The federal government is set to pay GM $489 million for 30,000 ventilators.

“This money should be leveraged to put hardworking Americans back to work — including residents of Baltimore County,” Olszewski said. “These workers are idle, they are skilled, and they could make a meaningful contributions to the national effort to increase the supply of medical equipment needed by state and local governments to respond to COVID-19.”

GM officials said they expect to start making ventilators in the middle of this month, aiming to reach a rate of 10,000 ventilators per month.

Baltimore Sun reporter Tim Prudente contributed to this article.

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