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Maryland reports 792 newly confirmed coronavirus cases, 5 new deaths

Maryland reported 792 new cases of the coronavirus Sunday and five more deaths as the state had its fourth consecutive day of more than 700 daily cases.

The additions brought the state’s total to 140,279 cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, and 3,950 people who have died due to the disease or complications from it since officials began tracking the pandemic in March.

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The number of deaths reported dropped from Saturday, when the state announced that 13 people had died due to the virus, the most since late August. Deaths, however, are not always reported the day they occur.

Officials said two of the five people reported dead Sunday were 40 to 49 years old, making for a total of 129 fatal victims in that age range since mid-March. The other three victims were 60 or older.

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The 792 newly confirmed cases come as the United States is seeing a resurgence of the virus this fall. Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus resource center reported 82,668 cases nationwide Saturday.

As of Sunday, 446 people in Maryland are hospitalized due to complications from COVID-19, nine fewer than Saturday.

Health officials reported that 103 people are in intensive care units, six fewer than Saturday. The state says 343 people are being treated in acute care units, three fewer than Saturday.

The statewide seven-day average testing positivity rate is at 3.17%, effectively flat from Saturday.

The coronavirus resource center has that positivity rate at 2.36%. The center recently changed its methodology on how it counts the seven-day average rate.

The World Health Organization recommends governments wait until their jurisdictions experience positivity rates below 5% for 14 consecutive days before easing restrictions on businesses and gatherings.

Last week, Gov. Larry Hogan called on all of Maryland’s localities to enter the third and final phase of the state coronavirus recovery plan. His office pointed to the populated Anne Arundel, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, which remain in the second phase of the recovery plan.

Montgomery County, Maryland’s most populous county with more than 1 million people, led the state with 163 newly confirmed cases Sunday. The county’s seven-day average positivity rate remained below the state average, however, at 2.54% as of Sunday.

Nearly three-quarters of all of Sunday’s cases, 72.5%, came from five localities in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., metropolitan region: Montgomery County (163), Baltimore City (128), Prince George’s County (104), Baltimore County (100) and Anne Arundel County (79). Roughly 65.52% of the state’s population lives in those jurisdictions.

Five of Maryland’s more rural counties have seven-day average testing positivity rates above 5% as of Sunday.

According to health officials, Caroline County (6.2%), Garrett County (6.01%), Dorchester County (5.84%), Allegany County (5.76%) and Somerset County (5.25%) are all above the recommended 5% average rate.

Four of those five counties, which are spread across western and eastern Maryland, have estimated populations under 35,000 people, with only Allegany County on West Virginia’s border having roughly 70,000 people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

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Dorchester County, a jurisdiction with roughly 32,000 people on the Eastern Shore that shares a border with Caroline County, has confirmed 130 new cases of the coronavirus since Oct. 11, increasing from a 2.82% seven-day average positivity rate to 5.84% as of Sunday.

Dorchester has closed its schools amid a spike in coronavirus cases, becoming the first county in the state to scale back learning in classrooms after officials pushed schools to reopen. As of Friday, it had the highest number of confirmed new cases per 100,000 people during the past seven days, data collected by The Washington Post shows.

Adults 20 to 49 years old represented a disproportionate number of Sunday’s cases, as 54.92% of Maryland’s new infections were reported in people in this age demographic, according to state officials.

The pandemic continues to disproportionately affect Maryland’s Black and Latino populations. Of roughly 61.27% of the state’s confirmed COVID-19 cases where information on race was available, 73,147 were found in Black or Hispanic residents. The two demographic groups represent less than half the state’s population.

In comparison, white residents — who constitute more than 58% of the state’s population, or about 50% when accounting for those who also identify as Hispanic or Latino — represented about 31.01% of all confirmed cases with 37,023. While the split is still disproportionate compared with the state’s population, white residents have slowly become a larger portion of the state’s total cases in recent months after representing less than a quarter of all cases in mid-July.

White people have a higher mortality rate compared with other races, with 1,687 cases proving fatal for a rate of about 4.56% as of Sunday. About 3.69% of cases among Blacks and about 1.53% of cases among Latinos were fatal. All of these rates have been decreasing at varying rates in recent months.

The state does not have racial demographic data for 20,902 COVID-19 cases.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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