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Maryland reports 776 new coronavirus cases. Over a third are in youth ages 10-19.

A sign with the updated visitor policy at University of Maryland Medical Center's Midtown campus Thu., Aug. 13, 2020. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun Staff)
A sign with the updated visitor policy at University of Maryland Medical Center's Midtown campus Thu., Aug. 13, 2020. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun Staff) (Karl Merton Ferron/The Baltimore Sun)

Maryland officials reported 776 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, more of a third of which were in patients ages 10 to 19 — the highest percentage for that age group yet.

The cases among the group have been ticking up all week, something experts say should be closely monitored as the school year begins. That age group accounted for 38% of the new COVID-19 cases Saturday, up from nearly 20% the day before. The latest figures come as the state’s public schools plan to start the year virtually, but many private schools and some colleges are bringing students back for in-person learning.

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Maryland Department of Health “is aware of the increase of COVID-19 cases in the 10-19 age range and is carefully monitoring this trend with our local partners at the health departments,” Charles Gischlar, a spokesman for the department, said Friday.

The state has confirmed 111,607 total cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, since it started collecting data in March.

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Maryland added seven more deaths since Friday, bringing the fatality toll from the illness to 3,652. An additional 144 people have probably died due to COVID-19, but laboratory results to confirm their diagnosis are pending.

Officials on Saturday reported that hospitalizations declined by 42 to a total of 353, continuing a week-long stretch in which that metric has remained below 400. Of those hospitalized, 100 are in intensive care, which is eight fewer than Friday.

The state’s seven-day positivity rate of 3.46% is a slight decrease from Friday, according to the health department.

Johns Hopkins, which calculates the positivity rate differently, reports Maryland’s rate is 5.2%, according to its coronavirus resource center. Hopkins calculates the rate using the number of people tested, while the state uses the total number of tests administered.

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan moved the state into Stage Three of its reopening plan on Friday, allowing all businesses — including movie theaters and other entertainment venues — to reopen at limited capacity, subject to local restrictions, before Labor Day weekend.

The positivity rate in Worcester County, home to Ocean City, dropped slightly but remained more than twice as high as the statewide figure, at 7.95%. Although the county has only reported 876 cases and 25 deaths, health experts are urging people to follow health guidelines because Ocean City’s population is expected to spike during the last summer weekend.

While young people account for more of the state’s caseload, Marylanders 60 and older account for 86% of the state’s death toll. Those 80 and older account for 45% of deaths.

Baltimore Sun reporter Nathan Ruiz contributed to this article.

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