State’s new virus cases re­main high

Baltimore Sun - - NEWS - By Chris­tine Condon

Mary­land re­ported more than 1,000 new cases of the novel coron­avirus Fri­day for the third time in a week.

The state’s caseload has con­tin­ued to climb over the past sev­eral weeks, with more than 500 new cases re­ported each day since July 13.

Mary­land re­ported1,169 new coron­avirus cases and five new deaths from the virus Fri­day. The num­bers come as new reg­u­la­tions on face mask use are set to take ef­fect. Start­ing at 5 p.m., Mary­lan­ders over the age of 5 are re­quired to wear masks in all pub­lic build­ings, whereas be­fore masks were only re­quired by the state in gro­cery stores, phar­ma­cies and aboard pub­lic tran­sit.

Ho­gan set the new re­quire­ments on Wed­nes­day, and said that the state has paused its reopen­ing ef­forts, but he has thus far re­sisted calls to close down restau­rants, bars and other fa­cil­i­ties once more.

Mean­while, hospitaliz­ations from the virus have also started to tick up. The state re­ported 590 peo­ple were hos­pi­tal­ized as of Fri­day, five more than on Thurs­day. About 22% of those hos­pi­tal­ized are in in­ten­sive care units.

There haven’t been more than 20 deaths re­ported in a sin­gle day, though, since last month.

The state has re­ported a to­tal of 88,346 cases and 3,362 deaths from the virus since it started track­ing COVID-19 in March.

The coron­avirus test­ing pos­i­tiv­ity rate, as re­ported by the state, re­mains be­low 5%, a key World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion met­ric, and was at 4.54% as of Fri­day. The WHO rec­om­mends that there be a pos­i­tiv­ity rate be­low 5% for two weeks be­fore gov­ern­ments re­open. Mary­land started reopen­ing be­fore its pos­i­tiv­ity rate fell be­low 5%, but it’s re­mained there for weeks.

But Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity, which tab­u­lates the rate dif­fer­ently, gave Mary­land a 6.04% pos­i­tiv­ity rate. Hop­kins cal­cu­lates its rate based on the num­ber of in­di­vid­u­als who have been tested, whereas the state uses the num­ber of tests that have been con­ducted.

The state has con­ducted more than 28,000 coron­avirus tests over the past 24 hours, be­hind its record of 34,874 tests con­ducted in one day. The state has con­ducted a to­tal of 1.2 mil­lion tests, about 68% of which have come back neg­a­tive.

The largest num­ber of new cases Fri­day was re­ported in Prince George’s County, with 233. Baltimore County was right be­hind it with 203, fol­lowed by Baltimore City and Mont­gomery County.

The test­ing pos­i­tiv­ity rates in those ju­ris­dic­tions are among the high­est in the state. The rate is above 5% in each of those ju­ris­dic­tions, with the ex­cep­tion of Mont­gomery County, which has a rate of 3.66%.

Prince George’s and Mont­gomery coun­ties, the state’s two most pop­u­lous ju­ris­dic­tions, ac­cord­ing to cen­sus data, still have the most to­tal cases of the virus.

Younger peo­ple are driv­ing the state’s caseload higher. About 21% of Fri­day’s newly an­nounced coron­avirus cases came from peo­ple in their 20s, even though this co­hort rep­re­sents about 13% of Mary­land’s pop­u­la­tion. Roughly 58% of Fri­day’s new cases came from peo­ple younger than 40. This group rep­re­sents about 52% of the state pop­u­la­tion.

Mean­while, the virus con­tin­ues to dis­pro­por­tion­ately af­fect the state’s Black and His­panic res­i­dents. Black peo­ple, who rep­re­sent about 31% of the state pop­u­la­tion, ac­count for nearly 37% of the coron­avirus cases in Mary­land for which race is re­ported. His­panic peo­ple, who rep­re­sent about 10% of Mary­land’s pop­u­la­tion, make up 29% of the coron­avirus cases where race is re­ported.

White peo­ple, who make up about half of Mary­land’s pop­u­la­tion, ac­count for lit­tle more than a quar­ter of the COVID-19 cases. White peo­ple do, how­ever, make up the largest share of deaths from the virus in Mary­land at 42%.

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