Baltimore Sun

630 new cases re­ported, 6 deaths; hos­pi­tal­iza­tions down slightly

- By An­gela Roberts Health · U.S. News · Coronavirus (COVID-19) · Infectious Diseases · Health Conditions · Maryland · Johns Hopkins University · World Health Organization · Montgomery County · Baltimore · Baltimore · United States of America · Census Bureau

Mary­land of­fi­cials re­ported 630 new cases of the coro­n­avirus Thurs­day, along with six new fa­tal­i­ties as­so­ci­ated with COVID-19, the ill­ness caused by the virus.

Mean­while, the num­ber of infections re­quir­ing in­ten­sive hospi­tal care dropped for the first time since Sun­day.

Thurs­day’s ad­di­tions bring the state to 133,548 to­tal con­firmed cases and 3,883 deaths since March, when of­fi­cials first started track­ing the spread of the virus in Mary­land. Through Wed­nes­day’s num­bers, Mary­land had the 29th most cases per capita and the 16th most deaths per capita among states, ac­cord­ing to the John Hopkins Univer­sity’s coro­n­avirus re­source cen­ter.

As of Thurs­day, the state hasn’t re­ported more than 10 fa­tal­i­ties as­so­ci­ated with the virus for more than three weeks. From mid-April to the first few days of June, Mary­land was reg­u­larly re­port­ing daily death counts above 30. The state’s sin­gle­day peak came April 29 at 68 con­firmed deaths.

But new cases seem to be grow­ing again. Over the first two weeks of Oc­to­ber, Mary­land re­ported an aver­age of al­most100 more new cases per day than it did in the fi­nal two weeks of Septem­ber.

Af­ter rising for sev­eral days, the num­ber of peo­ple hos­pi­tal­ized in the state from the virus’s ef­fects dropped by five to 412 Thurs­day.

The num­ber of COVID-19 pa­tients re­quir­ing in­ten­sive hospi­tal care also de­clined by four from Wed­nes­day to 109.

Mary­land health of­fi­cials re­ported the state’s seven-day pos­i­tiv­ity rate to be 3.08% Thurs­day, a slight de­crease from Wed­nes­day.

Johns Hopkins, how­ever, cal­cu­lated Mary­land’s seven-day test­ing pos­i­tiv­ity rate at 5.54% as of Wed­nes­day, up a tenth of a per­cent­age point and break­ing a four-day streak in which the rate it re­ported for the state de­clined.

Mary­land de­ter­mines this rate in a dif­fer­ent way than Hopkins. While the univer­sity uses the per­cent­age of peo­ple who test pos­i­tive for the virus in a week­long span — mean­ing in­di­vid­u­als who are tested mul­ti­ple times, re­gard­less of re­sults, are only counted once in its mea­sure — the state looks at the per­cent­age of tests con­ducted that re­turn a pos­i­tive re­sult.

This dif­fer­ence is im­por­tant be­cause the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion rec­om­mends that govern­ments wait un­til they see 14 straight days in which fewer than 5% of “sam­ples” come back pos­i­tive for the coro­n­avirus be­fore eas­ing virus-re­lated re­stric­tions.

On Thurs­day, 9,551 Mary­lan­ders tested neg­a­tive for the virus. Mary­land is cur­rently re­port­ing a to­tal test­ing vol­ume of roughly 2.98 mil­lion.

Montgomery County, the state’s most pop­u­lous ju­ris­dic­tion, has con­ducted more tests than any other ju­ris­dic­tion in the state — over 55,000 more than Prince Ge­orge’s County, the sec­ond most pop­u­lous ju­ris­dic­tion. As of Thurs­day, Bal­ti­more City had con­ducted 217,477 tests.

Of the six in­di­vid­u­als whose deaths the state re­ported Thurs­day, one was in their 30s, one was in their 60s and four were 80 years of age or older.

Mary­lan­ders who are 60 years of age or older con­tinue to be killed by the virus at a dis­pro­por­tion­ate rate. Peo­ple in this age group make up about 23% of the state’s pop­u­la­tion, ac­cord­ing to the U.S. Cen­sus Bureau, but as of Thurs­day, they com­prised roughly 86.6% of those whose deaths the state has recorded from the virus. Age data was not avail­able for two in­di­vid­u­als who have died from COVID-19.

The virus also has dis­pro­por­tion­ately af­flicted the state’s Black and Latino pop­u­la­tions, com­pared to the state’s white residents. Of the 113,579 con­firmed cases of COVID-19 for which race data is avail­able, 61.8% — or 70,185 cases — were found in Black or His­panic residents. Ac­cord­ing to the U.S Cen­sus Bureau, these two de­mo­graphic groups com­prise about 41.7% of the state’s pop­u­la­tion.

For com­par­i­son, about 30.5% of cases were found in white Mary­lan­ders. Ac­cord­ing to the U.S. Cen­sus Bureau, whites make up about 58.5% of the state’s pop­u­la­tion.

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