State adds 781 cases, 4 deaths

Baltimore Sun - - FRONT PAGE - By An­gela Roberts

Mary­land of­fi­cials re­ported 781 new coron­avirus cases Fri­day and four new deaths as­so­ci­ated with COVID-19, the ill­ness caused by the virus.

With Fri­day’s ad­di­tions, Mary­land has con­firmed 134,329 cases and 3,887 deaths since state of­fi­cials be­gan tracking the spread of the virus in March. Through Thurs­day’s data, Mary­land had the 29th most cases per capita and the 16th most deaths per capita in the U.S., ac­cord­ing to the Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity’s coron­avirus re­source cen­ter.

Mary­land of­fi­cials re­ported a cu­mu­la­tive test­ing vol­ume of just over 3 mil­lion Fri­day, up by more than 27,000 from Thurs­day. Of­fi­cials also re­ported that nearly 11,000 ad­di­tional peo­ple tested neg­a­tive for the virus Fri­day.

The state’s seven-day pos­i­tiv­ity rate in­creased slightly from the pre­vi­ous day to 3.09% head­ing into the week­end.

Johns Hop­kins, mean­while, re­ported the state’s seven-day pos­i­tiv­ity rate to be 5.53%. Rather than de­ter­min­ing pos­i­tiv­ity by us­ing tests con­ducted — as state of­fi­cials do — the univer­sity looks at the peo­ple tested, mean­ing in­di­vid­u­als who are tested mul­ti­ple times, re­gard­less of their re­sults, are counted only once in its data.

This dif­fer­ence is sig­nif­i­cant be­cause the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion says gov­ern­ments should wait un­til their pos­i­tiv­ity rates are be­low 5% for 14 straight days be­fore be­gin­ning to ease back virus-re­lated re­stric­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to state of­fi­cials, Mary­land has been un­der this thresh­old since July, but Johns Hop­kins hasn’t re­ported a rate lower than that bench­mark for weeks.

Mean­while, two Mary­land coun­ties, Prince Ge­orge’s and Som­er­set, have been re­port­ing pos­i­tiv­ity rates higher than 5% since Wed­nes­day. As of Fri­day, Prince Ge­orge’s County was re­port­ing a pos­i­tiv­ity rate of 5.19% and Som­er­set County was re­port­ing a rate of 5.04%. Al­though Som­er­set has moved into Phase 3 of the re­open­ing plan re­leased by Gov. Larry Ho­gan, Prince Ge­orge’s County re­mains in Phase 2.

Bal­ti­more City’s pos­i­tiv­ity was at 2.39% Fri­day.

The num­ber of peo­ple hos­pi­tal­ized from the virus’ ef­fects in­creased Fri­day af­ter a slight dip Thurs­day. Mary­land re­ported 416 pa­tients Fri­day, up by four from the pre­vi­ous day. Ac­cord­ing to state of­fi­cials, 111 pa­tients are cur­rently be­ing treated in in­ten­sive care units, up two from Thurs­day.

Of the four peo­ple whose deaths the state re­ported Fri­day, one was in their 50s, one was in their 60s and two were in their 80s.

Ac­cord­ing to data re­leased by the state, peo­ple above the age of 60 con­tinue to die from the virus at a dis­pro­por­tion­ate rate. As of Fri­day, peo­ple in this age group com­prised 86.5% of those who have been killed by COVID-19, though they make up only roughly 23% of the state’s pop­u­la­tion.

Mary­lan­ders younger than 35 dis­played a higher seven-day pos­i­tiv­ity rate Fri­day than those older than 35: The rate for the younger of the two age groups was 3.37%, while the rate for the older of the two age groups was 2.92%.

Black and His­panic Mary­lan­ders also con­tinue to be af­flicted by the coron­avirus at a rate that is dis­pro­por­tion­ate com­pared to their share of the state’s pop­u­la­tion. As of Fri­day, peo­ple be­long­ing to these two de­mo­graphic groups ac­counted for 61.7% of the COVID-19 cases re­ported by the state, for which race data was avail­able. Ac­cord­ing to the U.S. Cen­sus Bureau, Black and His­panic res­i­dents only com­prised roughly 41.7% of the state’s pop­u­la­tion.

For com­par­i­son, white Mary­lan­ders com­prised 30.6% of the 114,222 coron­avirus cases re­ported by the state, for which race in­for­ma­tion was avail­able. This de­mo­graphic group makes up about 58.5% of the state’s pop­u­la­tion.

The state con­tin­ues to re­port a higher mor­tal­ity rate for white res­i­dents from the virus, com­pared to other de­mo­graphic groups, though. As of Fri­day, at least 4.74% of white res­i­dents who con­tracted the virus died from it, com­pared to 1.57% of His­panic res­i­dents and 3.78% of Black res­i­dents.

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