Maryland adds 1,500 new COVID infections as Baltimore’s case rate out-paces state; over 1.5 million now fully vaccinated

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Alex Mann, The Baltimore Sun
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The same day health officials reported Maryland eclipsing 1.5 million people fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, the state recorded the fourth consecutive day of more than 1,000 COVID-19 infections.

Meanwhile, hospitalizations and the state’s testing positivity declined slightly.

Here’s a look at where Maryland currently stands amid the pandemic:

Cases

With 1,564 new coronavirus infections, the state’s pandemic case count now stands at 433,359, according to health department data.

Baltimore emerges as hot spot:

Maryland’s case rate has nearly doubled since hitting a trough in early March following a winter surge of the virus, with the number of infections per capita in Baltimore pacing the state since March 24.

The state averaged 22.91 cases per 100,000 people Thursday, up from 12.33 March 6. Meanwhile, average number of cases per 100,000 people in Baltimore was 43.35 Thursday.

That’s well above the county with the next highest case rate, the city’s neighbor, Baltimore County, which recorded 34.93 cases per 100,000 people.

It’s a trend that has public health officials concerned, citing the spread of more contagious variants paired with a relaxing of behavior as a potentially driving the rise.

Overall, Maryland’s seven-day case rate was almost 165 infections per 100,000 people, above the national average of about 145 cases per capita, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Deaths

Health officials reported 16 more people died from COVID-19, bringing to 8,342 the number of fatalities since health officials began to track the disease’s effects in March 2020.

Hospitalizations

The number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus decreased by 12 Friday, with 1,232 patients battling the disease in hospitals statewide, health department data shows. Of those hospitalized, 296 required intensive care — six more than Thursday.

There have been at least 1,000 people hospitalized for 19 days in a row.

Meanwhile, 39,844 have been hospitalized in Maryland throughout the pandemic.

Testing positivity

Maryland’s average testing positivity rate was 5.67% Thursday, down 0.11 percentage points from the day before. The rate, an average of tests returned positive over the last seven days, has remained above 5%, the World Health Organization’s bench mark for reopening, since March 29.

About 46,427 test results were returned over the last 24 hours, while 9.26 million nasal swabs have been tested for COVID-19 in the state throughout the public health crisis.

Vaccines

More than 1.5 million Marylanders have now been fully inoculated against the coronavirus, either by completing a two-dose vaccine regimen or a single-shot immunization, state health officials reported. About 2.2 million have received at least one vaccine dose.

The state reported 81,252 more vaccines Friday, with 40,369 having received their first dose of the products made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. Some 40,345 more completed their two-shot schedule.

Three days after the state suspended Johnson & Johnson immunizations following a federal recommendation to do so, citing cases of rare blood clots in six of almost 7 million people who received the vaccines, Maryland reported 538 of the one-shot vaccines were administered.

In light of a smaller supply, Maryland averaged 68,831 doses administered daily over the last week.

This article will be updated.