Maryland reports 2,516 new coronavirus cases, 37 COVID-19 deaths

Alex Mann, The Baltimore Sun

BALTIMORE — Maryland’s seven-day average of cases per 100,000 residents climbed to 53.39 Tuesday, continuing a three-day streak of record highs during the pandemic, according to state health department data released Wednesday.

Maryland, however, is well below the national average of 75.2 cases per 100,000 residents, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The state’s elevated case rate appears to be buoyed by more two rural counties in Western Maryland and the Eastern Shore, which continue to check in far above the statewide — and national — averages, and a pair of populous counties within the Washington-Baltimore corridor.

Washington County maintained Tuesday its streak of topping the state with its seven-day average of cases per 100,000 residents, at 92.02, which was a decrease compared days earlier and from its peak of 103.09. A jurisdiction of about 151,000 residents, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, has kept the highest rate in the state since Dec. 23.

The case rate in Dorchester County, which has about 32,000 residents, spiked Tuesday to 90.38 cases per 100,000 residents, the highest it’s been since officials began tracking the data.

The more populous and centrally located Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties, which have about 909,000 and 579,000 residents, respectively, also marked their highest ever case rates per 100,000 residents. The rates checked in at about 58 and 64.99. Baltimore City and Baltimore County stayed below the statewide average.

Meanwhile, Washington County’s neighbor to the east, Frederick County, also recorded its highest ever case rate per 100,000 residents: 72.16. The county of about 260,000 residents also had among the steepest day-over-day hikes in cases in Maryland. With 175 more cases Wednesday, Frederick now has 13,676.

Overall, Maryland reported 2,516 new cases of the coronavirus Wednesday, along with 37 deaths.

The latest additions bring the state’s case count to 314,867, and total fatalities to 6,233, according to health department data.

Following a trend that has held true throughout the pandemic, health department data shows 30 of the 37 of the people who died in the past 24 hours were 70 or older. Meanwhile, people in that age bracket accounted for less than 10% of the new cases. The most new cases were reported among people from 20 to 29 years old.

At the same time, hospitalizations continued to fluctuate day over day.

Twenty-three fewer people were hospitalized with the virus Wednesday as compared to Tuesday, for a total of 1,929 COVID-19 patients. Furthermore, 454 of those patients required intensive care, two less than a day earlier.

Almost 29,000 Marylanders have been hospitalized with the coronavirus since March, when officials began tracking the pandemic..

The state reported completing 34,334 COVID-19 tests over the last 24 hours, up from a day earlier. Maryland has completed 6,254,353 tests since March.

Reports of a slight acceleration in the state’s testing volume comes about 24 hours after Maryland detected for the first time two cases of a more contagious variant of the virus first discovered in the United Kingdom. The revelation forced an Anne Arundel County couple into quarantine while health officials conducted contact tracing.

Meanwhile, the state’s testing positivity rate decreased Wednesday, checking in at 8.53%. That’s 0.24 percentage points lower than Tuesday.

Less than a day after Gov. Larry Hogan foreshadowed forthcoming developments on Maryland’s coronavirus vaccine rollout, the state reported administering 15,827 more doses of the vaccine — 12,778 more people received their first shot, while 3,049 received their second in the last 24 hours.

Some 164,907 people — about 2.7% of Maryland’s population — have received their first shot of the vaccine, while 12,704 — about 0.2% of residents — have also received their second dose.

The less populous areas in Maryland continue to lead the vaccination campaign in terms of the percentage of their residents who have received shots. The Baltimore metropolitan area has administered the majority of shots.

CDC data shows Maryland has still administered relatively few doses of the virus when controlling for population. It has given approximately 2,400 shots per 100,000 residents, which ranks near the bottom of the list of states.

Still, Hogan raised concerns Tuesday about opening up the vaccinations to a greater population. The Republican governor said that the state as administering more doses of the vaccine daily than it was receiving from the federal government.

“I don’t want to have vaccines laying around. I also don’t want to run out and not get to second doses,” Hogan said.

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(Baltimore Sun reporters Bryn Stole and Pamela Wood contributed to this article.)