Maryland reports record-low COVID positivity rate Friday, third straight day below 1%

Maryland reports record-low COVID positivity rate Friday, third straight day below 1%
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Maryland reported its lowest-yet seven-day COVID-19 testing positivity rate Friday as it remained below 1% for the third straight day.

Hospitalizations continued to drop, too, after the state reached the milestone of fully vaccinating half of all residents earlier this week.

Here’s where the Maryland Department of Health’s coronavirus indicators stood Friday:

Cases

Another 113 new COVID-19 cases reported Friday brought the state’s pandemic total to 461,097.

The state reported fewer than 100 new cases twice in the past week, and the statewide case rate has fallen below 2 per 100,000 people.

Maryland was reporting 1,000 or more new cases daily as recently as April, and more than 3,000 per day at the peak of the pandemic in December and January.

Deaths

Nine more people were reported dead Friday from COVID-19, bringing Maryland’s total loss of life to 9,459 to the pandemic since the state began tracking it in March 2020.

The state has reported an average of six deaths from the coronavirus each day over the past two weeks. But Maryland hasn’t reported more than 10 new coronavirus deaths in a day since May 28.

Hospitalizations

The number of people hospitalized in Maryland with COVID-19 fell by 15 to 212 Friday. Of those patients, 60 required intensive care, three fewer than Thursday.

Hospitalizations have fallen off dramatically since late April, and are at their lowest level since late March 2020, just after the pandemic began.

Testing positivity

The state reported a record-low seven-day positivity rate of 0.91% Friday after matching Wednesday’s then-record rate of 0.95% Thursday. Before last month, the record low had been about 2.5%, recorded last September.

It could indicate that, even with half the population fully vaccinated, enough surveillance testing is occurring. If the state were only testing sick people, or the infection rate was greater, the positivity rate would be far higher. The state reported 18,988 COVID-19 tests conducted in the past 24 hours.

At one point in January the positivity rate, which measures the share of coronavirus tests returned positive in the past week, climbed near 9.5%.

Vaccinations

Another 44,128 new doses of the vaccines were administered. That includes 13,113 first doses of the two-dose Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna regimes, 29,903 second doses and 1,112 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Daily vaccination totals have leveled off since mid-April, as more people become inoculated, and the state is making plans to shutter its mass vaccination sites in favor of smaller venues and clinics aimed at reaching the vulnerable or the undecided.

Vaccinations by age

Nearly 85.7% of Marylanders ages 65 and older, who are most at risk for severe cases of COVID-19, have received at least one dose of the vaccine, along with 74.4% of those ages 50-64 and 60.2% of those ages 18-49.

About 42.9% of minors between the ages of 12 and 17 have gotten at least one dose of the Pfizer vaccine, the only one authorized for that age group.

Vaccinations by race

Roughly 2.45 times more white people are fully vaccinated than Black people in the state, according to available racial data from the state health department.

There are about 1.88 times as many white residents in Maryland as Black residents, as the demographics represent about 58.5% and 31% of the state’s population, respectively, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Latinos represented about 7.7% of fully vaccinated people whose ethnicity was known identified, according to the state. The demographic represents about 10.6% of Maryland’s population, and while the vaccination rate is disproportionately low, it has risen from about 5.8% of people about a month ago.

Vaccinations by county

Carroll County on Friday became the latest jurisdiction with more than half of its population fully vaccinated (50.2%), joining Howard (60.7%), Montgomery (57.1%), Talbot (54.4%) and Frederick (52%) counties as the first five to reach that milestone.

Seven other counties are not far behind: Worcester (49.9% fully vaccinated), Baltimore (49.3%), Anne Arundel (48.6%), Harford (48.2%), Kent (48%), Queen Anne’s (47.9%) and Calvert (46.9%). In Baltimore City, the percent of the population fully vaccinated reached 40% Friday.

By contrast, fewer than a third of residents (32.2%) in Somerset County are fully vaccinated. The high-poverty, majority Black jurisdiction on the Eastern Shore has persistently reported the lowest rate in the state. It trailed Cecil (34.9%), Garrett (35.8%) and Allegany (36.6%) on Friday.

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