This is a picture of CDC’s laboratory test kit for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). CDC tests are provided to U.S. state and local public health laboratories, Department of Defense (DOD) laboratories and select international laboratories. Photo courtesy of CDC.

Maryland’s average rate of positive coronavirus tests has remained below 5 percent for 26 consecutive days, but six of the state’s jurisdictions are now above that mark, according to data released by the state today.

The World Health Organization has recommended the rate of positive tests should be 5 percent or lower for 14 days in order for states to begin reopening.

Maryland’s seven-day average rate of positive tests has stayed below 5 percent since reaching 4.92 percent on June 25.

But in Baltimore, Charles, Prince George’s, Talbot and Worcester counties and Baltimore City, the average rate of positive tests has either not yet reached that 5 percent mark or risen since meeting it at some point.

At the beginning of July, Baltimore County’s average rate of positive tests fell below 5 percent and Baltimore City’s rate reached 5 percent exactly, but both jurisdictions have since seen increases, to 5.92 percent and 6.13 percent, respectively.

Charles and Worcester counties’ rates dipped below 5 percent in mid-June, but Charles County rose above that mark by the end of June and Worcester County passed it last Friday. They now sit at 5.68 percent and 7.37 percent, respectively.

Talbot County’s average positivity rate was as low as 0.45 percent in the middle of June but has since risen to 6.44 percent.

Prince George’s County’s average positive test rate has been declining since May but has not reached 5 percent yet, currently sitting at 5.81 percent.

Measuring the rate of positive tests helps health officials measure the spread of the virus. As Johns Hopkins wrote on its tracker for the U.S., a high rate could mean only the sickest patients are seeking medical attention. A low rate indicates there’s sufficient testing.

At least 79,545 Marylanders have tested positive for coronavirus and 684,822 have tested negative as of Tuesday morning, according to the Maryland Department of Health’s COVID-19 Case Map Dashboard.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Maryland has completed a total of 979,158 tests, with 20,550 of those results reported in the last 24 hours.

An average of 4.49 percent of coronavirus tests over the past seven days have come back positive.

Maryland’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases rose by 860, an increase of 1.09 percent.

Of Maryland’s confirmed cases, 11,949 people who tested positive for COVID-19 were hospitalized at some point, including 484 who are currently hospitalized.

Coronavirus-related hospitalizations increased by 21 patients since Monday.

Of the Marylanders who are currently hospitalized, 353 are in acute care and 131 are in intensive care. The number of acute care patients increased by 26, while intensive care patients decreased by five.

A total of 3,272 Marylanders have died from COVID-19, with 20 additional deaths reported since Monday. There are also 130 people whose deaths are suspected to be related to the virus.

As of 10 a.m. Tuesday, there have been 20,867 confirmed cases in Prince George’s County; 16,520 in Montgomery County; 9,994 in Baltimore County; 9,644 in Baltimore City; 6,062 in Anne Arundel County; 3,177 in Howard County; 2,785 in Frederick County; 1,642 in Charles County; 1,452 in Harford County; 1,296 in Carroll County; 1,195 in Wicomico County; 816 in Washington County; 785 in St. Mary’s County; 566 in Cecil County; 495 in Calvert County; 428 in Worcester County; 367 in Caroline County; 335 in Queen Anne’s County; 265 in Talbot County; 246 in Dorchester County; 240 Allegany County; 224 in Kent County; 110 in Somerset County; and 34 in Garrett County, according to the dashboard.

Of the Marylanders who have tested positive for COVID-19, 2,552 have been people age 9 or younger; 4,563 have been people ages 10-19; 12,983 have been people ages 20-29; 14,969 have been people ages 30-39; 13,711 have been people ages 40-49; 12,144 have been people ages 50-59; 8,507 have been people ages 60-69; 5,302 have been people ages 70-79; and 4,814 have been people age 80 or older.

Maryland has identified 41,521 of the confirmed COVID-19 patients as female and 38,024 as male.

Of the state’s confirmed cases, 23,414 have been Black, 20,485 have been Hispanic, 16,799 have been white, 1,529 have been Asian, 3,761 have been another race, and data is not available for the remaining 13,557.

Nationwide, there have been at least 3,831,591 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States, including at least 140,914 deaths and 1,160,087 recoveries. More than 46.4 million people in the U.S. have been tested for COVID-19 as of 10 a.m. Tuesday, according to a real-time dashboard created by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

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Marcus Dieterle

Marcus Dieterle is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. He returned to Baltimore in 2020 after working as the deputy editor of the Cecil Whig newspaper in Elkton, Md. He can be reached at marcus@baltimorefishbowl.com...