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      Rate of coronavirus hospitalizations, intensive cases flat in Maryland, deaths increase 3%

      The rate of coronavirus hospitalizations in Maryland and the rate of intensive care admissions — the two statistics state officials are tracking most closely as they consider when to begin reopening the state — were both roughly flat again Monday.

      But the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage Maryland, and the number of deaths increased by 34 from the day before, to a total of 1,216 across the state, according to the health department. State officials believe another 101 deaths were probably caused by the coronavirus, but those cases were not confirmed by testing.

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      Expanded testing in Maryland is resulting in increases in the number of confirmed cases and the number of negative test results. The state reported 946 new confirmed cases Monday, bringing Maryland’s total to 26,408, while the number of negative tests increased by 3,255, officials said.

      The state plans to open a new drive-thru testing location at the Hagerstown vehicle-emissions testing station, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Monday.

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      The number of those currently hospitalized increased by 14 people to 1,649, and the number of intensive care cases dropped by two patients from the day before, according to the state.

      The number of patients in acute care dropped nearly 3% to 1,086, officials said. A total of 1,695 patients have been released from isolation.

      African Americans accounted for more than a third of the state’s cases, followed by Caucasians at 22%, Hispanics (18%), Asians (2%), unknown (19%) and other (4%), according to state data.

      The five ZIP codes with the highest numbers of cases — 20783, 20906, 20706, 20902 and 20904 — are in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties. Two ZIP codes in the Baltimore area — 21215 and 21228 — were in the top 10 in the state, with 404 and 331 cases, respectively, officials said.

      People older than 65 and those with preexisting conditions and compromised immune systems are considered the most high-risk for dying from COVID-19, according to medical experts.

      While patients ages 20 to 59 accounted for nearly 65% of cases, two-thirds of the Marylanders confirmed to have died from the pandemic were older than 70, according to state data.

      Nursing home residents represented nearly half of the state’s total cases, and nursing home staff accounted for an additional 6%, according to the state.

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