All but one of Maryland’s 23 counties now have a coronavirus positivity rate below 5%, a key threshold that suggests enough testing is being done to keep up with the spread of the virus.
The only Maryland county with a positivity rate above 5% is Prince George’s County, which has recorded the highest number of coronavirus cases in the state and the second-highest number of deaths.
That’s according to new data from the Maryland Department of Health, released Monday, which also reported more good news: Total hospitalizations related to the virus are down by 26% since the beginning of August, and the state has seen the lowest number of new deaths in nearly five months. The two new deaths reported Monday is the lowest since March 28.
The state’s overall seven-day average positivity rate has been trending downward for the past several weeks, and stands at 3.27% as of Monday, which is an all-time low since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
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In addition, 19 of the state’s 23 counties now have positivity rates below 3.5%.
In Montgomery County, Maryland’s most populous county, which has seen the highest number of coronavirus deaths, the positivity rate is 2.84%.
Baltimore City, which saw an uptick in cases late last month, also now has a positivity rate below the 5% threshold — at 4%.
Even in Prince George’s County, which still lags above that 5% threshold, the positivity rate has been declining recently, according to the state’s data. The county’s positivity rate of 5.23% is the lowest it has reported since the pandemic began.
Regarding test positivity, the 5% threshold is a key metric cited by the World Health Organization in curbing the spread of the virus. The WHO has recommend the positivity rate should be 5% or lower for at least 14 days before communities begin reopening.
Maryland’s statewide seven-day average positivity rate has been under 5% since June 25, according to the state’s data.
Virginia positivity rate twice as high
In Virginia, the positivity rate is more than twice as high as Maryland’s — 7% as of Aug. 13, the most recent data available from the Virginia Department of Health.
The positivity rate for D.C. is about on par with Maryland — 3.5% as of Aug. 9, the most recent data available.
Though Maryland and D.C.’s positivity rate are now below the 5% marker, experts warn that even positivity rates below that threshold that hold steady — and don’t continue to decline — remain a concern.
Johns Hopkins University, which is also tracking positivity rates across the U.S., says the positivity rate “is a critical measure because it gives us an indication how widespread infection is in the area where the testing is occurring — and whether levels of testing are keeping up with levels of disease transmission.”
Overall, 17 states meet the positivity recommendation, and 35 states do not.
(Johns Hopkins uses a different method to calculate the positivity rate and cites Maryland’s statewide as 4.57%.)
Md., Va. report more than 100,000 coronavirus cases each
Both Maryland and Virginia are now reporting more than 100,000 total coronavirus cases each. They are now among 19 U.S. states with 100,000 or more coronavirus cases.
Maryland reports a total of 100,715 total coronavirus cases. There have been 3,641 coronavirus-related deaths in the state.
Compared to neighboring Maryland, Virginia has reported more total cases — 107,421 — but fewer deaths — 2,385.
D.C. has reported a total of 13,273 coronavirus cases and 597 deaths.
Overall, the total number of coronavirus cases across D.C., Maryland and Virginia now tops more than 220,000.
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