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Communities of color are dying at higher rates from the novel coronavirus than white Americans. Here's how structural inequities play a role. USA TODAY

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SALISBURY, Md. — Flu season is fast approaching, adding an extra hurdle to the race to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

People are being encouraged to prepare for the colder months with a flu shot, which may be more important than ever before as key COVID-19 metrics continue to fluctuate. 

Here's the latest from Maryland, Delaware and Virginia based on data released Monday, Oct. 12:

Maryland

Maryland is up to 131,861 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

That’s another 4,070 cases identified since Monday, Oct. 5, which includes 201 more cases for the Lower Eastern Shore.

Here’s where the number of cases in each of those three Shore counties stand with deaths in parentheses:

  • Wicomico County - 2,230 (49)
  • Worcester County - 1,130 (30)
  • Somerset County - 343 (4)

Over the last week, Wicomico added 130 infections, Worcester added 39 and Somerset added 32. 

Somerset held the highest positivity rate in the state for at least one day during this period at 4.84%, and that metric is the third highest in the state at 3.66% as of Monday morning. The highest rates are Prince George’s County at 3.81% and Caroline County at 3.73%.

Contributing to these numbers may be the two outbreaks confirmed at Somerset’s care facilities. The Alice B. Tawes Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Crisfield has four cases among staff and 14 among residents, and the Manokin Center for Rehab & Healthcare has reported 13 cases among staff and 28 among residents, according to the Maryland Department of Health.

Wicomico County’s positivity sits at 3.35%, and Worcester County is one of 15 Maryland jurisdictions with a rate below 3%.

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At least two Worcester County restaurants reopened in the last week after closing temporarily because an employee at each establishment tested positive for the novel virus. 

Crabs to Go in Berlin and 45th Street Taphouse Bar & Grille in Ocean City say negative test results for the rest of the staff have given them the all clear to begin serving customers again.

Maryland’s hospitalizations saw a spike in the last week, rising above 400 on Oct. 8 for the first time since August. They’ve been falling again over the last few days though and are down as of Monday’s data to 384.

Virginia

The COVID-19 case count in Virginia has climbed by 6,993 infections in the last seven days.

The Eastern Shore Health District gained seven cases for this period -- five in Accomack County and two in Northampton County. 

The region did not report any new virus-related fatalities, but Accomack added one new hospitalization Oct. 6. The death toll for the Shore has not increased since mid-September.

More: COVID-19: Virginia Eastern Shore elementary school student tests positive

Among the Shore’s new cases was a student at Occohannock Elementary School in Exmore. Officials emphasized that the school was remaining open, but students and staff have been in quarantine if they had close contact to the student who contracted the virus.

Northampton County schools reopened Aug. 31, allowing families to choose whether students would participate solely in virtual learning or return to campus two days a week for in-person instruction.

Virginia’s overall hospitalizations are at 965, which is 40 patients higher than where they stood a week earlier.

This number has primarily been trending downward since early August, though it has recently seen a bump. It briefly rose above 1,000, but has since come back down.

Delaware

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Delaware are still trending upward.

Monday’s data has them at 105 compared to 81 a week ago. This is down slightly from the total of 108 reported 24 hours earlier, but has generally been on the rise over the last two weeks.

The state’s case count increased by 926 in the last week, putting the total at 22,289. 

Sussex County represents 32.6% of those cases. The county’s 7,267 infections, include 243 reported since Monday, Oct. 5.

There is one Sussex County long-term care facility among the three in Delaware that are dealing with significant ongoing outbreaks as of an Oct. 9 update from the Division of Public Health.

More: Beach towns lost millions in parking revenue due to COVID-19 pandemic

State data shows the Country Rest Home in Greenwood has 28 residents and 15 staff members who have tested positive.

Delaware has also added 11 virus-related fatalities in the past seven days, bringing its death toll to 656. 

One of those additional deaths came out of Sussex County, which has had 211 residents die after contracting COVID-19.

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