Jan. 30: Anne Arundel reports 202 new coronavirus cases, six new deaths

Anne Arundel County reported 202 new coronavirus cases and six new deaths Saturday, as state officials reported a new variant of the virus has been detected in the Baltimore region.

Known as the B.1.351 variant, the South African mutation variant may be more contagious but is not believed to cause more serious illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The variant had become prevalent in South Africa and was first discovered in the United States in South Carolina on Thursday.


Cause for concern stemming from the new variant’s detection is two-fold among health experts. For one, the CDC says that there’s evidence that some of the best treatments for COVID-19, monoclonal antibodies, aren’t effective against the South Africa variant. Furthermore, there are questions about whether some of the COVID-19 vaccines close to authorization are effective against the strain.

Statewide, Maryland reported nearly 2,100 new cases of the coronavirus Saturday, along with 31 deaths related to the disease, according to health department data. The 2,097 additional cases brought the state’s case count to 352,726 and fatalities to 6,931.


In Anne Arundel County, the total number of cases rose to 32,737 cases and 456 deaths.

Meanwhile, Maryland officials are investigating the extent to which the South African variant hs spread in the community.

“The case is an adult living in the Baltimore metro area, who has no recent international travel,” Mike Ricci, a spokesman for Gov. Larry Hogan, said in a Tweet. “Comprehensive contact tracing is underway,”

That the individual had not traveled internationally is concerning because it’s likely they contracted it in the community, officials said in a statement released by Hogan’s office.

“State health officials are closely monitoring the B.1.351 variant of (COVID-19) in the state,” Hogan said in the statement. “We strongly encourage Marylanders to practice extra caution to limit the additional risk of transmission.”

Hogan urged residents to practice physical distancing, wear masks and wash their hands regularly.

Over the last two weeks, the number of new cases reported daily by the state have been almost steadily falling. On Jan. 9, the state reported 3,758 infections with another spike a week later, on Jan. 16, when health officials reported 3,292 cases. Since then, the daily numbers have been trending downward.

The county case rate continued its precipitous decline from an all-time high earlier this month, reaching 36.4 cases per 100,000 people on Friday.


The case rate is a metric of infections per 100,000 people, averaged over seven days, to judge how quickly and widely the virus is spreading in the county. At 36.4 infections reported Friday, Anne Arundel County still has a higher case rate than five of the eight most populous Maryland jurisdictions.

While the testing volume has some impact on the case rate, the county generally tests a steady percentage of the population in a given week.

About 7.86% of tests for the virus in Anne Arundel County came back positive.

The state reported 1,616 Maryland residents are hospitalized with COVID-19 Friday, the second-highest daily hospital census since the pandemic began. About 1,249 of those patients require acute care beds, and another 367 are receiving more serious care.

In Anne Arundel County, hospitalizations continued to decline and reached 126 patients overall Friday. Twenty-eight needed intensive care.

Data from the Anne Arundel County Department of Health shows the current seven-day average for ICU hospital beds in use is 85.9%. The seven-day average for acute beds in use is about 86.4%. The data reflects hospital occupancy for Anne Arundel Medical Center and the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center, but it is a moving metric, as the hospitals can add or reduce capacity as needed.


Statewide, about 81% of inpatient beds are full, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Patients with or suspected to have COVID-19 occupy about 20% of those beds.


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The vaccination effort across the state is underway.

Saturday, Anne Arundel County continued vaccinating groups in Phase 1B, which currently includes all residents age 75 and older, residents and employees of group living facilities, workers needed to keep the government functioning, teachers and childcare workers.

Vaccinations for Phase 1A groups, mainly health care workers and first responders, are also continuing.

To sign up for vaccination, visit

More than 35,000 residents have received their first shot, and at least 6,989 residents have received their second shot, according to the county health department.


The South African variant Reported on Saturday is the second variant of the virus detected in Maryland. The first, B.1.1.7, which is known as the U.K. variant, was identified in Anne Arundel County on Jan. 12. Seven people in Maryland have since contracted that strain, which is believed to be widespread in the country.

There is no evidence that the so-called U.K. variant, which is also more contagious than COVID-19, has an impact on vaccine efficacy, according to the CDC.