Maryland reports 700 new coronavirus cases as active hospitalizations have risen for 11 consecutive days

Maryland reported more than 700 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Thursday for the first time since May.

The number of patients currently hospitalized has roughly tripled in the past month to 337, the most Marylanders hospitalized with COVID since June 3.


Experts say unvaccinated people are continuing to spread the virus and make up the bulk of cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Nearly 60% of Maryland residents are fully vaccinated with either both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the one-shot dose from Johnson & Johnson.

Beginning 9 a.m. Monday, Baltimore residents and visitors will again be required to wear masks while indoors, following the lead of Los Angeles County and other jurisdictions around the country, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott announced Thursday afternoon.


The mayor continued to urge Baltimoreans to get vaccinated, encouraging them to “do the right thing” and “stop being selfish.”

The delta variant “is absolutely more deadly to those who are unvaccinated and more transmissible,” Scott said.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, announced he would require state employees in “congregate settings” such as prisons, state hospitals, juvenile services facilities and veterans facilities to be vaccinated or wear masks and submit to regular testing, beginning Sept. 1, he said.

“These actions are being taken to further protect our most vulnerable systems,” Hogan said. “The state will lead by example with our own employees.”

But Hogan said Maryland “is not imposing any new [statewide] restrictions or [mask] mandates at this time,” although he noted that businesses and local leaders can impose their own rules on masks. He continued to urge those who have not yet gotten the shots to do so.

“Nearly every single person hospitalized or dying from COVID-19 in Maryland right now is unvaccinated,” the governor said.


The 729 new COVID-19 cases reported by the state Thursday — nearly twice as many as two days earlier — was the largest single-day total reported since May 7. The state has reported a total of 471,334 cases during the pandemic.


The state reported a dozen more patients hospitalized with the virus than the day before. Of those in hospital beds, 87 required intensive care and 250 were in acute care, the state reported.



Maryland reported an additional two deaths from the virus, bringing the pandemic’s total death toll in the state to 9,622. That’s likely an undercount, given that the state has reported more than 200 probable deaths thought to be caused by the virus but lacking a confirmed positive test.

The state hasn’t reported more than 10 deaths in a day since May 28.

Testing positivity rate

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The seven-day positivity rate, which measures the percentage of COVID-19 tests returned positive over the past week, has been increasing steadily since dropping below 1% in June and July, according to state data. The statewide rate reached 3.64% Thursday, the state’s highest since May 5.

Testing has increased, too, reflecting the ongoing spread of the virus. Maryland reported 22,265 COVID-19 tests administered Wednesday, the most the state has reported since June 5.


The rate of vaccinations has slowed in Maryland, where 60.4% of residents have received a first dose, 54.8% have gotten a second dose, and 4.6% have gotten the single-dose vaccine, as of Thursday.

The state reported 9,850 first-dose shots, 5,689 second-dose shots and 1,050 single-dose shots administered in the past 24 hours.


Nearly 90% of Marylanders ages 65 and older, the age group most at risk for serious or fatal cases, has received at least one dose of vaccine, the state reports.

But racial and geographic disparities remain. More than twice as many white people as Black people in the state are fully vaccinated. Just 37.6% of people in small, rural Somerset County are fully vaccinated, compared with 68.3% in wealthier, more populated Howard County, which leads the state.

Baltimore Sun reporters Hallie Miller and Pamela Wood contributed to this article.