Maryland surpasses 800,000 total confirmed COVID cases since start of pandemic

Maryland surpassed 800,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases throughout 22 months of the coronavirus pandemic Friday, while the virus’ death toll in the state continued to mount, according to the health department.

The state reported 11,778 new infections Friday, along with 59 fatalities. Since the pandemic reached Maryland in March 2020, 11,868 people have died of COVID-19, health department data shows.


Maryland’s daily metrics weren’t all bad — the average testing positivity decreased from Thursday’s record high — but they continued to reflect the impacts of the highly contagious omicron variant.

A health official tests an individual at Howard County’s seventh mobile COVID-19 testing at the Elkridge Volunteer Fire Department, 5700 Rowanberry Drive. The site will offer tests 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays.

Since it was identified around Thanksgiving, omicron has contributed to an influx of pediatric hospitalizations nationwide, and there were 60 pediatric patients with COVID-19 in hospitals Friday, 15 more than the day before, according to the health department.


All told, the data shows 3,208 Maryland hospital beds were filled by coronavirus patients, 36 more than the day before.

Patients in Maryland hospitals for COVID-19

Any increase is cause for concern because several hospitals in the state have adopted crisis standards of care as patients — mostly with the coronavirus but also influenza — exceed capacities and staffs are hamstrung a pandemic-related exodus of medical professionals as well as those quarantining.

Of those hospitalized, 520 required intensive care, according to the health department. That’s seven more ICU patients than Thursday, though there were not more pediatric patients requiring intensive care.

The statewide surge of hospitalizations has heightened the urgency for residents to complete their COVID-19 vaccinations and booster shots, as a large majority of coronavirus patients are unvaccinated, Maryland health officials have said. A full vaccine course and a booster shot provide the best protection against serious illness, hospitalization and death.

The state is approaching 71% of its population having completed Pfizer/BioNTech’s or Moderna’s two-dose vaccines or received the single-shot inoculation made by Johnson & Johnson, according to the health department. Approximately 28% of the state’s population has received a booster shot.

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Vaccinations aside, Gov. Larry Hogan also acknowledged the need Thursday to meet an overwhelming demand for COVID-19 tests. The Republican said the state is launching 10 testing sites on hospital campuses across the state, which is expected to ameliorate some of the burden on overflowing emergency departments.

Those new sites, which are to operate seven days a week, will be up and running by the end of next week, Hogan said.

In the meantime, just shy of 59,000 test results were returned over the last 24 hours, according to the health department.


Those results corresponded with a decrease of 1.68 percentage points in the state’s seven-day average testing positivity rate, health department data shows. The rate, which measures the rate of swabs returned positive over the last week was 28.3%, down from 29.98% the day before.

Despite the decline, the rate remains higher than it was during the first month of the pandemic in Maryland, when tests were extraordinarily scarce.

St. Mary’s, Charles and Prince George’s counties have the state’s highest daily testing positivity rates.

Montgomery County, Maryland’s most populous jurisdiction, has the highest case rate per capita, with an average of 260 cases per 100,000 residents over the last week. Baltimore City has the second highest, with 227.7 cases per 100,000 residents over the last seven days. Prince George’s County, the state’s second most populated, has the third with an average of 227.6 cases per 100,000 over the past week.