Maryland became the 10th state in the country to reach 50,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus Friday.
Maryland officials reported 1,279 new cases of the virus Friday morning, bringing the state’s total to 50,988 infections. About 4.6% of those cases have ended in death, with 41 new victims reported, putting the state’s death toll at 2,348. That count does not include 118 new deaths where the virus is considered a probable cause but those infections have not yet confirmed by laboratory tests.
Although deaths are not necessarily reported on the day they happen, Maryland officials have reported fewer than 50 deaths in nine of the past 10 days.
State officials reported 11,719 new test results Friday, the second-most behind Thursday’s 16,354. More than 328,500 total tests have been completed in Maryland among about 284,500 people. Nearly 18% of those people have at some point tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, with 7% of those infected having since been released from isolation.
Maryland’s test results rank among the highest positivity rates in the nation, according to Johns Hopkins University. The state is reporting a seven-day rolling positivity rate of 12%.
Current hospitalizations, the metric Gov. Larry Hogan’s office is considering most strongly in its determinations of reopening the state further, shrank to 1,296, while cases requiring intensive care dropped to 507. The number of ICU cases has declined more than 15% since peaking at 598 on May 15.
In an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show, Hogan said he’s confident that the further reopening steps the state is taking Friday — allowing select outdoor activities like outside dining and limited youth sports — are “based on the science and based on the facts.”
“We have great numbers that are coming down,” Hogan told host Craig Melvin, noting that the rate of positive cases has dropped as testing has expanded in the state. He said the rate of hospitalizations and use of intensive care units for coronavirus patients are going down.
“Everyone felt we were in a position to slowly, gradually and safely reopen some of the low-risk things,” Hogan said.
Those 70 and older account for less than 15% of Maryland’s infections but nearly 72% of the state’s deaths from the virus. More than half of the state’s cases, 53%, are people ages 30 to 59.
Race data is not available for more than 20% of the state’s case. Among those whose race was known, 36% of Maryland’s infected residents and 42% of its victims are black, a group that represents 30% of the state’s overall population. About 10% of Maryland’s population is Hispanic, but the group’s presence in the state’s infection total is more than three times that, at 31%.
Nearly half of the state’s fatalities from COVID-19 have been in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, the two jurisdictions with the most total cases in Maryland. Baltimore County and Baltimore rank third and fourth, respectively, in both cases and deaths.
Outside of the 21224 ZIP code that includes Baltimore’s Canton and Highlandtown neighborhoods, all of the state’s top 12 ZIP codes by total cases are in Prince George’s or Montgomery counties.
Other state’s that have passed the 50,000 case mark are: California, Texas, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Florida.
Individual jurisdictions took another step toward reopening Friday as they opened up restaurants for outdoor seating starting at 5 p.m.
In Baltimore, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young also announced that city-operated tennis courts and disk golf courses will reopen Friday, with some restrictions.
The city received a shipment of 50,000 surgical masks from its “sister city” Xiamen, China.
“This shipment will help ensure that Baltimore has adequate supplies of essential PPE for our medical partners and first responders, who continue to be on the front lines of the pandemic," Young said.
Baltimore Sun reporters Pamela Wood and Talia Richman contributed to this article.