Maryland officials reported 1,590 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus on Saturday, the first time in the past four days the number has dipped below 2,000 cases.
State health officials said 33 more people have died of COVID-19, the disease the virus causes. Officials have reported more than 20 deaths for five days straight and more than 30 deaths on three of the past five days. Before this stretch, the state hadn’t reported more than 20 deaths in a day since June.
Maryland had been setting records for daily coronavirus cases and reached new highs three times in November, with the highest daily total at 2,910.
Officials had expected a lull in daily cases in the days after Thanksgiving because of reduced testing capacity. The state reported completing an additional 27,708 tests for COVID-19 as of Saturday, after having conducted 47,320 tests on Friday, the most so far this week.
Reporting of tests and cases was expected to be delayed over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, and most U.S. jurisdictions were not expected to fully staff public health departments during that period, Erin Kissane, co-founder of The Atlantic’s COVID Tracking Project, had said in a blog post.
Health experts have been warning of a fall and winter uptick in COVID-19 cases and worried that numbers could continue to spike after Thanksgiving gatherings.
Saturday’s additions bring Maryland to at least 194,448 infections and 4,447 virus-related deaths during the pandemic, according to data from the state Department of Health.
As of Saturday, 1,446 Maryland residents were hospitalized, including 351 in intensive care. Eleven more people have been hospitalized since Friday.
Maryland has a seven-day positivity rate of 6.3%, a slight increase from Friday, with Allegany County continuing to lead the state with a rate of 14.4%. In the Baltimore area, rates range from 4.9% in both Anne Arundel and Howard counties to 7.5% in Harford County.
Of the 1,590 new cases reported Saturday, more than half were people in their 20s, 30s and 40s. But the virus has been the deadliest to the elderly, with 3,100 deaths so far in people ages 70 and older.
Maryland had a rate of 39 new cases per 1,000 people as of Saturday, a rate that remained steady over the past week, the Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus resource center reported.
Entering Saturday, Maryland ranked 38th among states in cases per 100,000 people and 21st in deaths per 100,000, according to Hopkins.
Hopkins, which calculates positivity differently than the state, has Maryland’s seven-day positivity rate through Friday’s data as 5.4%.
Baltimore Sun reporter Christine Condon contributed to this article.