Maryland officials confirmed 1,019 new coronavirus cases Saturday, completing the month of July with nearly as many new cases as the state saw in April.
The state reported 12 new deaths from the virus Saturday, up from five reported Friday. The update came a day after Marylanders 5 years and older were mandated to wear masks in all public buildings, whereas previously masks were only required by the state in grocery stores, pharmacies and aboard public transit.
Just over half of Saturday’s new cases were in residents at least 10 years old but younger than 40. Counting Saturday, the number of new cases has crossed 1,000 four times in the past eight days. Before that, the state had not crossed that threshold since May 30.
Between July 1 and Saturday, the state reported 21,447 new cases of the virus, an increase of 47% on the number of new cases confirmed in June. July’s count of new cases is only 40 fewer than the number in April, the pandemic’s first full month in the U.S., but 28% fewer than the count in May. The state’s 14-day average of new cases is 869, more than double the 14-day average of 354 on July 1. On June 1, the figure was 969, and it was 850 on May 1.
Maryland has confirmed 89,365 cases and 3,374 deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, since it started collecting data in March.
In reporting its second-most test results for a single day Saturday, the state has performed nearly 1.25 million tests on more than 929,000 residents, with fewer than 10% of those people receiving a positive result. More than 583,000 of those test results were reported in July, the state’s highest for a single month and more than May and June combined.
Current hospitalizations for the disease have recently been trending upward, as well. The state reported 592 Marylanders are hospitalized, two more than on Friday, with 132 in intensive care.
Maryland’s seven-day average testing positivity rate is now 4.47%, down from 4.54% as of Friday. The World Health Organization advises governments to maintain a rate below 5% for at least 14 days before making efforts to reopen; Maryland’s seven-day average has been below that figure since June 25, but the state began its reopening process before reaching 14 consecutive days. Republican Gov. Larry Hogan said this week that the state had paused its reopening efforts, but he has resisted calls to again close restaurants, bars and other facilities.
Johns Hopkins University, which tabulates the rate differently than the state, gave Maryland a rate of 6.16% through Friday’s data, up from 6.04% a day ago. Hopkins calculates its rate based on the number of individuals who have been tested, whereas the state uses the number of tests that have been conducted. Maryland is one of 32 states with a seven-day rolling rate above 5%, according to Hopkins, but has the third-lowest rate among those states.
To enter a third phase of reopening, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s official recommendation is for states to wait until they have 14 days of positivity rates under 10% with an average of two days or less for the return of test results.
The state reported about 31,000 test results Saturday, its second-highest single-day total. Of those tests, 3.44% came back positive, Maryland’s third-lowest single-day positivity rate. All the days in which the state has reported a single-day rate beneath 4% have come since the start of July.
Maryland has also met its goal of testing 10% of the population in all 24 jurisdictions, Hogan announced. Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, the state’s largest jurisdictions by population, according to census data, still have the most total cases of the virus, followed by Baltimore County and Baltimore City, with those four combining to account for 71% of Maryland’s caseload.
“Our aggressive statewide testing strategy is helping us to understand, identify, and stop the spread of this virus, and I want to commend all of our local jurisdictions for stepping up to meet our goal of testing 10% of their populations,” Hogan said in a statement. “The state of Maryland continues to make unlimited quantities of tests available to any jurisdiction that needs them.”
Among the COVID-19 cases for which race is known, white people, who represent 58.5% of the state population, account for 26.3% of the cases in Maryland and make up the largest share of deaths from the virus at 42.4%. Black people, who represent about 31% of the state population, account for 36.8% of the coronavirus cases and 41.1% of the deaths in Maryland for which race is reported. Hispanic people, who represent about 10% of Maryland’s population, make up 29.1% of the cases and 11.6% of the deaths.