Just days after the state began allowing counties to slowly begin reopening, Maryland reported the highest number of new coronavirus cases Tuesday since the outbreak began in mid-March.
Citing an influx of backlogged lab results, Maryland officials announced 1,784 new cases and 60 more deaths from the coronavirus, as the state surpassed 40,000 total infections while reaching the cusp of 2,000 confirmed fatalities.
Tuesday’s new case count surpassed the previous one-day high on May 1, when the state reported 1,730 new infections. Beyond those two spikes, the state hasn’t reported more than 1,211 additional cases in a single day.
A Maryland Department of Health spokesman attributed the spike in cases "in part to an influx of backlogged lab results” submitted to the department. The spike also occurred as Gov. Larry Hogan announced a big expansion in the availability of testing in the state.
Maryland reported 5,368 new negative test results Tuesday. That’s the third-highest total of the past four days — though more than 800 fewer positive results than Monday’s count were reported. Including negative results, 7,152 completed tests were reported Tuesday, the fifth most the state has announced in one day.
Officially, the state has now reported 41,546 cases and 1,963 victims of the COVID-19 illness caused by the virus. Maryland officials say there are another 118 deaths they believe have been caused by the virus, but not yet confirmed by laboratory tests.
Meanwhile, hospitalizations, the metric which Hogan’s office is tracking most closely as it considers the next steps in the state’s reopening process, continued to decline. They dropped for the third straight day and 11th time in the past 13 days.
Maryland reported 1,421 patients currently hospitalized because of the virus, the state’s fewest since April 25, with 537 of those cases requiring intensive care, also down since Monday.
Baltimore City eclipsed 4,000 confirmed cases Tuesday but remains fourth in total infections in the state, behind Prince George’s (12,240), Montgomery (8,950) and Baltimore (4,920) counties.
Nine of the top 10 ZIP codes by total cases are in Prince George’s or Montgomery counties, with the Baltimore area’s 21224 ZIP code, which includes Canton and Highlandtown, ranking eighth.
Those over the age of 60 account for about 28% of the state’s confirmed cases but more than 88% of Maryland’s victims, among those whose age was known. Nearly 30% of known cases in those at least 80 years have ended in death.
Among those whose race is known, 38% of the infected and 43% of the victims have been black, a group that represents about 30% of Maryland’s overall population. Maryland’s Hispanic population makes up about 10% of the state’s total population but accounts for about 29% of the state’s confirmed cases.