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Maryland sees 1,111 new cases of coronavirus, hospitalizations stay flat

Maryland officials reported 1,111 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus Friday, a slightly lower than the previous day, and pushing the total count to 30,485.

The state also reported 52 new deaths from COVID-19, bringing Maryland’s COVID-19 death toll to 1,453. There have been an additional 107 fatalities believed to be caused by the virus, but not confirmed by a laboratory test.

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A fourth inmate in the Maryland correctional system died of the coronavirus Friday, officials said. The inmate at the Dorsey Run Correctional Facility in Jessup, who was in his 50s, is the second in the prison system to die this week.

The state reported 1,674 hospitalizations — nine fewer than the day before — with 571 patients requiring intensive care. The number of ICU patients was down by 13 since Thursday.

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Implementation of Gov. Larry Hogan’s three-phase reopening plan depends on a decline in or at least flattening of the number of cases that require hospitalization and intensive care. In a Thursday interview with the website Barstool Sports, Hogan said he expected that the state would soon see the other side of its COVID-19 trajectory as new cases, fatalities and those who are hospitalized begin to decline.

“We’re about to get over the top of that curve,” he said. “But we can’t think it’s gone and get back to life at it was — it’s still contagious and still kills people.”

The Republican governor likened the daily onslaught of new cases, fatalities and unemployment claims to a hurricane “that comes back every single day and keeps increasing with intensity.”

“This is much worse than any crisis we’ve had to deal with before,” he said. “We’ve gotten good marks on what we’ve been able to do, but nobody’s been able to stop this thing.”

Hogan said as the state reaches a more manageable case count, officials will shift their focus to reopening parts of the state’s economy, starting with businesses and jobs that require “low touch,” or minimal, direct contact between people. Large events such as live sports games, concerts and other gatherings will take longer to allow due to the social distancing guidelines that likely will continue for a span of several months.

“We’ve got to really continue to take those precautions and continue to be safe, or it has the potential to go right back up again,” Hogan said. “These drastic actions have worked, but it’s not over and we’ve got to stay on top of it.”

Among those with confirmed cases whose race is known, more than 10,000 are black residents, more than the other racial and ethnic group. Nearly the same number of white and black patients have died, though, with 598 and 595 respective fatalities related to COVID-19.

Prince George’s County continues to lead all other Maryland jurisdictions in cases, with more than 1,050 cases in the 20783 ZIP code alone. It leads Montgomery County, which has the second highest tally in the state, followed by Baltimore County and Baltimore City.

Baltimore’s 21215 ZIP code continues to lead all others in the region. It encompasses several parts of the city starting around Mondawmin Mall and extending northwest along Resiterstown Road to the Fallstaff neighborhood.

Anne Arundel County saw a spike in cases Friday, with nearly 80 new positives in Annapolis and Glen Burnie combined. Ocean City, where the beaches and boardwalk will open to visitors Saturday, added three new cases, pushing the case count there to 13.

Meanwhile, after Hogan committed to universal testing at nursing homes and assisted living facilities — which have become epicenters of COVID-19 cases and deaths here and across the country — Mike Ricci, a spokesman for the governor, said on Twitter that the state had deployed over 3,100 tests for residents and staffers this week, with 850 more swabs planned for the weekend.

There are 16,000 nursing home residents and 36,000 staffers across the state, according to the Health Facilities Association of Maryland, a trade association of more than 200 elderly care providers and related businesses.

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