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Maryland reports 1,714 new coronavirus cases — third highest daily total — as hospitalizations top 800

As hospitalizations surge and the testing positivity rate continues to rise, Maryland reported 1,714 new coronavirus cases Wednesday — the third-highest single day total of the pandemic.

The state has now seen eight consecutive days with at least 1,000 virus cases, extending a pandemic record for the third straight day. The state also reported 16 new deaths, its highest daily total since late July.

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Maryland’s two-week average of new daily cases grew again to 1,143 cases as of Wednesday, setting a new pandemic high for the third day in a row.

Hospitalizations, which have surged in recent weeks, were up 44 from Tuesday and 150 since Sunday to 805 patients. While spiking, hospitalizations remain well below their pandemic high of more than 1,700 in late April. As a whole, the nation hit a record high in coronavirus hospitalizations Tuesday with hospitals close to capacity in states in the Upper Midwest and Great Plains.

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Among those hospitalized In Maryland, 193 needed intensive care, 17 more than Tuesday. Intensive care hospitalizations have nearly tripled since late September.

Hospitalizations and deaths typically lag behind a spike in cases, as it can take weeks for patients' symptoms to worsen and for some of them to die.

The new numbers come a day after Gov. Larry Hogan said the state is entering “the danger zone” with the virus. He announced stricter virus-related regulations on restaurants Tuesday and a new travel advisory for states with high rates of infection. Maryland is now “strongly” recommending against indoor gatherings of more than 25 people.

“COVID-19 has returned to our state in a big way, and we must fight back with every tool at our disposal,” Hogan tweeted Wednesday morning. “We are constantly monitoring all of our key metrics and will take additional actions if the situation continues to deteriorate.”

Younger Marylanders continue to drive the surge in cases. Marylanders in their 20s alone made up 20% of new cases reported Wednesday. Add in Marylanders in their 30s and 40s and that number surges to more than half of new cases.

As some Maryland public schools have begun backing off in-person returns to classrooms, the state saw 174 new cases among people between the age of 10 and 19 and 84 new cases among children between the age of zero and nine. Those age groups made up 15% of Wednesday’s new cases.

Although older Marylanders have made up the bulk of deaths thus far, one resident in their 40s and one in their 50s were reported to have died Wednesday. The rest of the deaths were among those 60 or older, a group that has made up more than 86% of deaths statewide.

The state has reached a total of 158,423 virus cases and 4,100 deaths since March.

The state’s seven-day rolling positivity rate was 5.6% Wednesday, up from 5.24% Tuesday. Maryland’s positivity rate has spiked in recent weeks, as it was just 3% as of Oct. 22.

Baltimore City has continued to see a surge in cases, with its seven-day average case rate per 100,000 people ballooning to 30.26 as of Tuesday, nearly 50% higher than the statewide average. The case rate has nearly quadrupled since mid-October.

The city recently decided to tighten capacity restrictions on all indoor and outdoor facilities and shut down bars that do not serve food in a move that becomes effective Thursday.

One of the newly reported deaths came from Baltimore, the city’s 500th death thus far. Allegany County, which has been the state’s biggest virus hot spot in recent weeks, also had a resident reported to have died from the virus Wednesday.

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Allegany County reported 89 new cases Wednesday. For context, the county had seen just 1,156 cases before Wednesday, even with a recent surge. Wednesday’s new cases represent more than 7% of the county’s cases thus far during the pandemic. The county’s case rate per 100,000 residents was 63.09 as of Tuesday, about triple the statewide average.

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