Maryland reported 962 new coronavirus cases Thursday — the most new daily cases since Aug. 1 — and 11 deaths tied to COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.
Thursday’s reported 502 current hospitalizations, one more than Wednesday, set a new high in active hospitalizations since early August. The state has seen increasing hospitalizations since late September, when there was a low since March of 281 people hospitalized.
Among those hospitalized, 120 had virus complications requiring intensive care, up six from Wednesday. The state’s ICU hospitalizations have grown significantly since Sept. 20, when 68 people required ICU care.
The new data brought the state to a total of 143,387 coronavirus cases and 3,980 deaths since the pandemic arrived in Maryland in March. The state has seen the 15th-most deaths and the 31st-most cases per capita among states, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus resource center.
Across the country, 46 states — including Maryland — and Washington, D.C., are seeing increases in virus cases in the past week, according to Hopkins' data as of Wednesday.
Maryland’s two-week average of new daily cases has spiked this month, growing to 703 as of Thursday from 488 Sept. 30. Nationwide, the seven-day new case average has spiked by more than 20,000 in the past two weeks to 71,832.
“While Maryland is not seeing the same spiking numbers as many other states, we are concerned that our positivity rate, cases, and ICU patients are up slightly,” Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, tweeted Thursday after the new numbers were released. “It is critically important that we fight ‘COVID fatigue’ and maintain and increase our vigilance over the coming days.”
Younger Marylanders continue to drive the surge in new cases, with those in their 20s and 30s making up close to 40% of new cases reported Thursday. That number jumps to about 54% when including those in their 40s.
Those 60 or older made up just 17% of new cases Thursday, but accounted for 10 of the 11 deaths reported. The other death was a person in his or her 50s. Those 60 or older have made up just 20% of Maryland’s cases but more than 86% of the state’s deaths.
Maryland’s positivity rate among those under the age of 35 has grown from 3.45% Oct. 22 to 4.02% Wednesday.
The state’s latest contact-tracing data released Wednesday showed that small gatherings composed of 10 or fewer people may be driving the virus' spread. Among cases traced between Oct. 18 and Saturday, 62% of people said they did not attend a gathering of 10 or more people.
The state’s seven-day rolling testing positivity rate was 3.52% Thursday, up from 3.36% Wednesday. The state calculates it rate by dividing the number of positive tests by the total number of tests.
[ Here are the known cases of coronavirus in Maryland [GRAPHICS] ]
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Maryland’s chief tax collector, meanwhile, is pressing Hogan to offer clearer information on new cases and the state’s positivity rate.
Comptroller Peter Franchot, a Democrat, is urging the state to use a “people over people” method of calculating the positivity rate, which divides the number of positive tests results by the total number of people who were tested — not the total number of tests conducted.
Franchot and others argue this is a better metric because it excludes repeat tests conducted on the same individual. In a letter sent Thursday to Hogan and Robert Neall, the state health secretary, Franchot said he found it “troubling” that Johns Hopkins recently changed its calculations to include repeat tests, significantly reducing the rate it was reporting.
“Given the absence of a federal standard in how positivity rates are calculated and reported, I would respectfully urge you to consider utilizing different methodologies to ensure these rates are as accurate as possible and to better understand the full scope of this pandemic,” Franchot wrote.
Franchot wrote that he also would like the state to report the number of new cases per 100,000 residents. That number is not reported on the state’s coronavirus dashboard, but it is included on dashboards maintained by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hopkins and others.
Baltimore Sun reporter Pamela Wood and the Associated Press contributed to this article.