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Maryland sees 20% increase in coronavirus recoveries as case count rises above 10,700

Personnel work among vehicles approved for COVID tests at the Maryland State Fairgrounds, set up as a Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) drive-thru testing site.

Maryland announced an increase Thursday of more than 20% in the state’s number of recoveries from the novel coronavirus, reporting 129 more infected Marylanders have been released from isolation compared to Wednesday. In all, Maryland has reported 736 recoveries.

However, the state also added 752 confirmed cases of the viral infection to its count, bringing the state’s confirmed case total to 10,784 residents.

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Of those, 392 have died, with 43 new victims announced Thursday. The state is also reporting 67 deaths in which the victim’s cause of death was listed as COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, but the results were not confirmed by a laboratory test.

Gov. Larry Hogan announced Wednesday that as of 7 a.m. Saturday, Marylanders will be required to cover their faces when inside a retail establishment or using public transportation. He also said the state’s recovery phase would be heavily dependent on increases in Maryland’s testing capabilities, hospital surge capacity, supply of personal protective equipment and contact-tracing operations.

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Fran Phillips, deputy secretary for public health, said Wednesday that more than 800 Marylanders have voluntarily registered as having recovered from coronavirus, more than the state’s confirmed count, as Maryland works to increase its efforts to trace the virus among those who are infected.

Speaking Thursday morning on NBC’s “Today Show,” Hogan said Maryland still is seeing significant increases in infections and deaths from the coronavirus.

“Our numbers have been rapidly rising. … It’s growing throughout our region,” said Hogan, a Republican. “We are sort of the next wave of hotspots.”

Hogan acknowledged some people want to ease restrictions that have been put in place to slow the spread of the virus, but said it’s too soon. Nearly 62,000 Marylanders filed for unemployment last week, bringing the state to almost 300,000 jobless claims in the past month.

“Everybody wants to get our economy back and get people back to work and get our businesses open, but we also want to make sure we do it in a safe way,” he said.

Despite representing less than a third of the state’s cases, infected Marylanders over the age of 60 account for nearly two-thirds of Maryland’s confirmed virus-related deaths. Age data is not available for about 24% of the state’s COVID-19 deaths.

African-Americans continue to represent nearly half of Maryland’s confirmed cases and deaths among the infected whose races was known, despite only 30% of Maryland’s population being black, according to census data. The state did not report the race of 23% of those infected.

As Maryland scrambles to secure adequate supplies and hospital beds for an anticipated surge in cases and hospitalizations, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted Wednesday that his state will be sending 50 ventilators to Maryland.

Hogan said he and the nation’s governors would have a conference call with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence later Thursday, and he expected guidance for how to start reopening the economy would be discussed.

Hogan said he’d be glad to have the federal government as a “partner” but said the decisions must rest with governors.

“Different states are at different points in the curve,” he said.

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