‘Rapidly escalating’: Maryland reports 2,000 or more coronavirus cases for third time in five days

Maryland reported 2,018 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, the third time the state has reported 2,000 or more cases in the past five days.

The state also reported 98 more people hospitalized and 15 deaths tied to COVID-19, the illness the virus causes.


Maryland has now reported 1,000 or more virus cases for 15 straight days. The state had never hit 2,000 cases in a single day before this week.

Gov. Larry Hogan opened Wednesday’s online meeting of the state Board of Public Works by reciting the latest numbers of cases, hospitalizations and deaths. He noted that hospitalizations have reached levels last seen in June.


“The sad reality is that the surge of COVID-19 is rapidly escalating and it is placing an enormous strain on our health care system and our economy,” the Republican governor said.

The new numbers come a day after Hogan announced new virus-related restrictions on restaurants, nursing homes and hospitals, and pleaded with residents to take actions to limit the virus’ spread.

Hogan said success in fighting the pandemic will rely on “our willingness to take responsibility for our own actions.”

Maryland’s health secretary, Robert R. Neall, said residents have a key role to play in attempting to slow the virus again.

”Simply put: All Marylanders must take individual action to slow the spread. … Individual people acting on their own are the only people who can do it,” Neall said during a video briefing with state lawmakers Wednesday morning.

He encouraged Marylanders to “consciously curtail” their activities by limiting gatherings and even going to the store less often. And he repeated the advice not to travel to states with high infection rates, which he noted is “just about everywhere.”

”If you want to avoid a lockdown — and a lot of states are headed that way — wear a mask, keep your distance, wash your hands, you get a call from contact tracing, answer it and give them the information they require,” he said.

Amid surging cases, hospitalizations have risen precipitously. The state reported 1,144 people hospitalized with virus-related complications Wednesday, up from 1,046 Tuesday. Just two weeks ago, Maryland had 595 people hospitalized with the virus. Hospitalizations have more than quadrupled since late September, but remain below a late April peak of more than 1,700.

With some hospitals reaching capacity, Maryland officials have ramped up a program to transfer patients between facilities.

Among those hospitalized, 270 needed intensive care, 15 more than Tuesday.

The new data released Wednesday brings the state to a total of 171,823 confirmed cases and 4,201 deaths since March.

The state’s seven-day average case rate per 100,000 people hit 30.95 as of Tuesday, about triple the figure from Oct. 24. Maryland’s newly-reported 14-day case average has ballooned to 1,647 from 749 as of the beginning of November.


Baltimore County reported the most new cases among jurisdictions statewide Wednesday with 356. County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. last week said the county had reached a “crisis point,” before announcing more restrictions on gatherings and restaurants.

The county’s seven-day average case rate per 100,000 people has jumped to 35.1 as of Tuesday (above the statewide average) from 11.57 as of Oct. 27 — the last time the county was below the statewide average.

The virus continued to run rampant Wednesday in Western Maryland. Allegany County added 118 new confirmed cases, more than 6% of its cases during the entire pandemic. Neighboring Garrett County also added 38 new cases Wednesday, more than 10% of its pandemic total.

Baltimore City’s seven-day average case rate per 100,000 people remained well above the 30.95 statewide average at 39.4 as of Tuesday.

Marylanders in their 20s and 30s were the two age groups with the most cases reported Wednesday, accounting for nearly 36% of new cases.

Older, more vulnerable Marylanders made up a significant portion of cases Wednesday, with those age 60 or older representing about 20%. Residents age 60 or older constitute more than 86% of deaths statewide despite representing less than 20% of total cases.

Among those reported to have died Wednesday, all but one were age 60 or older.

Virus cases have been increasing around the country, as every state besides Iowa and Hawaii has seen an increase in the past week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus resource center.

The state’s reported seven-day positivity rate was 6.82% Wednesday, down slightly from 6.85% Tuesday. That figure has spiked from 4.21% just two weeks ago.

Baltimore Sun reporter Pamela Wood contributed to this article.

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