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Maryland reports most coronavirus deaths since early June and 2,220 new virus cases

A day after Gov. Larry Hogan said that Maryland is not yet near the pandemic’s peak, the state reported 2,220 new coronavirus cases and 42 new deaths tied to COVID-19, the most deaths reported in one day since early June.

Maryland has now reported 1,000 or more virus cases for 29 straight days, after previously seeing new cases at that level just four times since the beginning of June. The state has now reported 2,000 or more cases for five of the past eight days after never reaching that mark once before mid-November.

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The statewide seven-day average case rate per 100,000 people was 37.03 as of Tuesday.

The state reported 1,578 people hospitalized with virus-related complications Wednesday, down slightly from 1,583 Tuesday. Hospitalizations have more than tripled since Nov. 1, when they were at 523.

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Among those hospitalized, 359 required intensive care, up from 350 Tuesday. ICU hospitalizations have nearly tripled since they were at 127 as of Nov. 1.

The statewide 14-day new death average has spiked from eight as of Nov. 8 to 26 as of Wednesday. Before mid-November, that figure hadn’t been higher than 10 since July.

Hospitalizations and deaths can lag behind a surge in cases, as it can take weeks for some patients’ symptoms to worsen and for some to die.

The statewide 14-day newly reported case average was 2,252 as of Wednesday, a new pandemic high.

The state’s reported seven-day positivity rate was 7.52%, up from 7.33% Tuesday. The state’s daily positivity rate reported Wednesday was 8.11%, down from 10.03% reported Tuesday.

Hogan, a Republican, announced initiatives Tuesday to help address potential health care worker and hospital capacity shortages, but didn’t impose any new virus-related restrictions on businesses or residents’ activity. Hogan also said Maryland’s first round of virus vaccines will only cover half of front-line health care workers statewide.

In a vaccine plan sent to federal officials in October, the state called for a two-phase program, first vaccinating health care workers and more vulnerable people and then vaccinating the general public.

The new data bring the state to a total of 203,355 confirmed virus cases and 4,558 deaths since March.

Rural Allegany County continues to be a virus hotspot, reporting 100 new cases and six new deaths Wednesday. The county had the second-highest seven-day average case rate per 100,000 people as of Tuesday’s data at 156.82, more than quadruple the statewide average of 37.03.

The only county with a higher seven-day average case rate per 100,000 people as of Tuesday’s data was Somerset County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, at 167.31. Mike Ricci, a spokesman for Hogan, wrote in a tweet Tuesday that most of the active cases in the county come from Eastern Correctional Institute in Westover. The county’s positivity rate was 23.39% as of Tuesday’s data, more than triple the statewide average.

Allegany County’s western neighbor, Garrett County, reported 29 new cases — more than 3% of its total for the entire pandemic — and two deaths. Garrett County’s seven-day average case rate per 100,000 people was 119.65 as of Tuesday’s data.

Baltimore City reported nine deaths Wednesday, more than 21% of the statewide total. The city has now seen 557 deaths during the pandemic.

Younger Marylanders continued to drive the increase in cases, with residents in their 20s and 30s making up nearly 37% of new cases Wednesday.

Among those that died, all but four were age 60 or older, an age group that makes up nearly 87% of the statewide death total, despite representing less than 20% of cases.

Contact tracing data released Wednesday suggests Marylanders have become more reluctant to be forthcoming with contact tracers. The non-response rate for contact tracers asking about employment was 44% for the week of Nov. 22 to Saturday, well above the overall 29% mark since July.

Baltimore Sun reporters Jeff Barker and Colin Campbell contributed to this article.

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