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Maryland reports 1,198 new coronavirus cases— most since July and second straight day of 1,000 or more

The coronavirus pandemic in Maryland is continuing to surge as the state reported 1,198 new cases Thursday — the most since July — and 10 more deaths tied to COVID-19, the disease the virus causes.

It’s the second straight day the state has reported 1,000 or more new cases, after previously not reaching that mark since Aug. 1.

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The new data come as new confirmed cases nationwide have reached an all-time high, with the seven-day average of daily confirmed cases growing 45% in the past two weeks. Thirty-seven states, including Maryland, have seen cases increase in the past week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus resource center. Ten states have seen cases stay level during that time frame and just three are considered to have seen cases decrease, according to Hopkins.

Since the end of September, the two-week average of daily new cases in Maryland has spiked from a low since July of 488 on Sept. 30 to 856 as of Thursday. That figure hit a pandemic high of 1,031 new cases in May.

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Research has suggested that colder weather in the fall and winter could increase the virus' spread and experts have warned of “pandemic fatigue” with masks and distancing setting in.

The new batch of numbers brings the state up to a total of 149,964 virus cases and 4,035 deaths since March. Maryland has seen the 17th-most deaths and the 33rd-most cases per capita thus far, according to data from Hopkins.

Maryland reported 588 people hospitalized Thursday, down slightly from Wednesday’s 595. Hospitalizations have surged since late September, more than doubling during that time. Dr. Eric Toner, a senior scholar with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and a pandemic preparedness expert, said Wednesday that he is most concerned about Maryland’s hospitalizations amidst a rising positivity rate and increasing cases.

Among those hospitalized, 157 required intensive care, up slightly from 154 Wednesday. The state has seen ICU hospitalizations more than double since Sept. 20, when it reported 68.

Younger Marylanders are continuing to drive new cases in the state, as those in their 20s, 30s and 40s made up nearly 54% of new cases reported Thursday, slightly above the percent of cases they have represented overall throughout the pandemic.

Marylanders age 60 or older, who have represented more than 86% of deaths thus far, made up nearly 20% of new daily cases Thursday from below 17% the day prior.

Among the 10 deaths reported Thursday, eight of those were among Marylanders 60 or older. One Marylander in their 40s and one in their 50s were the other fatalities.

The state’s reported seven-day positivity rate was 4.21%, up from 4.1% Wednesday, which was the first time the state reported a positivity rate above 4% since early August. Hopkins, which calculates its rate differently than the state, reported its positivity rate to be 3.32% as of Wednesday’s data.

Cases are continuing to grow in some of the state’s most populous jurisdictions. More than 71% of new cases reported Thursday were in Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Anne Arundel County. Overall, those five jurisdictions have made up nearly 76% of cases during the pandemic.

Baltimore City has seen its case rate per 100,000 residents spike in recent weeks, going from well below the state average at 7.87 as of Oct. 16 to 19.09, well above the state’s average as of Wednesday. The city’s positivity rate has jumped from 2.44% Oct. 18 to 4.68% as of Wednesday.

Among those that were reported to have died from the virus Thursday, four were Black and four were white.

Black residents make up 31% of the state’s population but have represented more than 40% of the state’s deaths and 36% of cases thus far in which race was known.

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Overall, Black and Latino Marylanders have been disproportionately hit by the virus, making up less than half of the state’s population but more than 60% of virus cases in which race was known.

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