The pandemic reached a grim benchmark in Maryland Thursday as the state reported 2,910 new coronavirus cases, by far the highest daily total recorded so far.
The previous daily high was 2,321 cases, reported Saturday. The state has reported 2,000 or more new cases in four of the past six days — a number not seen before this stretch. A thousand or more cases have been reported for 16 straight days.
Maryland also 19 deaths tied to COVID-19, the illness the virus causes, and 1,192 people hospitalized with virus-related complications, 48 more than Wednesday.
The state also set a record in daily testing volume with 43,963 tests reported Thursday, a week before the Thanksgiving holiday.
The latest numbers came out as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged Americans to stay home for the holidays and consider canceling plans to travel to visit relatives outside their households.
Marylanders appear to be taking heed of the warnings from state and federal officials. Almost 90% of Marylanders plan to stay home for Thanksgiving, according to a new survey released Thursday by from AAA.
Half of the those who responded to the survey said they are staying home because of the of coronavirus, the survey said, and 43% of people felt it would be a be “significant” risk to travel.
The Maryland Department of Health said in a release Thursday that Marylanders should seriously consider limiting their travel through New Year’s Day. The department launched a webpage that looks to answer frequently asked questions about holiday travel during the pandemic.
“We are all tired of this pandemic and desperately want it to be over, but now is not the time to let our guard down,” said department secretary Robert R. Neall.
The number of Marylanders hospitalized has doubled from just two weeks ago and quadrupled from late September, yet hospitalizations remain below a late April peak of more than 1,700. Among those hospitalized, 260 required intensive care Thursday, 10 fewer than Wednesday.
Hospitalizations and deaths can lag behind a surge in cases, as it can take weeks for some patients’ symptoms to become more severe and for some patients to die.
The new numbers bring the state to a total of 174,733 confirmed coronavirus cases and 4,220 deaths since March.
Marylanders in their 20s, 30s and 40s continued to drive new cases, making up more than 53% of the cases reported Thursday. Marylanders age 60 or older made up about 18% of newly reported cases.
Among those confirmed to have died Thursday, all but one were 60 or older, with the exception a person in their 40s.
Baltimore County reported the most new cases in the state for the second day in a row, with 500. The county’s seven-day average case rate per 100,000 people continued to climb, up to 37.11 as of Wednesday, above the statewide average of 31.66.
Western Maryland continues to be ravaged by the virus, as hotspot Allegany County reported another 101 cases Thursday, along with five deaths. Allegany’s seven-day average case rate per 100,000 people of 130.65 dwarfs every other jurisdiction statewide; the closest is neighboring Garrett County, which sat at 77.3 as of Wednesday.
Cases also are spiking on the state’s Eastern Shore. Somerset County has seen its seven-day average case rate per 100,000 people increase dramatically, going from 25.65 Monday to 41.27 Wednesday. Since Friday, neighboring Wicomico County has seen its case rate jump from 21.1 (below the statewide average) to 34.61, above the statewide average.
The state’s seven-day positivity rate was 7.19% Thursday, up from 6.82% Wednesday. Just two weeks ago, that rate stood at 4.37%.