xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

On New Year’s Day, Maryland reports second-highest tally for daily coronavirus cases

The calendar has changed, but the troubles of 2020 aren’t behind us. On the first morning of 2021, Maryland reported an additional 3,557 coronavirus cases and 47 deaths attributed to the virus.

The new reported cases were the second-highest daily total since the pandemic began. The state’s test positivity rate is 8.8%, an increase from the day before and — for the third day in a row — the highest it’s been since early June.

Advertisement

Johns Hopkins University, which measures the positivity rate differently than the state does, listed Maryland’s rate at 4.9% Friday.

Baltimore leaders this week urged people to forego their usual New Year’s Eve celebrations to slow the spread of the virus. The city is under an executive order limiting gatherings to 10 people indoors and 25 outside. Restaurants are closed to on-premise dining, though some offered takeout specials and Zoom DJ dance parties for the holiday.

Advertisement

While people at home watched the ball drop Thursday night on TV and a handful of frontline workers celebrated in New York’s Times Square, 1,734 people remained hospitalized with the virus in Maryland. Of that number, 388 require intensive care, a decrease from the day prior. Hospitalizations have been above 1,600 since Dec. 8 and hit a pandemic high of 1,799 on Dec. 15.

In more promising news, an additional 7,047 people were vaccinated in the past 24 hours, according to the state. Maryland remains in its first vaccination phase, targeting frontline health care workers, employees and residents of longterm care facilities and others.

More than 50,000 people have received their first dose of the vaccine. That number represents less than 1% of the state’s population and around one quarter of the 191,000 total vaccine allotment in Maryland’s reserves, as of a December release.

The shots have been making slower progress than expected. A report Tuesday from Bloomberg ranked Maryland last in vaccine rollout among states.

The Baltimore region leads the area in vaccinations, with nearly 26,000 doses administered. Just over 5,000 people have been vaccinated on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, representing around 1% of the population there.

Health officials have begun testing for a variant strain of the virus that’s believed to be more contagious than the original version, although not more deadly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned that it could be circulating undetected nationwide. So far, cases of the mutation have been detected in California, Colorado and Florida.

As of Thursday afternoon, the state’s health department said it had not yet been found in Maryland.

The new strain adds a additional worry for the U.S. health care system, already burdened by record numbers of infections, hospitalizations and deaths.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement