Maryland health officials on Sunday confirmed 818 new cases of COVID-19 since Saturday, while the total number of hospitalizations, which Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration considers among the most important metrics to track in the state’s recovery, has dropped from 1,320 to 1,290.
State officials also announced that an additional 38 people have died from the virus, bringing the total number of deaths to 2,162. Sunday’s announcement showed 115 people have likely died from the disease or related complications, although they await laboratory results to confirm that diagnosis.
Of the total number of hospitalizations, 503 are estimated to be in intensive care.
A new research study released from Imperial College London shows the state might be at risk of a second wave of coronavirus infections if the state reopens too quickly or without continued precautions.
The model, which uses COVID-19 data from Johns Hopkins University and Google data tracking people’s daily movements, said Maryland is one of 24 states where the reproduction number of the virus is over 1. The model has not yet been peer-reviewed.
Reproduction numbers below 1 signify the virus isn’t spreading as much as it could due to social distancing and other nonmedical interventions used to reduce gatherings, according to the report.
In a statement, Hogan’s spokesman Michael Ricci wrote that state statistics continue to show hospitalizations on the decline and that other models show Maryland as having a reproduction number below 1.
“Different models have shown different things over the last few months, but we can definitively say that the steps we have taken in Maryland have successfully flattened the curve, and that the key data-driven metrics we use for the state’s recovery — hospitalizations and ICU beds — are at their lowest levels since mid-April," Ricci wrote in an email.
One of the study’s researchers, Dr. Swapnil Mishra, countered Ricci and said in an email: "While Maryland has reduced transmission significantly, the reproduction number is still slightly above one ... and with uncertainty it could be higher.”
Of the current 46,313 COVID-19 cases, 13,762 of those affected are African American, while 889 are Asian, 9,232 are white, 11,383 are Hispanic and 2,272 are listed as “other.” Demographic data isn’t available for 8,775 of the cases. The current data reflects the overrepresentation of black and Latino people affected by the coronavirus seen in other parts of the country as well.
Prince George’s and Montgomery counties still represent the highest number of cases of any county, with 13,521 and 9,922, respectively. They’re followed by 5,373 in Baltimore County, 4,782 in Baltimore City and 3,307 in Anne Arundel County.
The ZIP codes with the highest numbers of cases include 20783 in Prince George’s (1,683 cases), 20906 in Montgomery (1,060 cases), 20706 in Prince George’s (911 cases), 20902 in Montgomery (884 cases) and 21224 in Baltimore City/County (810 cases).
In a sign of progress, 194,049 people have tested negative, representing an increase of 7,217 negative tests since Saturday. In Maryland, 3,319, or 36 since Saturday, have been released from isolation.
Baltimore Sun reporters McKenna Oxenden, Phil Davis and Wilborn P. Nobles III contributed to this article.