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As hospitalizations, positivity rate spike, Maryland passes 200,000 coronavirus cases since start of pandemic

With surging hospitalizations and a rising positivity rate, Maryland reported 2,765 new coronavirus cases Tuesday — the third largest single-day total since officials began tracking the pandemic in March — and 30 more deaths.

The new data pushed the state past 200,000 COVID-19 infections during the pandemic, to a total of 201,135 confirmed cases and 4,516 deaths since March. So far, there’s been about one case for every 30 Marylanders during the pandemic based on the state’s estimated population of 6.05 million.

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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan confirmed Tuesday that the state’s youngest coronavirus victim was a 1-year-old boy who succumbed to the virus Sunday.

The state has now reported 1,000 or more new confirmed cases for 28 straight days after previously seeing new cases at that level just four times since the beginning of June.

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The state reported 1,583 people hospitalized with virus-related complications Tuesday, 56 more than Monday. Hospitalizations have more than tripled since Nov. 1 when they stood at 523 and are approaching a late April peak of just more than 1,700.

Among those hospitalized, 350 required intensive care, six more than Monday. ICU hospitalizations have more than doubled since the beginning of November, when they stood at 127.

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.

Amid the surge in cases, deaths have been climbing in recent weeks. The two-week average of new deaths reported daily hit 24 Tuesday, tripling from Nov. 8. In the past seven days, the state has averaged more than 27 daily deaths.

Among those reported to have died from the virus Tuesday, all were age 60 or older, save for six people in their 50s. Residents in their 60s or older have accounted for 3,925of the state’s 4,516 deaths, about 87% of the statewide death toll despite making up less than 20% of confirmed cases statewide.

Younger Marylanders continued to drive the new cases, with residents in their 20s and 30s accounting for 36% of the new case total.

The state’s reported seven-day positivity rate was 7.33%, up from 6.86% Monday.Maryland’s daily positivity rate was 10.03% Tuesday, above 10% for the first time since late May.

Allegany County continues to be ravaged by the virus, reporting 198 new cases Tuesday — about 6% of its pandemic total in a single day — and two new deaths. At 136.94, its seven-day average case rate per 100,000 people was the state’s highest Monday and about quadruple the statewide average of 34.44.

Neighboring Garrett County also added 33 cases Tuesday — more than 4% of its pandemic total — and one death. Garrett County’s seven-day average case rate per 100,000 people was more than triple the statewide average at 123.59 as of Monday.

On Maryland’s Eastern Shore, cases continued to surge in Somerset County, which added 143 to its tally Tuesday, or more than 13% of its case total. Before Tuesday, the county had seen just 918 cases during the entire pandemic. The county’s seven-day average case rate per 100,000 people of 97.6 Monday was nearly triple the statewide average. Somerset’s seven-day average positivity rate was 19.65% as of Monday, more than double the statewide average of 7.33%.

Montgomery and Prince George’s counties combined for more than 38% of Tuesday’s newly reported cases. Montgomery County’s seven-day average case rate per 100,000 people remained below the statewide average at 27.34, while Prince George’s County’s case rate was slightly above it at 36.32.

The numbers were announced ahead of a scheduled news conference at which Hogan presented a series of initiatives the state was launching to ease the impending burden on front line health care workers while requiring hospitals to submit surge plans by Dec. 8.

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“The current surge is not only increasing the burden on our health care system and filling available hospital beds, but is also affecting our health care workers who are already spread thin and operating under immense strain and stress ,” Hogan said.

Hogan said the state has launched a website aimed at recruiting job seekers with clinical backgrounds to help staffing issues at hospitals statewide. The website is marylandmednow.com.

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