Maryland reported more than 400 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, a level not seen since May.
During June, Maryland’s case rates sunk to new lows, but by mid-July, they began an uptick that experts blame on the surging delta variant of the coronavirus.
The state’s testing positivity rate, which declined well below 1%, inched up again Wednesday to 2.45%. The number of tests administered each day has hovered around 20,000 for much of June and July. Some 16,842 new tests were reported Wednesday.
More than 200 people were hospitalized with the disease Wednesday, and three more people were reported dead from the virus, bringing the state’s total to 9,594.
Maryland, which is among the most vaccinated states in the nation, has seen a far smaller uptick than other less vaccinated states. But it’s far from immune. Over the past two weeks, the state’s average daily case load has more than doubled.
So far, 77% of Maryland adults are vaccinated with at least one dose, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, though the prevailing vaccines require two doses. But with the delta variant threatening to bring about the restoration of certain pandemic restrictions, Maryland officials are scrambling to reach the vaccine hesitant with shots.
As part of that effort, lawmakers have urged the state’s Department of Health to publish data showing the number of cases, deaths and hospitalizations of vaccinated versus unvaccinated Marylanders. The department plans to do that soon, said spokesman Charlie Gischlar.
Officials are hoping such data will help convince reluctant Marylanders of the vaccines’ effectiveness. For example, all of the Marylanders who died from COVID in June were unvaccinated, officials have said.
In addition, 95% of cases and 93% of hospitalizations in June involved unvaccinated people, according to a tweet from Mike Ricci, spokesman for Gov. Larry Hogan.