For the third time in less than a week, Maryland reported a record-high number of hospitalizations Sunday resulting from coronavirus infections.
The state reported that Maryland hospitals were treating 1,950 people for COVID-19. The previous record — set Friday — was 1,885. Officials said last week that a change in reporting requirements could start inflating the hospitalization numbers.
About 25% of those hospitalized Sunday were in intensive care units, some 485 people, the highest number since May 30.
Maryland also reported 3,310 new cases of the coronavirus Sunday, and 25 more deaths from the virus.
The additions come amid a troubling new surge of COVID-19, one many experts believe was compounded by holiday-related gatherings. Sunday is the third day in a row that Maryland has reported more than 3,000 new cases of the virus. Before Sunday, Maryland had never reported three consecutive days with 3,000 or more new cases.
Over the past several days, the state has inched closer to breaking a record set in December for the most coronavirus cases reported in a day — 3,792.
Sunday’s additions bring Maryland’s coronavirus case count to 303,364, and its death toll to 6,100.
The state’s seven-day average testing positivity rate was 8.73% Saturday, well above what it was in the summertime and early fall, when the rate held below 5% — the World Health Organization’s bench mark for beginning reopening procedures. It was down from Friday’s rate of 9.16%.
Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, the state’s two most populous jurisdictions, reported the most new coronavirus cases Sunday. But they were followed by Anne Arundel County, which reported more new cases — 425 — than the more populous Baltimore City and Baltimore County, which reported 273 and 370 cases, respectively.
Also Sunday, the state reported administering 60,105 new COVID-19 tests — more than any day since Dec. 11, when the state set a record with more than 65,000 tests administered.
The state also reported administering 12,242 first doses of coronavirus vaccines, and 1,363 second doses — part of its push to provide health care workers, first responders and nursing home residents and staff, with initial doses of the two federally approved vaccines.
The vaccination total Sunday was slightly up from Saturday, when the state reported 12,211 people getting their first shots.
So far, 2.25% of Marylanders have received the first dose of a vaccine. About 0.1% of the state population has received both of the required doses.
As of Sunday, the Eastern Shore and Western Maryland — the less populous parts of the state — had vaccinated the greatest percentage of their residents, with 3.04% and 2.61%, respectively.
The densely populated “National Capital Region,” which includes Charles, Frederick, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, continued to lag behind, having vaccinated 1.37% of its population. The populous Baltimore region, which includes Baltimore City and Baltimore County, plus Anne Arundel, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties, fared better, having vaccinated 2.53% of its population.
During a Sunday morning appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union with Jake Tapper,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan discussed a proposal by the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden to release nearly all available vaccine doses, rather than holding back vaccines for necessary second doses.
“Right now, we’re not getting them out fast enough into people’s arms,” the Republican governor said. “I just want to make sure we get as many out as fast as possible without endangering people by not having that second dose. So I think it’s a discussion we all have to have.”