Virus hospitalizations reach highest since June in Maryland
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — More than 700 people in Maryland were hospitalized with the coronavirus as of Monday morning, an increase of 52 in a 24-hour period and the highest since mid-June, the state reported.
Of the 707 people in the hospital, the state reported 168 were in intensive care. Hospitalizations have climbed in recent weeks. On Oct. 1, there were 331 people hospitalized.
Gov. Larry Hogan, who warned of a surge in coronavirus cases at a news conference last week, said Monday on Twitter that the state has reached "a critical point" in the fight against COVID-19.
The governor said Maryland's seven-day positivity rate exceeds 5% for the first time since June 24.
"While our state has been preparing for this fall surge for the past eight months, we cannot afford to let our guard down," the Republican governor said. "Wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance."
Over the past two weeks nationwide, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has risen nearly 65%: The seven-day rolling average for daily new cases in the U.S. went from 66,294 on Oct. 25 to 108,736.7 on Nov. 8.
Hogan reminded residents at a news conference Thursday that Maryland's statewide mask mandate remains in full effect. Under the order, all Marylanders over the age of 5 are required to wear face coverings in the public spaces of all businesses across the state. Face coverings also are required in outdoor public areas, whenever it is not possible to maintain physical distancing.
The governor also outlined preparations. Maryland has built a long-term testing strategy and a contact tracing operation. Maryland's contact tracing operation is nearly 1,400 tracers strong, the governor said last week, to find patterns and identify where and how the virus is spreading.
Maryland has a hospital surge capacity plan of more than 6,000 beds and continues to keep alternate care sites open, including the Baltimore Convention Center Field Hospital. Emergency management officials have distributed more than 78 million units of personal protective equipment and have built up a 60-day supply of the most critical resources, the governor's office said.
On Monday, Maryland reported an increase of 1,375 cases from Sunday. The state has confirmed a total of 155,371 cases and 4,072 deaths, an increase of nine since Sunday.