On July 29th Governor Hogan gave a critical briefing with updates on Maryland’s Coronavirus response and cases amidst rising national numbers. Hogan reported that yesterday the federal government identified 21 “Red Zone” states and urged them to shut down parts of their economies and place limits on social gatherings. Maryland is not on that list. Maryland is at a fork in the road, a critical turning point where the state could either continue making progress, or the state could ignore the warnings and spike back up like much of the rest of the country. The uptick in cases and conditions in other states signal the need for a pause in further reopening plans in Maryland.
Positivity Rate and New Cases
- Maryland’s statewide positivity rate rose Wednesday to 4.77%. It has been below the 5% Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/World Health Organization goal for 34 days.
- Three jurisdictions — Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Prince George’s County — have positivity rates above 5%.
- 56% of the new reported cases of COVID-19 are Marylander under the age of 40.
- Coronavirus positivity rate among younger Marylanders is at a rate that is 76.8% higher than for older people.
Testing and Contact Tracing
- State is making unlimited supplies of tests available to any jurisdiction that needs them. Marylanders are advised to use state-operated testing sites, which can turn around results in 24-48 hours. Private labs have longer, unacceptable turn around times due to outbreaks in other states.
- Contact tracing has revealed that it’s not just high-risk activities that are troublesome when it comes to the coronavirus:
- 44% of COVID-19 patients attended family gatherings
- 23% attended house parties
- 21% attended outdoor events
New Public Health Advisories
- Starting at 5 p.m. Friday, Maryland is expanding the statewide mask order, requiring face masks in public spaces of all businesses and in outdoor public areas whenever it is not possible to maintain physical distancing.
- State is strongly advising against out-of-state travel to states where the positivity rate is above 10%, which, as of Wednesday, includes Florida, Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, Arizona, Alabama, South Carolina, Nebraska and Idaho.
- This public health advisory applies to personal, family or business travel. Anyone traveling to or from these states should get tested and self-quarantine.
- Deputy Health Secretary Fran Phillips is retiring. She has led the state’s public health response to the pandemic. She will be succeeded by Dr. Jinlene Chan, assistant health secretary and leader of the state’s coronavirus testing efforts.