Maryland health officials added 2,280 cases of the coronavirus and 21 more deaths Saturday, a day after Christmas and amid a slow in the state’s testing.
Many testing centers were closed Thursday, Friday and Saturday as Marylanders celebrated an irregular holiday clouded by the shadow of the public health crisis. But even as cases and deaths surged both regionally and nationally, and public health guidance cautioned against in-person gatherings and travel, more Marylanders boarded flights out of the Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall airport this week than any other point since mid-March, a BWI spokesman confirmed Wednesday.
Saturday’s figures bring the state’s case tally to at least 265,440 and death toll to 5,514.
Data released by the Maryland Department of Health on Saturday show the state’s testing positivity rate at 7.1%, about the same as the day before. The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, which measures positivity rates differently from Maryland’s formula, reported the rate at 5.48% on Saturday. The World Health Organization advises governments against lifting restrictions on gatherings, capacity limits and travel until positivity rates reach 5% or lower for 14 consecutive days.
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Maryland is one of 48 states and territories with a positivity rate over the recommended 5% threshold. To Maryland’s north, Pennsylvania has a positivity rate of over 40%, Hopkins reported Saturday. Other Mid-Atlantic states such as Virginia, Delaware and New Jersey also saw higher positivity rates over the holiday, at 12%, 9.77% and 8.69%, respectively.
As of Saturday, 1,685 people were hospitalized with complications associated with COVID-19, 36 fewer than the day before. The disease caused by the virus has led to 25,717 total hospitalizations since March, when the state health department began tracking the spread of the virus. Of the 1,685 currently hospitalized, 1,261 were being treated in acute care settings, and 424 were in intensive care units.