Maryland coronavirus positivity rate continues to climb as new cases and deaths drop

Alex Mann, The Baltimore Sun

Despite a decline in new coronavirus cases and deaths in the last 24 hours, the percentage of people testing positive in the past week climbed Saturday for the sixth day in a row.

The state’s test positivity rate for the past seven days climbed to 8.94%, up from 8.8% a day before and the highest it’s been since early June, according to Maryland Department of Health data.

After the state approached on the first day of the new year a near-record tally of new daily coronavirus cases and a steady death toll, both figures declined Saturday. Over the last 24 hours, the state reported 2,952 confirmed cases of the virus and 25 deaths, down from 3,557 and 47 a day prior.

As of Saturday morning, 5,799 Marylanders have died from the virus, at least, and 283,171 more people have contracted it since officials began tracking the pandemic in March.

Health officials urged people to slow the spread of the virus by refraining from traditional New Years Eve celebrations. Restrictions imposed in Baltimore to curb the coronavirus meant gatherings are capped at 25 people outdoors and 10 indoors. Meanwhile, restaurants in the city are limited to carry out and delivery, per an executive order.

While less people were in the hospital for the coronavirus Saturday than Friday, more required intensive care. At least 1,692 patients remained hospitalized, 415 requiring intensive care.

The number of patients hospitalized with the virus has hovered around 1,600 since Dec. 8, peaking at a pandemic high of 1,799 on Dec. 15.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott warned of city hospitals nearing full capacity when he urged city residents to skip out on New Years Eve festivities.

“We are nowhere near out of the woods,” Scott said on Dec. 28.

This story will be updated.