Maryland Returns To No-Travel List, Coronavirus Cases Spike

Jacob Baumgart
·6 min read

ANNAPOLIS, MD — A recent spike in coronavirus infections returned Maryland to the quarantine order of three states on Tuesday. When travelers from Maryland head to Connecticut, New Jersey, or New York, they will have to self-isolate for 14 days.

Maryland's placement on the travel mandate comes as hospitalizations hit their highest rate in months. The state's positivity rate is also climbing.

Why Is Maryland On The Quarantine Order?

This is Maryland's third stint on the list, which was born on June 24. Travel from the state was previously restricted from July 21 to Aug. 25 and Sept. 9 to Sept. 15.

To land on the trio's coronavirus quarantine mandate, states must have either:

  1. An average case rate of more than 10 new cases-per-100,000 residents per day over a rolling seven days.

  2. Or an average positivity rate of more than 10 percent over a rolling seven days.

Maryland's case rate of 10.4 secured the state a spot on the travel advisory. As long as Maryland averages more than 604 coronavirus cases-per-day in a given week, it will remain on the list of troubled states.

The case rate maxed out at 18.03 on May 7 before plummeting to 5.6 on June 24. The lull didn't last long, as the case rate hopped to a recent high of 15.55 on July 31. Another downswing dropped the case rate to 7.63 on Sept. 26, but it is already back up above 10.

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How Do Maryland's Coronavirus Statistics Look?

Maryland added 590 coronavirus cases on Tuesday, bringing its total to 136,744 infections. The state also reported nine more coronavirus-related deaths Tuesday. The virus has killed 3,904 Marylanders.

The state's positivity rate has seen an uptick since it bottomed out at 2.51 percent on Sept. 24. The seven-day rolling average now sits at 3.2 percent. The weekly positivity rate topped out at 26.88 percent on April 17.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says jurisdictions should aim to keep their percent positivity below 5 percent. Maryland has been beneath that benchmark since June 25, but some counties play hopscotch with that threshold. Prince George's County, for example, has a positivity rate of 5.06 percent.

Maryland's hospitalizations have fluctuated in recent months. They hit an overall peak of 1,711 on April 30. After falling to a low of 385 on July 10, the number of hospitalized coronavirus patients spiked to 592 by Aug. 1.

Hospitalizations then marched down to a recent low of 290 on Sept. 21, but they are back on the rise. Maryland reported 464 coronavirus-related hospitalizations Tuesday. That's the most since Aug. 19.

"State health officials continue to closely monitor trends in our critical health metrics," Hogan tweeted Thursday. "We are all in this together, and we need each and every Marylander to do their part to help slow the spread and keep our communities safe."

What States Are On The Quarantine Mandates?

Visitors who break the travel order face different consequences in each state. Marylanders heading to New York could face a $2,000 fine if they fail to complete a traveler health form. The questionnaire asks visitors about their potential exposure to coronavirus, symptoms and lodging plans. This form helps New York with contact tracing if that person eventually tests positive for coronavirus.

Connecticut has threatened a $500 fine for travelers who break the state's quarantine mandate. New Jersey won't fine violators.

Maryland also has its own travel order. Hogan implemented the advisory on July 29, after spending months saying Maryland would not restrict travel from other states.

The mandate does not prohibit out of state visitation. The advisory instead discourages travel to states with a positivity rate greater than 10 percent.

Visitors coming from those states should immediately get a coronavirus test when they return to Maryland. These travelers should also quarantine until they receive a negative test result, the order says. These eight states are currently on Maryland's quarantine and test mandate:

  • Alabama

  • Arizona

  • Florida

  • Idaho

  • Mississippi

  • Nebraska

  • South Carolina

  • Texas

More than 40.6 million people around the world have been infected by coronavirus. Global deaths from the virus total more than 1.1 million, according to Johns Hopkins University. In the United States, 8.2 million people have been infected, and more than 220,000 have died from coronavirus.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that Connecticut and New Jersey meet the qualifications that would normally place a state on their joint travel advisory. Cuomo said this would be nearly impossible to enforce, so he did not add the two partner states to the quarantine mandate. He still discourages nonessential travel between the three neighboring states.

Pennsylvania also meets the threshold to land on the list, but it too got a pass. The state is not part of the travel alliance, but it also borders New York. Cuomo said this would make it difficult to impose restrictions.

Residents can track which states are currently on the northeastern pact's quarantine list at this link. Visitors passing through the states for less than 24 hours do not have to self-isolate, nor do essential workers or business travelers.

The 14-day quarantine helps slow the spread of coronavirus from troubled states. Coronavirus has a two-week incubation period, meaning somebody might not show symptoms for the first 14 days they are sick. If somebody does not show symptoms after 14 days, they are significantly less likely to have coronavirus.

The quarantine mandate is updated each Tuesday. Maryland and Arizona were the only two states added to the list this week.

Travelers from these 40 states and territories must quarantine for two weeks when traveling to Connecticut, New Jersey or New York:

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  • Alaska

  • Alabama

  • Arkansas

  • Arizona

  • Colorado

  • Delaware

  • Florida

  • Georgia

  • Guam

  • Iowa

  • Idaho

  • Illinois

  • Indiana

  • Kansas

  • Kentucky

  • Louisiana

  • Maryland

  • Michigan

  • Minnesota

  • Missouri

  • Mississippi

  • Montana

  • North Carolina

  • North Dakota

  • Nebraska

  • New Mexico

  • Nevada

  • Ohio

  • Oklahoma

  • Puerto Rico

  • Rhode Island

  • South Carolina

  • South Dakota

  • Tennessee

  • Texas

  • Utah

  • Virginia

  • Wisconsin

  • West Virginia

  • Wyoming

Isn't New York A Hot Spot?

Once considered the center of America's coronavirus outbreak, New York now has some of the country's best metrics. The state's positivity rate of 1 percent is down from its April 4 peak of 48 percent.

New York's percent positivity has been under 2 percent since June 8. Maryland's positivity rate has never been below 2 percent.

The Empire State's hospitalizations maxed out at 18,825 on April 12. That number hit a low of 410 on Sept. 5.

The state now has 942 coronavirus patients in the hospital. That's 4.84 hospitalizations-per-100,000 residents, compared to Maryland's rate of 7.67.

New York has tallied 486,480 coronavirus infections, the bulk of which came in the early months of the pandemic. The state now has a case rate of 7.18, which is about 3 less than Maryland's pace.

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Have a story idea? Please contact me at jacob.baumgart@patch.com with any pitches, tips or questions. Follow me on Twitter @JacobBaumgart and on Facebook @JacobBaumgartJournalist to stay up-to-date with the latest Anne Arundel County and Prince George's County news.

This article originally appeared on the Annapolis Patch