Coronavirus

Transmission electron microscopic image of an isolate from the first U.S. case of COVID-19, formerly known as 2019-nCoV. The spherical viral particles, colorized blue, contain cross sections through the viral genome, seen as black dots.

Maryland reported Thursday its smallest increase of confirmed COVID-19 cases since the end of March.

The number of new cases went up by 260, representing the smallest rise over a 24-hour period since March 31, according to the Maryland Department of Health.

In Frederick County, the number of new cases only went up by six and the death toll remained unchanged for the fifth time in the last six days, according to the state.

"The statistics are really quite impressive," County Executive Jan Gardner said. "Our challenge is to keep it that way."

As testing continues to ramp up, the state also said that it will begin announcing the percentage of the population that has been tested in each county.

There have been more than 535,000 tests conducted statewide, including more than 8,500 over the last 24 hours alone.

The state is hoping that all 24 counties will have soon tested at least 10 percent of their residents.

In Frederick County, 8.1 percent of the population has already been tested, putting the region even with Prince George's County, the state leader in confirmed cases (17,666).

Neighboring Washington and Carroll counties have tested 8.6 and 6.7 percent of their residents, respectively. Hard-hit Montgomery County has tested 7.3 percent of its population to date.

Somerset County on the lower Eastern Shore has the highest percentage (18.1) of residents that have been tested, while Queen Anne's County, also on the Eastern Shore, has tested the smallest percentage (4.3).

MDH Secretary Robert Neall and Deputy Secretary Fran Phillips said Maryland had a long-term strategic supply of tests, and there was no need for counties to stockpile resources.

"Instead, we ask that your local health departments use these tests to increase the number and capacity of community-based testing sites," Neall and Phillips wrote in a letter to county leaders. "We urge you to make every effort and come up with innovative ways to provide your residents and businesses with open and convenient access to testing."

During her public information briefing Thursday, Gardner announced that expanded testing in Frederick County will include mobile "pop-up" clinics.

“Testing is a critical component to our safe path forward,” Gardner said. “I encourage people to be tested. It is free, easy, and open to people who show no symptoms.”

There are now 63,229 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Maryland, including 2,342 in Frederick County, according to MDH.

The death toll in Maryland rose by 20 since 10 a.m. Wednesday and stands at 2,886, including 108 in Frederick County, MDH said.

There has been only one death reported in Frederick County since last Friday.

Hospitalizations, meanwhile, fell for the 21st consecutive day and are down 43 percent since June 1.

The state reported that 660 people are currently hospitalized for COVID-19. That's 42 fewer than the previous day.

The number of people in intensive care (269) is at its lowest level since April 5.

The positivity rate — a seven-day rolling average or positive results as a percentage of all tests — also continued its steady decline.

It fell by almost half of a percentage point and now stands at 5.43 percent in the state and 5.36 percent in Frederick County.

The state's positivity rate has fallen by nearly 80 percent since its peak level (26.92 percent) on April 17.

Follow Greg Swatek on Twitter: @greg_swatek

(13) comments

vodalone

That's great news, but keep wearing those masks indoor in public and keep social distancing when possible or we'll be where AZ, TX, or FL is right now in a month.

DickD

What good does it do to test a few when they could infected the next day. It would seem if everyone could be tested at the same time or at least within a week the ones testing positive could be quarantined and that would really help. Testing a few at a time really doesn't matter much, except to the individual tested.

bosco

Testing asymptomatic people is a placebo issued by the politicians so that it looks like they are accomplishing something. You can get a negative test today and be infected tomorrow.[ninja]

Greg F

Ore Bosco you can get a positive and get help or keep someone from spreading it. Duh.

bosco

It doesn't matter if I get a test. I wear a mask when required and am therefore not spreading anything. I'm a symptomatic, so I don't need medical intervention.

Anyone who is as scared as you seem to be about catching the virus from flying spit particles should wear an N95 mask. Dust masks and cloth masks do not filter out the virus.

N95 masks for the general public were downplayed by the experts in order to save them for frontline health care workers and responders.

[ninja]

neilyoungfan25

Agree, Dick. I am not getting tested unless I have to for a medical procedure!

TomWheatley

With 350 million or so in population and $120 for each test, it's only a mere $42 billion to do that. We don't have enough testing labs to handle 350 million at once, or even 50 million per day over a week.

We are in contact with a retirement community chock full of 55 and up people who are in regular housing, assisted living and nursing care where they shut off access to the Campus. Not a single case at all in a very vulnerable population.

Greg F

Not everyone will get tested...ever. There will be a vaccine available before we ever get close. It’s to help with what is at hand now.

Riptide262

The idea is to identify and isolate all the sick people until they recover. Unfortunately, some of the infected people don't have symptoms so they are unintentionally spreading the disease. Testing the whole population regularly and isolating the infected is the only way forward until an effective vaccine is available. Unfortunately, we are a long way from testing the whole population regularly. We also need the whole population to cooperate. Not clear that is likely either.

vodalone

We'll never get there in terms of testing during this pandemic, not on a national scale at least. A vaccine or effective treatment will be found before.

bosco

And in the meantime, wear a mask when required to protect others and if you are in a high risk group or scared, wear an N95 mask because a dust mask, cloth mask, or a cowboy bandanna doesn't stop the virus.

Greg F

Not with trump...he’s moved on and ignoring the whole thing.

bosco

The good news continues. [thumbup][ninja]

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