Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa provides updates about the city’s COVID-19 data dashboard on Tuesday. Image via Facebook Live.
Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa provides updates about the city’s COVID-19 data dashboard on Tuesday. Image via Facebook Live.

Nearly 80 percent of intensive care units and about 30 percent of ventilators in Baltimore hospitals are in use, according to new data available on the city’s coronavirus dashboard.

The city updated its online site to include the number of cases and deaths in city nursing homes; total percentage of ventilators, acute care and intensive care units being used; the number of tests that have been conducted, including positive and negative results; the number of individuals at isolation and prevention sites; and the number of meals and grocery boxes that have been distributed.

But the nursing home data does not separate cases and deaths by facility.

Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa said the Baltimore City Health Department is planning on keeping that section of its dashboard “more broad,” but she expects the Maryland Department of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard will provide a breakdown of data by facility.

After multiple requests from news outlets, the Maryland Department of Health will now release data related to cases and fatalities at nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other places of congregate living under orders from Gov. Larry Hogan. As of Tuesday, that data is not yet available on the state’s COVID-19 dashboard.

The city has reported 1,977 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 80 deaths. Of those, 291 cases and 23 deaths involved nursing home residents, according to the new data.

In Baltimore hospitals, 79 percent of intensive care units, 71 percent of acute care units, and 29 percent of ventilators are currently being used.

Fifty-two percent of the people who tested positive are black while about 15 percent are white. Black residents comprise 70 percent of Baltimore’s deaths due to COVID-19.

Baltimore City has distributed more than 1.1 million meals and nearly 11,900 grocery boxes. Earlier this month, the city expanded its food distribution efforts with the goal of distributing 2.5 million meals and 70,000 grocery boxes.

The dashboard also now includes a live chat option in the lower right hand corner of the website.

“Now residents who have questions have another avenue to seek verified information,” said Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young.

Of the more than 15,000 tests of Baltimore City residents that have been conducted, 21 percent came back positive.

Dzirasa said the city is working to increase access to testing, noting that two of the city’s three current testing locations–at Druid Hill Park and Clifton Park–include walk-up access for residents who do not have a vehicle. The city’s testing site at Pimlico Race Course is drive-through only.

In coordination with LifeBridge Health and the Maryland Department of Health, the city has tested more than 13,000 city residents since launching the city’s first COVID-19 testing site at Pimlico Race Course on April 10, Dzirasa said.

All three of the city’s testing sites require people to be referred to testing by a doctor and set up an appointment. Individuals who do not have a primary care physician can call 211 to speak with a medical professional.

Dzirasa said hospitals are still seeing lower rates of people coming in for serious medical emergencies, such as heart attacks and strokes.

While people exhibiting mild illnesses should avoid hospitals and other health care facilities if possible, those suffering from more severe symptoms should call 911, Dzirasa said.

She said people who are experiencing chest pain, severe shortness of breath, fingertips or lips turning blue, and other “life-threatening” symptoms should seek care at a hospital.

Marcus Dieterle is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. He returned to Baltimore in 2020 after working as the deputy editor of the Cecil Whig newspaper in Elkton, Md. He can be reached at