This is a picture of CDC’s laboratory test kit for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). CDC tests are provided to U.S. state and local public health laboratories, Department of Defense (DOD) laboratories and select international laboratories. Photo courtesy of CDC.

After Gov. Larry Hogan on Tuesday announced that Maryland will lift certain coronavirus-restrictions starting Friday, state health officials on Wednesday confirmed 900 new coronavirus cases and 14 more deaths related to COVID-19.

More than a year after Maryland confirmed its first coronavirus cases, a total of 389,566 Marylanders have tested positive for COVID-19, while 3,052,100 have tested negative, according to the Maryland Department of Health’s COVID-19 Case Map Dashboard.

State officials have confirmed that the deaths of 7,820 Marylanders were related to COVID-19, and they suspect that another 182 were related to the virus.

Hogan on Tuesday announced that starting on Friday at 5 p.m. he will lift capacity limits at bars, restaurants, retail stores and other places, and open large indoor and outdoor venues to 50% capacity. The statewide mask mandate will remain in place.

Although Hogan said local jurisdictions will have the power to enforce stricter guidelines, he added that they should “follow the state guidance and get in line.”

Language in Hogan’s most recent executive order added to the confusion for local leaders, with the order declaring local governments’ power to tighten restrictions “null and void.”

That led some local leaders, including Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, to review their jurisdictions’ authority under Hogan’s newest order.

“Baltimore will continue to lean on the direction of healthcare professionals and local data on COVID-19 hospitalizations, deaths, and new cases to shape reopening efforts in Baltimore,” Scott said in a statement. “My office will work with the Baltimore City Health Department and the Law Department to review the Governor’s executive order and determine the best path forward. I am proud of the work of Commissioner Dzirasa and the Health Department, and remain committed to ensuring recovery efforts are administered through an equitable lens that prioritizes the people and places hardest hit by COVID-19.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday advised that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can safely resume certain activities. But CDC officials also said that people should continue to follow guidelines to reduce the spread of coronavirus, including avoiding medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings.

“While the new guidance is a positive step, the vast majority of people need to be fully vaccinated before COVID-19 precautions can be lifted broadly,” CDC officials said in a statement. “Until then, it is important that everyone continues to adhere to public health mitigation measures to protect the large number of people who remain unvaccinated.”

Maryland has completed 8,160,986 coronavirus tests to date, with 23,412 test results reported in the past 24 hours.

Over the last seven days, an average of 3.61% of the state’s COVID-19 tests have come back positive.

The seven-day average rate of positive tests yesterday was 3.78% for Marylanders younger than 35 and 3.49% for Marylanders older than 35.

There are currently 801 Marylanders hospitalized with coronavirus, including 585 in acute care and 216 in intensive care.

The number of acute care patients grew by eight while the number of intensive care patients rose by one, marking a net increase of nine more people hospitalized with coronavirus compared to Tuesday.

Since the pandemic began, the state has hospitalized a total of 35,844 people due to COVID-19.

Maryland has distributed the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine to a total of 1,069,281 residents, including 25,331 who received it in the past 24 hours.

Of the recipients of the first vaccine dose, 584,389 individuals have received the second vaccine dose, including 11,772 people in the past 24 hours.

As of 10 a.m. Wednesday, there have been 74,704 confirmed cases in Prince George’s County; 64,273 in Montgomery County; 52,096 in Baltimore County; 41,193 in Baltimore City; 36,543 in Anne Arundel County; 17,282 in Frederick County; 16,283 in Howard County; 12,823 in Harford County; 12,571 in Washington County; 9,132 in Charles County; 7,717 in Carroll County; 6,845 in Wicomico County; 6,426 in Allegany County; 5,233 in St. Mary’s County; 5,072 in Cecil County; 3,718 in Calvert County; 3,293 in Worcester County; 2,605 in Queen Anne’s County; 2,415 in Somerset County; 2,380 in Dorchester County; 2,063 in Caroline County; 1,908 in Talbot County; 1,849 in Garrett County; and 1,142 in Kent County, according to the dashboard.

Maryland has confirmed 19,516 cases in people age 9 or younger; 37,640 in people ages 10-19; 70,899 in people ages 20-29; 66,837 in people ages 30-39; 58,936 in people ages 40-49; 58,681 in people ages 50-59; 39,729 in people ages 60-69; 22,513 in people ages 70-79; and 14,815 in people age 80 or older.

The state has identified 203,717 of the confirmed COVID-19 patients as female and 185,849 as male.

Of the Marylanders who have tested positive for COVID-19, 112,790 are Black, 62,511 are Hispanic, 135,611 are white, 9,005 are Asian, 18,432 are another race, and data is not available for the remaining 51,217.

Nationwide, there have been at least 29,097,068 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States, including at least 527,720 deaths. The U.S. has conducted more than 367 million coronavirus tests to date as of 10 a.m. Wednesday, according to a real-time dashboard created by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

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Marcus Dieterle

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 marcus@baltimorefishbowl.com...