This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), depicts the exterior structure of the coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19. Image courtesy of CDC.

Maryland recorded fewer coronavirus cases in August than in July, but last month’s new cases were still up from June and neared April’s numbers.

State health officials reported 19,903 new coronavirus cases in August, down from 20,787 newly reported in July.

But August’s numbers remained higher than the 14,781 new cases recorded in June and were close to the 20,082 cases in April, when the pandemic was expanding in Maryland.

The 14-day average number of newly reported cases has been trending downard since reaching 890 on Aug. 3, according to The Baltimore Sun‘s data tracker.

However, it has increased the past two days, now sitting at an average of 548 new cases per day, and remains nearly 200 cases higher than two months ago when the average reached a low of 354 on July 1.

Gov. Larry Hogan on Tuesday announced that all businesses will be allowed to reopen starting Friday as the state entered phase three of the Hogan administration’s coronavirus reopening plan.

As with his previous announcements about relaxing coronavirus-related restrictions, Hogan is leaving it up to local executives to decide whether their jurisdictions will keep restrictions in place.

Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young on Wednesday announced that Baltimore City will loosen restrictions on restaurants and other areas but will not move into phase three of the state’s plan.

When Hogan unveiled the plan in April, he said that Maryland should implement each stage of the plan in a “safe, gradual and effective manner.”

“If we try to rush this and if we don’t do it in a thoughtful and responsible way, it could cause a rebound of the virus, which could deepen the economic crisis, prolong the fiscal problems and slow our economic recovery,” he said in April.

High-risk activities, such as large gatherings and reopening entertainment venues, were not supposed to resume until there was a vaccine or “effective therapeutics” under Hogan’s own plan.

But the governor said Wednesday that the plan has been “evolving” and that “things have changed since then,” The Baltimore Sun reported.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 109,319 Marylanders have tested positive for COVID-19, while 1,236,327 have tested negative, according to the Maryland Department of Health’s COVID-19 Case Map Dashboard.

The state’s coronavirus caseload rose by 456 on Wednesday, an increase of 0.4 percent.

Maryland has completed 1,964,931 coronavirus tests to date, with 12,430 test results reported in the past 24 hours.

An average of 3.36 percent of the state’s tests over the last seven days have come back positive for COVID-19.

The seven-day average rate of positive tests is 4.11 percent for Marylanders younger than 35 and 2.91 percent for Marylanders older than 35.

Maryland has hospitalized 14,351 people with coronavirus to date.

Of Maryland’s 370 currently hospitalized COVID-19 patients, 257 are in acute care and 113 are in intensive care.

The number of acute care patients fell by 16 while the number of intensive care patients rose by one, marking a net decrease of 15 fewer people hospitalized with coronavirus compared to Tuesday.

The state reported an additional six deaths due to COVID-19, bringing the total number of fatal cases to 3,623. There are also 143 people whose deaths are suspected to be related to coronavirus.

As of 10 a.m. Wednesday, there have been 26,428 confirmed cases in Prince George’s County; 20,190 in Montgomery County; 15,665 in Baltimore County; 14,569 in Baltimore City; 8,469 in Anne Arundel County; 4,431 in Howard County; 3,513 in Frederick County; 2,523 in Harford County; 2,411 in Charles County; 1,711 in Carroll County; 1,575 in Wicomico County; 1,337 in Washington County; 1,122 in St. Mary’s County; 842 in Worcester County; 802 in Cecil County; 793 in Calvert County; 558 in Queen Anne’s County; 520 in Caroline County; 475 in Talbot County; 461 in Dorchester County; 396 in Allegany County; 267 in Kent County; 198 in Somerset County; and 63 in Garrett County, according to the dashboard.

Of Maryland’s confirmed cases, 4,020 have been people age 9 or younger; 7,908 have been people ages 10-19; 19,825 have been people ages 20-29; 20,322 have been people ages 30-39; 18,011 have been people ages 40-49; 16,138 have been people ages 50-59; 10,927 have been people ages 60-69; 6,630 have been people ages 70-79; and 5,538 have been people age 80 or older.

The state has identified 57,810 of the confirmed COVID-19 patients as female and 51,509 as male.

Of the Marylanders who have tested positive for COVID-19, 35,232 have been Black, 24,952 have been Hispanic, 25,541 have been white, 2,082 have been Asian, 5,069 have been another race, and data is not available for the remaining 16,443.

Nationwide, there have been at least 6,076,589 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States, including at least 184,697 deaths and 2,202,663 recoveries. More than 78.9 million people in the U.S. have been tested for COVID-19 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...