BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Maryland has not seen the spike in novel coronavirus cases reported elsewhere nationwide. More than 20 states have seen positive numbers rise dramatically this month. At least ten are at their highest level ever.

Maryland meanwhile, has a positive test rate of just over five percent and the number of hospitalizations has decreased to 602.

As Maryland expands its reopening — allowing indoor dining, gambling and gyms to open again — Dr. Clifford Mitchell with the Maryland Department of Health tells WJZ they’re keeping a close eye on the numbers.

“As people are out more and more and interacting, the opportunities for infection increase,” Dr. Mitchell said.

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Without a vaccine, he noted, Marylanders must stay vigilant, wearing masks and social distancing.

He said there are no plans yet to close down any of the surge hospitals in case of a second wave.

“There is the possibility if things don’t go well, we would be in a situation where we would need that capacity,” he said.

Dr. Mitchell also noted recent large protests have not led a spike in cases in Maryland. “Generally speaking, it takes more than a week —sometimes a couple of weeks — to see any impact,” he said.

Health officials have recommended those involved in demonstrations get tested.

The state is also trying to trace contacts, which could be more difficult as people travel more extensively. 

“Some families have chosen to stay home and are just around a few people. Others, as they start going out, could be around hundreds, and then contact tracing gets more difficult,” said Polly Trexler with Johns Hopkins Hospital.

A new walk-in testing site opened in Lansdowne at the Highlands Lansdowne Health Center at 3902 Annapolis Road.

For now, it operates on Mondays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. only, and Baltimore County officials said while appointments are recommended, no one will be turned away. You can schedule an appointment here.

“We do encourage people who are heading out and about more or if they have traveled and they’re concerned they might have been exposed —or certainly having any symptoms — they should get themselves tested,” Dr. Clifford said.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

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