ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Gov. Larry Hogan paid tribute Tuesday to Dr. Joseph Costa—the head of critical care at Baltimore’s Mercy Medical Center.

The 56-year-old doctor, who treated COVID—19 patients, died over the weekend.

“My heart goes out to the family and friends of this incredible doctor, and all of these frontline healthcare workers who really are the heroes of this crisis,“ Gov. Hogan told MSNBC.

Gov. Hogan also spoke to CNN. He has said repeatedly the jump in new coronavirus cases is linked to more testing across Maryland.

“We’ve been ramping up our testing capabilities. Our number of cases is slightly rising because we’ve done about three and a half or four times more testing than we did last month,” Gov. Hogan told CNN Tuesday.

On Monday, he told the network, “Baltimore’s increasing cases is mainly because they weren’t doing enough testing and now they have dramatically ramped up testing.”

Maryland Department of Health coronavirus dashboard for Tuesday, July 28, 2020

The health commissioner in Baltimore City, which saw the state’s second largest increase in new cases Tuesday, said increased testing does not fully explain the rise.

She made her comments last week as the city ordered indoor dining and bar service to close.

“We are seeing the number of new cases increase at a rate higher than we would expect from an increase in testing capacity alone and have seen an increase for multiple days in a row,” said Baltimore health commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa.

Maryland’s Department of Health reported 648 new cases and 23,935 new tests Tuesday. There were 12 more deaths and eight more hospitalized. However, the positivity rate decreased by .07 percent to 4.54 percent.

“We’ve paused with further reopenings because we’ve seen a slight uptick in our hospitalizations,“ Hogan told CNN. “…Many of the states that opened too fast are now re-shutting down, and we don’t want to be in that position.“

On the economic front, the governor pleaded for federal help with the state’s finances.

“The problem is we are on the frontlines providing very much needed services to more and more people with less revenues,” the governor said. “And it’s going to have a major impact. It’s going to be somewhat disastrous.”

At a virtual hearing, Maryland lawmakers got a look at casino revenues—which remain down—and some good news about lottery ticket sales.

 

They have risen more than 20 percent compared to this time last year. You can read more here.

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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