BALTIMORE (WJZ) — One day after Gov. Larry Hogan’s blunt words telling Marylanders to “just wear the damn masks,” the state recorded its third-highest daily rise in infections since the pandemic began with 1,541 new cases—a majority among younger people—and 11 more lives lost.

 

Dr. Camille Upchurch is the chief of medicine at LifeBridge Northwest Hospital.

“In very early August, there was a spike similar to this,” she told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren. “I’m actually hopeful that our population can adhere to certain behaviors that would limit the rise, but we are entering that respiratory virus flu season when things are colder, and if things continue to climb, I would not be surprised.”

 

Dr. Upchurch said she hopes this is a wake-up call to stay vigilant. “It’s high. It’s concerning. I’m hopeful this is enough of a warning for folks to follow safe behaviors that limit the spread,” Dr. Upchurch said.

Maryland’s positivity rate is now 4.37 percent, up yet again by .16 percent in the past 24 hours according to numbers from the Maryland Department of Health.

CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE:

At the Baltimore Convention Center, one of Maryland’s busiest walk-in testing sites, the state is moving operations indoors in anticipation of colder weather ahead. They said there is adequate ventilation and space to socially distance.

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball is calling for faster testing results statewide.

“We should have a goal of one day. We can’t wait. This virus isn’t waiting,” Ball said.

Contact tracing shows a majority of new cases are tied to large gatherings and travel. That is a warning sign less than three weeks from Thanksgiving.

“I am very concerned—especially as we are getting closer to the holiday season—when we see our numbers go up like this. Here in Howard County, we saw the second-highest daily rate that we’ve seen throughout this pandemic,“ Ball said.

Local jurisdictions can be more restrictive than the state at their discretion but not less restrictive.

Baltimore City announced new restrictions on businesses that go into effect next Thursday, November 12 at 5 p.m. They would limit restaurant and retail capacity and close bars that are not serving food.

In Howard County, Ball is not increasing restrictions yet but signaled he would be open to them if key metrics worsened.

“I was one of the first in the state and region to shut down our malls. I am willing to make the tough decisions,“ he told Hellgren. “Our data are better than many other jurisdictions around Maryland but things are still concerning, and I will do what needs to be done.“

Baltimore County’s Executive said he is trying to balance the economic impact as cases surge.

“We continue at this point to be aligned with the state reopening guidelines,“ Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said. “We have made millions of dollars available to our small businesses, particularly our bars and restaurants.“

 

He urged people to continue to wear masks and avoid large gatherings.

 

“The numbers are concerning across the state of Maryland. It is not just the Baltimore region. It is everywhere,“ Olszewski said. “It is a stark reminder that people have to take this seriously.”

 

Baltimore City alone has seen the number of deaths rise a staggering 300 percent compared to four weeks ago.

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.

Comments
  1. Hootie Hoo the Night Owl says:

    how can that be when Trump said it’s a hoax, it’s over he did a great job & then went golfing as he lost reelection?

    Reopen all you want to, COVID will only get worse until there is a vaccine…maybe in months, maybe in years.

    Bars & restaurants especially are spreader sites since people there do not wear masks. You want to have restaurant food then carry out. If you have an addiction & need alcohol, liquor stores are open.

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