Gov. Hogan expands mask mandate, details new COVID-19 data trends on July 29

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MARYLAND (WDVM) — Gov. Larry Hogan spoke live Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. for updates on COVID-19 response in Maryland. The updates include a public health travel advisory for states with a 10% positivity rate, an expanded mask mandate and new data trends regarding positive cases.

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Maryland’s 7-day percent positivity rate is 4.77%, and has remained below the 5% goal recommended by the World Health Organization, Hogan said.

Montgomery County has consistently declined its percent positivity rate, Hogan said. It was one of the hardest-hit areas in the state for COVID-19 cases. The department of health website reports the county has had 17,305 total positive cases since tracking began.

Cases were predominantly in older people in the beginning, and now 56% of the new reported cases are Marylanders under the age of 40, the governor said. Younger patients are now being hospitalized, although they are not as sick as the older patients have been, said Hogan. There’s been a 28% increase in hospitalizations over the past two weeks.

Hogan said in terms of moving forward with reopening, Maryland will remain paused in stage 2 for now. The state entered its phased stage 2 reopening on June 12.

Attending family gatherings and house parties, as well as outdoor events, were the leading activities reported by the people with new positive COVID-19 results, according to Hogan.

The largest impacted group of new COVID-19 cases were health care workers, Hogan reported. The state is encouraging employers to allow continued teleworking for those who are able to telework.

People who recently tested positive for COVID-19 work in these industries, Gov. Hogan said on July 29, 2020.

The state is strongly advising travel against the following states due to their high positivity rates:

Florida, Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, Nebraska, Idaho and more.

Maryland is also expanding its face mask mandate to require face masks in outdoor public areas where it’s not possible to maintain social distancing. This goes into effect on July 31.

BACKGROUND

Hogan last gave an update on July 22, during which he was joined by the State Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Karen Salmon. Together, they clarified that local school systems in Maryland are free to plan their own back-to-school procedures for the fall 2020-spring 2021 academic year.

The state’s only limitations are:

  • All schools systems bringing students back into the buildings must follow CDC guidelines: Hand washing, physical distancing, and face masks must be worn by all staff and students.
  • All school systems must follow state protocol for addressing an outbreak or positive case.

Salmon said all school systems should submit their plans to the state for review by August 14. Montgomery County Public Schools and Washington County Public Schools have already chosen to go virtual.

Montgomery County’s school decision included canceling fall and winter sports. The Frederick County School Board has not yet publicized a final plan for reopening schools in the fall.

LATEST COVID-19 DATA

As of July 29, 2020, the Maryland Department of Health reports the following COVID-19 data:

Confirmed cases: 86,285 (+761 new cases in last 24 hr period)
Persons tested negative: 792,674 (+9,942 negative results in last 24 hr period)
Total testing volume: 1,160,443
Confirmed deaths: 3,347 (+20 new deaths in last 24 hr period)
Currently hospitalized: 571
Ever hospitalized : 12,448


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