US Md. officials urge testing for travelers amid elevated coronavirus numbers

20:35  01 december  2020
20:35  01 december  2020 Source:   washingtonpost.com

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Maryland officials are urging residents who traveled during the Thanksgiving holiday to get tested for the coronavirus as the state continues to see increases in its test positivity rate and the number of people hospitalized with the illness.

Maryland has 1,583 people in the hospital being treated for the virus, the highest number the state has seen since late April.

The state’s coronavirus test positivity rate has jumped to 7.33 percent, fueled in part by a surge in rural parts of the state. Somerset County on the Eastern Shore, for example, has a positivity rate of nearly 20 percent, while Garrett and Allegany counties in Western Maryland are approaching 15 percent.

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Mike Ricci, a spokesman for Gov. Larry Hogan (R), said the Eastern Correctional Institute in Somerset accounts for most of the active cases in the county.

The greater Washington region on Tuesday reported 5,126 new cases and 68 additional deaths. Maryland had 2,765 cases and 32 deaths, Virginia had 2,228 cases and 31 deaths, and D.C. had 133 cases and five deaths.

[Coronavirus cases and metrics in D.C., Maryland and Virginia]

The seven-day average number of new cases in the region Tuesday stood at 4,775 infections — down slightly from a high of 4,989 recorded on Thanksgiving Day.

Hogan has scheduled a news conference for Tuesday afternoon to provide an update on the continued increase in the state’s positivity rate, its hospitalizations and efforts to slow the spread of the virus.

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In recent weeks, Hogan has required bars and restaurants in Maryland to close at 10 p.m. for dine-in service and reduced the capacity allowed in retail stores, religious facilities, fitness centers, personal service facilities and bowling alleys to 50 percent. He also limited visits to nursing homes.

Before the holiday, Hogan announced an “all-hands-on-deck” effort to ensure that bars and restaurants adhered to restrictions. State police were directed to be a part of enforcement normally handled by local police and health departments.

Dana Hedgpeth contributed to this report.

Read more: Larry Hogan standing in front of a building: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) on Nov. 17. The governor says he has lost 50 pounds in the last several months. © Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) on Nov. 17. The governor says he has lost 50 pounds in the last several months.

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