Maryland records its deadliest day of coronavirus outbreak

Maryland has had its deadliest day of the coronavirus outbreak since the pandemic began, but the grim milestone coincided with a modest decrease in hospitalizations.

The 74 confirmed deaths reported Saturday by the state’s health department was the largest single-day number and brought the total number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths in Maryland to 797, according to Mike Ricci, a spokesman for Gov. Larry Hogan. The state said an additional 78 deaths were probably caused by the virus but hadn’t been confirmed by a laboratory test.

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The number of confirmed coronavirus cases rose by 1,150 for a total of 17,766.

The state said 1,408 people remained hospitalized on Saturday, a decrease of 17 hospitalizations since Friday.

Hogan has said the hospitalization rate and number of patients admitted to intensive care are the key metrics for state officials in assessing Maryland’s recovery from the outbreak.

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Hogan on Friday announced plans aimed at phasing in a safe and gradual approach to reopening the state’s businesses and easing restrictions on activities. The governor said the state’s initial reopening steps happen in early May, but he conceded that was an optimistic forecast.

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“If we try to rush this and if we don’t do it in a thoughtful and responsible way, it could cause a rebound of the virus which could deepen the economic crisis, prolong the fiscal problems and slow the economic recovery,” Hogan said.