MARYLAND — In Maryland, officials say 7.3 percent of the population has been tested for the new coronavirus.
“Baltimore City, still currently in Stage One of recovery, is above the state average with 8.1% of its population tested,” Gov. Larry Hogan said in a statement Wednesday morning, as the state’s new high-volume testing site opens at the Baltimore Convention Center.
The rest of the state is in stage two of recovery, with businesses such as nail salons and banks able to open with restrictions and indoor dining permitted at 50 percent capacity.
Hogan has expressed his concern about Baltimore lagging behind the rest of the state in allowing businesses to reopen.
“I think it’s absolutely absurd that there are thousands of people gathering in the streets and yet a small business can’t open their doors,” Hogan said at a news conference announcing the return of indoor dining a week ago. ” I think the small retail shops should be able to open. And Baltimore is far below the state average. No excuse.”
Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young said last Friday that retailers could reopen at 50 percent capacity. He said he would announce Wednesday whether to proceed with further reopening. However, on Wednesday morning he issued a statement pushing that back to Friday, saying that he and his health commissioner wanted to assess more data.
After consulting with Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa and our public health experts, we have decided to wait until Friday, June 19, 2020, to make an announcement about the next phase of Baltimore City’s reopening.
— Mayor Bernard C. Jack Young (@mayorbcyoung) June 17, 2020
According to Hogan, the rate of people in Baltimore testing positive for the virus has dropped by 35 percent since June 1.
There are 62,969 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Maryland, state health officials reported Wednesday.
Authorities said 560 people tested positive for the coronavirus in the past day statewide as nearly 15,600 tests were conducted.
The state opened a high-volume testing site Wednesday at the Baltimore Convention Center. It will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, June 17, and Friday, June 19, at 1 West Pratt Street in Baltimore.
“We are strongly encouraging anyone who wants to be tested for COVID-19, and anyone who has been in any large gathering, or who may have been exposed — especially those who are in or around vulnerable populations — to get tested,” Hogan said in a statement Tuesday.
He was reiterating his message from a June 10 news conference where he announced the lifting of restrictions on indoor dining and outdoor amusements. Starting Friday, June 19, he is allowing gyms, malls and casinos to reopen too.
“As more people are returning to the workplace, and as more people are beginning to interact with larger numbers of people,” Hogan said, “testing will become more critical than ever.”
Over the past seven days, the rolling positivity rate was 6.20 percent statewide, meaning 6.2 percent of those tested for the virus came up positive.
In addition to the site at the convention center in Baltimore, a large testing site has been set up at Six Flags America theme park, which will offer appointment-free testing from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Wednesday, June 17, and Friday, June 19, at 13710 Central Avenue in Upper Marlboro.
The Maryland State Fairgrounds is open Tuesdays and Thursday for drive-thru testing at 2200 York Road in Timonium. Make an appointment for testing at the fairgrounds online.
Since the pandemic began in March, state health officials say 526,882 coronavirus tests have been administered across Maryland.
See an interactive map of COVID-19 testing sites in Maryland.
Positive numbers are continuing with respect to hospitalizations and intensive care unit patients, based on the latest Maryland health data.
For three weeks in a row, the number of coronavirus patients in the hospital has decreased.
Coronavirus in Maryland: A Snapshot
Here is a look at Maryland’s coronavirus numbers as of Wednesday, June 17:
Coronavirus At Group Living Facilities
Coronavirus data from congregate living facilities is updated weekly on Wednesdays.
Here are the numbers as of Wednesday, June 17:
Maryland Coronavirus Cases By Jurisdiction
Maryland Coronavirus Cases By Age And Gender
Maryland Coronavirus Cases By Race And Ethnicity
This article originally appeared on the Baltimore Patch