Md. COVID-19 cases reach 24-hour record high, testing expanded, experts warn to wear masks

CUMBERLAND — Four days after Maryland’s stay-at-home order ended, the state reached a record high number of COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, and medical experts said face masks are crucial to slow spread of the disease.

According to the Maryland Health Department, 60 people died, and there were 1,784 new cases of the virus across the state in 24 hours.

The Allegany County Health Department also reported that a new Cumberland Healthcare Center employee tested positive for the virus, which brings the number of local positive cases to 165. 

“So far, the virus has claimed the lives of 16 Allegany County residents,” ACHD stated in a press release. “The health department stresses the importance of continuing to wear face coverings when out in public and maintaining social distancing of at least six feet between people. Wash and sanitize your hands often, and clean and sanitize frequently-touched surfaces.”

Dr. Judy Stone is an infectious disease specialist who spent 25 years in solo practice in Cumberland, and is a Forbes.com senior contributor for health care issues.

As social restrictions are relaxed and businesses reopen, people need to wear face masks, she said. 

“Universal masking markedly reduces infection rates,” Stone said via email. 

Face shields protect the wearer even more, she said.

Also on Tuesday, Gov. Larry Hogan said 3.5% of the state’s population have been tested for COVID-19.

He issued an emergency order that authorizes the state’s pharmacists to directly order and collect specimens for COVID-19 tests.

The procedures must be “carried out safely by qualified personnel” in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, the order states. 

Meanwhile, Maryland reported at least four cases, one of which was fatal, of Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, and Virginia identified its first case of MIS-C.

The CDC issued an advisory about the syndrome May 14, warning of symptoms including fever, abdominal pain without another explanation, diarrhea, vomiting, rash, red or cracked lips, bumpy tongue, and swollen hands and feet.

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