Open Safe Maryland 7/7/2020

Is the state effectively containing the novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”)?
Maryland PIRG
Last updated: 7/7/2020


COVID Exit Strategy, a non-partisan group of public health and crisis experts, has been tracking the progress states have made towards meeting the CDC recommended benchmarks states should reach before reopening their economies. On July 7th, 2020, only two states were meeting these metrics, earning a “Green” rating. Currently, Maryland is meeting 3 out 4 CDC benchmarks we are tracking, and is rated “Yellow” by COVID Exit Strategy. 

CDC Benchmark: a 14-day decline in influenza-like illness 

The CDC recommends that states report a 14-day decline in ILI before lifting restrictions.  Maryland HAS MET this benchmark. ILI numbers for outpatient and Emergency Room (“ER”) visits are reported to the CDC weekly. Maryland reported a decrease in ILI from 350 to 295 between the week ending June 20th and the week ending July 4th.

CDC Benchmark: declining COVID+

The CDC recommends a state show a 14-day decline in documented cases of COVID-19 before reopening. Maryland HAS NOT MET this benchmark. The 7-day rolling average for cases increased from 371 to 378 over the last 14-days. The state had met this goal last week.

CDC Benchmark: testing

The CDC recommends a state show a downward trajectory for the percentage of COVID-19 tests that are positive before reopening. Maryland HAS MET this benchmark. Test positivity fell over the last two weeks from 4.8% to 4.6%.

CDC Benchmark: hospital capacity

The CDC recommends a state have sufficient hospital capacity to treat all patients without crisis care (20% capacity available over last 7 days). Maryland HAS MET this benchmark. The highest reported occupancy in the last week was 74% for inpatient and 62% for ICUs. This is an improvement over last week. Maryland's occupancy rates are due in part to Maryland allowing elective surgeries.


Maryland is currently meeting 3 out of 4 the CDC benchmarks that Maryland PIRG has been tracking, indicating that the state has been making progress towards containing the spread of COVID-19 in the community.  However, recent outbreaks in other states have shown that the virus can resurge at any time if businesses or consumers do not follow social distancing recommendations and other public health guidelines, such as wearing a mask in public spaces.  The state should maintain all current restrictions, and consider implementing additional containment measures if COVID+ cases continue to rise.


  • Photo Credit: Ketut Subiyanto, Pexels attribution license.
  • Color rating is based on the recommendations of COVID Exit Strategy. View current data here.
  • Map graphic courtesy of COVID Exit Strategy, retrieved on 6/26/2020.
  • CDC recommendations are derived from the CDC’s “Opening Up America Again” framework, and CDC guidance released on 5/19/2020.
  • Data for ILI and hospital occupancy based on state reports to the CDC.
  • Data for COVID+, test positivity, and hospital / ICU occupancy graph is derived from data collected by the COVID tracking project.
  • We do not track CDC metrics related to total testing volume, reported symptoms of COVID-like illness, and PPE supply due to a lack of consistent standards and / or publicly available data. 


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