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COVID-19 In Maryland: 677 Hospitalized, Positivity Rate Dips to 3.51%

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Fewer than 700 Marylanders are hospitalized with COVID-19 as the statewide positivity rate has fallen to just over 3.5%, according to data released Wednesday by the Maryland Department of Health.

With hospitalizations falling by 38 over the past 24 hours, the number of COVID-19 patients in Maryland hospitals stands at 677. That's down more than 80% from last month's peak of 3,462 hospitalizations.

The positivity rate dipped to 3.51%, a 0.27% decrease since Tuesday and an 88% drop compared to last month's high when the positivity rate flirted with the 30% mark.

As Maryland's key health metrics continue to show signs of improvement, state and local officials have begun rolling back safety measures that were put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Gov. Larry Hogan announced Monday that masks will no longer be required inside state buildings beginning next week. Mask requirements are also being dropped for government buildings in Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties.

Additionally, Hogan also calling for education officials to lift the state's school mask mandate, a policy change the state Board of Education said it will evaluate at next week's meeting.

Maryland added 443 more COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours. In addition, the state added 24,800 reinfections dating back to September to the tally, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 994,577 since the pandemic began.

"(The Maryland Department of Health) counts a case as a reinfection, and includes it as a new case, if an individual tests positive for COVID-19 and has not had a positive COVID-19 test result within the past 90 days," the health department said.

The statewide death toll now stands at 13,705 after increasing by 26 overnight.

Earlier this month, Maryland emerged from a 30-day state of emergency issued by Hogan in response to a COVID-19 surge that pushed hospitals to capacity levels. Yet healthcare leaders say hospitals still face nursing shortages.

Over the past several weeks, Hogan also issued executive orders aimed at shoring up workforces in nursing homes, hospitals and emergency medical services.

Of those currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in Maryland, 531 are adults in acute care and 135 are adults in intensive care. Ten children are in acute care and one is in the ICU.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 95% of Maryland's adult population has gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 89.8% of Marylanders ages 5 and up have gotten a shot.

There are 4,443,743 Marylanders fully vaccinated. The state has administered 11,236,189 doses of the vaccine.

Of those, 4,,671,784 are first doses, 2,019 in the last 24 hours. Another 4,110,129 are second doses, 3,154 in the past day. A total of 333,614 Marylanders have gotten the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, 57 in the past day.

The state has administered 2,120,662 boosters, 4,827 in the past 24 hours.

State officials continue to encourage Marylanders to get boosted, even rolling out a $2 million lottery as an incentive for people to get their boosters.

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