BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- For the first time in over seven months, Maryland's COVID-19 positivity rate has fallen below 2%, according to data released Thursday by the Maryland Department of Health.
The seven-day positivity rate for COVID-19 dipped to 1.9%, a 0.16% decrease since Wednesday and a 93.66% drop from a peak of nearly 30% in early January.
Hospitalizations fell by 29 over the past 24 hours, bringing the number of people hospitalized to 345. That represents one-tenth of the number of hospitalizations recorded during January's surge.
Of those patients, 267 are adults in acute care and another 71 are adults in intensive care. Four children are hospitalized in acute care and three more are in the ICU.
Maryland added 471 more COVID-19 cases since Wednesday, bringing the total of confirmed cases statewide to 1,003,510 since the pandemic began. A small fraction of those are reinfections dating back to September.
The statewide death toll now stands at 13,897, an increase of 14 deaths over the past 24 hours.
With Maryland's health metrics showing significant improvement in recent weeks, state and local officials have begun rolling back safety measures that were put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The Maryland State Board of Education voted Tuesday to rescind its mask mandate for public schools, leaving it up to local school districts, a decision that was approved by a Maryland General Assembly panel.
The state continues to encourage residents to get vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19, even offering a $2 million lottery as an incentive for boosters.
Maryland has administered 11,384,755 doses of the vaccine, and 4,490,142 Marylanders are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
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