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COVID-19 Metrics Are Trending Down In Maryland, But Don't Drop Your Guard, Experts Say

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Seam splitting infection and hospitalization numbers are starting to tick down slightly statewide after the Omicron surge broke all-time pandemic high records, according to data released by the state Department of Health Wednesday.

"We're heading in the right direction but if we let our guard down, it could certainly get worse again," said Sinai Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Esti Schabelman.

Over the past 24 hours, the state is reporting 4,040 new COVID-19 infections. The positivity rate is hovering just below 19%, which is down significantly from the nearly 30% recorded two weeks ago. Although hospitalizations have dropped slightly to 3051 patients, healthcare systems and workers are still being stretched thing.

For about a month, the Omicron variant has taken center stage in the United States and continues to linger. According to Dr. Schabelman, this is longer than the surge in South Africa, where the variant originated.

"The reason for that is because we have a higher vaccinated population. We also have a slightly different demographic. They're a much younger population. That should stretch out the length of time that the surge takes, which is good for our healthcare system because taking care of, for example, 100,000 people in a month is a lot easier than taking care of 100,000 people in a week," explained Dr. Schabelman.

Using the data from South Africa, doctors are able to make difficult predictions on when the Omicron variant surge could start to wind down.

"I'd say we still probably have 2 to 4 weeks of this surge left," said Dr. Schabelman.

As the current surge may trail off soon, there's way to decrease the risk of the next variant from developing.

"The most important thing you can do is to get vaccinated, wear a mask and social distance because you then prevent the spread of the disease, you then prevent the replication of the disease and you prevent a new mutation occurring," said Dr. Schabelman.

This is something Baltimore resident, Samuel Boias, is willing to do and hopes others will consider.

"Don't just think about you. Think about everybody. You don't know what your neighbor's health situation is like. You don't know if you going out without a mask could be the reason they're in the hospital tomorrow."

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