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Fading Hospitalizations & Positivity Show Promise In Maryland's Fight Against COVID-19 Omicron Variant

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- The fading COVID-19 hospitalizations and positivity rate in Maryland show progress in the fight against the Omicron variant, Gov. Larry Hogan said.

In the last 24 hours, hospitalizations dropped by 131, bringing the total number of COVID-19 patients to 2,103, data from the Maryland Department of Health shows.

Hospitalizations hit a record number on Jan. 11 with 3,462 COVID-19 patients. The statewide positivity rate also reached a peak nearing 30% days prior on Jan. 7. 

"We're doing much, much better than we were a couple of weeks ago with the Omicron surge," Hogan said.

Still, many healthcare systems and workers continue to feel the strain after spending the last two years working around the clock to save lives and keep COVID-19 at bay.

"They are working long hours, they are understaffed like they weren't a year ago, and they are exhausted and weary," Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner said Thursday.

During a COVID-19 update in Frederick County, Gardner said key metrics are still elevated compared to the previous peak seen last winter.

"The county's only hospital, Frederick Health Hospital, has been operating under their crisis standard of care model since Jan. 3 and they continue," Gardner said.

As of Thursday, the county executive said, 83 COVID-19 patients remain hospitalized, up from the county's previous all-time high of 72 patients.

The county recorded another grim milestone last week when a total of 26 residents died, more than any other in the past two years.

Frederick County Health Officer Dr. Barbara Brookmyer noted the Omicron variant accounts for 96% of all COVID-19 infections across the country.

As high transmission remains a concern, testing site expansion and mask distribution events continue statewide.

The county announced that five-packs of KN95 masks will be available at libraries starting Friday and Saturday. The packs are limited to one per household.

For those in need of N95 masks, the federal government has sent shipments to several chains, including CVS and certain Walgreens, among other stores.

Supplies of those masks should start to become available on Friday. Participating Walgreens locations will post signs notifying customers of their availability.

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