ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — The United States is in the midst of a "major surge" of coronavirus cases, but Maryland is prepared, Gov. Larry Hogan said Thursday.
Hogan made the remarks during a news conference Thursday evening, calling the surge an "indisputable fact." Thursday marked the second consecutive day on which the state reported more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases.
People who said the pandemic would end the day after the election were "dead wrong," the governor said.
While statewide metrics don't warrant taking dramatic action just yet, Hogan said Maryland is at a "pivotal moment in this fight."
"Maryland is prepared for the fall surge," a slide in Hogan's presentation read.
- Coronavirus Resources: How To Get Help In Maryland
- TIMELINE: Coronavirus In Maryland, Tracking The Spread
- Latest coronavirus stories from WJZ
- Latest CDC Guidelines
Maryland has now reported 149,964 COVID-19 cases, including 1,198 on Thursday alone. That's the highest one-day total since July 25, Hogan said. In addition, 4,035 deaths have been reported in the state.
While the state is nowhere near its peak number of hospitalizations and intensive care cases, over the past two weeks Maryland has seen a "concerning increase" in both metrics, he said.
The number of hospitalizations continues to be higher among older Marylanders despite the bulk of new cases being among younger people, the governor added.
HOGAN NEWS CONFERENCE UPDATES:
- Coronavirus Latest: Gov. Hogan Renews Call For More Healthcare Workers To Avoid Shortages
- 'Just Wear A Damn Mask,' Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan Says As COVID-19 Cases Increase In The State
- 7 Maryland Counties' Positivity Rates Are Above 5%, Gov. Hogan Says
- Nearly 40 Maryland Companies Working On COVID-19 Vaccines, Therapeutics
Seven jurisdictions, including Allegany, Dorchester, Garrett, Harford, Prince George's, Queen Anne's and Somerset counties, now have positivity rates over 5%, he said. The surge in new cases in Allegany County led the state to set up a new testing site at the county's fairgrounds.
Hogan said Maryland is better positioned than it was in the spring and is better prepared than most other states.
Still, "I cannot stress strongly enough that we cannot afford to let our guard down," he warned, adding Marylanders should not become complacent despite "coronavirus fatigue" -- people becoming sick of social distancing and mask requirements -- setting in for many.
The governor also encouraged people to continue teleworking when possible, practice physical distancing, wash their hands frequently and avoid out-of-state travel, especially as the holidays approach.
Hogan said Marylanders are strongly advised to cancel or postpone travel to areas with spiking numbers, including those with positivity rates of 10% or higher. Those who do travel should get tested and self-quarantine while waiting for the results.
It's more important than ever to remain cautious, he said, since contact tracing continues to show family and social gatherings are the most likely source of transmission.
WATCH BELOW: Hogan's Full News Conference
for more features.