BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- With Maryland setting a new record of more than 2,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations on Wednesday, Gov. Larry Hogan renewed his call for residents to get the vaccine and their booster shots.
"Our statewide COVID-19 hospitalizations have now reached record levels and surpassed 2,000—a surge driven primarily by unvaccinated patients. It cannot be stressed enough that getting vaccinated and getting boosted are your strongest possible defenses against this virus and its variants," Gov. Hogan said.
The latest data from the state Department of Health shows hospitalizations are up to 2,046, an increase of 220 patients over the past 24 hours. That's higher than the state's previous peak of 1,952 hospitalizations, recorded in January of 2021.
Of those hospitalized, 1,657 are adults in adult care and 367 are adults in intensive care. There are 15 children in acute care and another seven in the ICU.
Several hospitals, including Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air and UMD Baltimore Washington Medical Center in Annapolis, shifted to crisis protocols this week, citing an explosion in the number of COVID-19 patients they're treating.
The Maryland Hospital Association is asking Hogan to reinstate a limited public health emergency, saying hospitals are nearly full and their emergency departments are "stretched incredibly thin."
Health experts have said the surge is being fueled by the unvaccinated, who make up roughly three-quarters of COVID-19 patients. The rest are described as vaccinated people at heightened risk either due to age or preexisting conditions.
Earlier this month, hospitals statewide were directed to free up beds and suspend non-emergency procedures once hospitalizations surpassed the 1,500-mark. The state also established a surge operations center to help manage bed capacity, and pledged $100 million to help shore up staffing at hospitals and nursing homes.
"Under a state health directive, hospitals are required to implement pandemic plans to suspend elective surgeries and manage their patient census," the governor said in part. "Whatever resources hospital systems have requested, we are providing."
The health department reported 30 new deaths Wednesday, bringing the total to 11,467 Marylanders who have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
Cases rose by a record 10,873 to 686,237, while the percentage of people testing positive in Maryland is up to 19.31%, a 1.73% increase over the past 24 hours.
The increase in positive tests comes as Maryland has ramped up its testing efforts.
Earlier this month, the state expanded testing at its Annapolis and Prince George's County sites to six days a week, and Hogan activated the Maryland National Guard to support those operations.
The governor said he has "directed state health officials to take whatever steps are necessary to acquire additional at-home rapid test kits," and he renewed his call for the federal government to do everything in its power to make test kits available.
There are 4,251,352 Marylanders fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 91.7% of adults have gotten at least one dose.
The state has administered 10,281,759 vaccine doses. Of those, 4,462,725 are first doses, 7,416 in the past 24 hours. Another 3,928,492 are second doses, 4,406 in the last day. The state has given out 1,563,480 booster doses, 23,297 in the past day.
A total of 327,062 Marylanders have gotten the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, 156 over the last 24 hours.
Once again, the governor reiterated that the best way for Marylanders to protect themselves and their loved ones is by getting the vaccine and booster shots.
"The booster shots provide the strongest protection against the highly transmissible Omicron variant," Hogan said. "The most important thing Marylanders can do is get boosted now."
- Coronavirus Resources: How To Get Help In Maryland
- Latest coronavirus stories from WJZ
- Latest CDC Guidelines
By Age Range and Gender
|Data not available||1||(5)||0*|
By Race and Ethnicity
|Data not available||56,829||(123)||0*|
|Data not available||339||(127)||0*|
for more features.