Maryland records more than 1,800 new COVID cases for first time since April

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BALTIMORE — Maryland health officials reported more than 1,828 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, a mark not recorded since April 9.

Thursday’s tally marks three consecutive days of more than 1,000 new cases, health department data shows.

News of the increase in cases comes after Gov. Larry Hogan on Wednesday acknowledged climbing COVID-19 metrics, which he associated with the changing seasons. It also comes a week after Thanksgiving, when people traveled to see family and got together to celebrate.

Hogan urged residents to be responsible by getting vaccinated while scientists studied the threat of the emerging omicron variant.

“We’re beginning to see the anticipated seasonal uptick in some of our key health metrics, including our positivity rate, which has now increased to more than 5%,” the Republican governor said.

Indeed, the state’s average testing positivity rate reached 5.22% Wednesday, the highest mark since April 20, according to the health department.

Hogan reiterated the importance of getting vaccinated, including obtaining a booster shot to achieve maximum protection against COVID-19, a measure which dramatically reduces the possibility of serious illness or hospitalization. Roughly 76% of Maryland’s population has been at least partially vaccinated, and the state has administered over 1 million booster doses, according to health department data.

Health department data shows 741 people remained hospitalized statewide Thursday with complication from the coronavirus. That’s roughly 500 fewer than April 9, the last time the state eclipsed 1,828 new cases.

“Our primary mission remains protecting the vulnerable and preventing hospitalization and death,” Hogan said Wednesday. “The most important thing you can do right now to maintain immunity and protect your family from severe illness is to get vaccinated.”

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