BALTIMORE (WJZ) – Fewer than 800 Marylanders are hospitalized with COVID-19, and the positivity rate has dropped below 4% for the first time in three months, according to data released Monday by the Maryland Department of Health.
The positivity rate has dropped to 3.77%, a decrease of 0.55% over the last 24 hours and a decrease of 87% since it peaked at almost 30% last month. This is the first time that the positivity rate has been below 4% since November 23, when it was 3.9%.
With admissions declining by 72, the number of COVID-19 patients at Maryland hospitals is 751, which is well below last month’s peak of nearly 3,500.
Maryland added 425 more COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of confirmed cases nationwide to 970,732 since the pandemic began.
The state-wide death toll is now at 13,666 after rising by eight.
Referring to improved polls, Governor Larry Hogan announced Monday that from Feb. 22, masks will no longer be required inside state buildings and facilities.
“Given the dramatic declines in our health surveys, we are now able to take another step toward normality in state operations,” Hogan said. “In addition, we continue to offer paid leave to government employees to get their booster shots, which provide critical protection against the virus and its variants.”
Under existing policies, schools can lift their mask mandates if they meet certain “off-ramp” requirements – if 80% of the county’s population is vaccinated, if 80% of the school’s students and staff are vaccinated, or if the county’s transmission rate is ” low “or” moderate “for 14 consecutive days.
The State Board of Education said it plans to assess the need for face masks in schools when it meets next week.
Maryland has recently emerged from a 30 day state of emergency issued by Hogan in response to elevated hospitalizations and infections that pushed many hospitals to capacity levels. Yet Health leaders say hospitals are still facing a shortage of nursing care.
Over the past few weeks, Hogan has also issued executive orders aimed at strengthening the workforce in nursing homes, hospitals and emergency medical services.
Of those currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in Maryland, 583 are adults in acute and 157 are adults in intensive care. Ten children are in emergency care, and one is in the intensive care unit.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 95% of Maryland’s adult population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 89.7% of Marylanders aged 5 and up have been given a shot.
There are 4,437,515 Marylanders fully vaccinated and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The state has administered 11,216,488 million doses of the vaccine.
Of these, 4,667,782 are first doses, 1,210 within the last 24 hours. A further 4,104,026 are second doses, 1,551 within the last 24 hours. A total of 333,489 Marylanders have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, 29 in the past 24 hours.
The state has administered 2,111,191 boosters, 3,278 within the last 24 hours.