The average proportion of COVID-19 tests in Maryland which are coming back positive, 28.56%, is higher than at any point during the coronavirus pandemic, the state health department reported Wednesday.
Maryland had set a record for its average testing positivity rate Tuesday, when the proportion of tests returned positive over the last week reached 27.44, but the figure lurched up by 1.12 percentage points, according to health department data.
The rates reported Tuesday and Wednesday top previous pandemic peaks established in April of 2020, when not a month had passed since the coronavirus was first identified in Maryland and when tests were exceptionally scarce, the data shows.
Health officials also reported almost 100 new COVID-19 fatalities Tuesday and Wednesday, bringing the virus’ death toll in the state to 11,755, according to the health department. The state confirmed 10,286 new coronavirus cases over the last 24 hours, bringing the pandemic case count to more than 776,000 as of Wednesday morning.
Meanwhile, as hospitals continue to struggle to care for a record-setting influx of patients, which has pushed many past capacity and forced some to adopt crisis care standards, the state reported 61 more hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients statewide Wednesday.
Hospitals are caring for some 3,118 coronavirus patients, after eclipsing 3,000 Tuesday for the first time throughout the pandemic, according to the health department.
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Hogan, speaking at the top of the Board of Public Works meeting Wednesday morning, said that data from the University of Maryland Medical System found that 74% of its COVID-19 patients over the last 30 days were not vaccinated, while 24% had completed a two-dose course or gotten the single-shot inoculation.
About 2% of the patients hospitalized over that time frame had gotten their booster shot, Hogan said. The Republican along with various public health experts continue to promote the urgency of receiving a booster shot, which they say provides the best protection against serious illness, hospitalization and death.
Health officials reported roughly 13,100 booster shots administered over the last 24 hours, bringing to about 27% the proportion of Maryland’s total population which have gotten boosters, the data shows.
The metrics come as Maryland laboratories have found that the highly contagious omicron variant has taken over as the dominant strain in the state, Hogan said.
Some 88.5% of recent coronavirus samples sent for further lab analysis were found to be the omicron variant, Hogan said. And of the samples of patients who were hospitalized, about 91% were determined to be omicron, he said.
This article will be updated.