ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland is seeing a troubling rise in COVID-19 cases with more than one thousand new infections reported again Wednesday. Maryland is one of at least 19 states seeing a larger increase.

The statewide positivity rate is up to 4.59%. Anne Arundel, Carroll, Cecil and Harford counties have positivity rates above 5%.

“We have people who are too tired of the pandemic restrictions. We have the loosening of restrictions. We have the variants that are spreading. There are a lot of factors that make it more challenging,” said Gigi Gronvall, Ph.D., of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

 

She encouraged people to continue to wear masks. Maryland remains under a statewide mask mandate but has loosened restrictions this month, including eliminating capacity limits at restaurants and retail in much of the state.

 

As for variants, Maryland is seeing more confirmed cases of the UK strain. They are up 18% in just three days to 291 according to the Centers for Disease Control.

“I would describe it as a race between the vaccines and the variants,” Governor Larry Hogan said at a press conference Tuesday.

He said the New York variant is “our biggest concern now.”

 

“Right now, we’re seeing big spikes in New York and New Jersey coming down from the Northeast. We want to still advise people if they’re traveling out of state that they should get tested,” Hogan said.

CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE:

Chicago has listed Maryland under a travel alert—requiring a negative COVID test or quarantine.

City of Chicago travel advisory. Courtesy:Chicago.gov screenshot

With Maryland’s case count rising, the state is racing to open more mass vaccination sites. Hagerstown’s site will begin vaccinations Thursday by appointment only.

 

In Baltimore County, one in four people have now received one dose of the vaccine and the state is increasing supply to the health department.

 

Baltimore County will soon have five vaccination sites including two new sites at the Sollers Point Multi-Purpose Center in Turner Station and Sisters Academy in Lansdowne.

 

“The folks in the communities will go to that location. They feel much more comfortable and they feel it’s a trusted place to go,” said Dr. Greg Branch, the Baltimore County health officer.

The new vaccine clinics will be open weekly and serve 300 to 500 people each week.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.