BALTIMORE (WJZ) — With Maryland reporting a surge in new COVID-19 infections, Governor Larry Hogan is eager to get more people vaccinated.

“We’re going to put needles in everybody’s arms—wherever we can find them,” the governor said.

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Hogan spoke Thursday afternoon following his tour of the new mass vaccination site in Hagerstown, and he made this prediction:

“I’m hopeful that we can get a huge portion of the population vaccinated in the months of April and May. I know the President said he’d like to see the return to some sort of normalcy by the Fourth of July, but I’d like to see it done by Memorial Day,” Hogan said.

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Most Marylanders crave that normalcy, and as of Thursday, 27% of Marylanders have received at least one shot of vaccine.

“I want to get back to see my family, I love traveling. [The vaccine] gives me an added layer of peace,” said Janice Langham, who received a dose of the vaccine last week.

 

The state also announced it would follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines for social distancing in schools. The CDC now says students should stay just three feet from each other but six feet from adults.

“Making sure schools are following CDC guidance with all the layers of distancing and masking as well as ventilation is really key,” said Kerri Althoff, Ph.D., of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Baltimore City is set to relax restrictions Friday—doubling capacity at restaurants and retail.

Starting March 26th at 6 a.m., indoor dining will be allowed to resume at 50% capacity and outdoor dining will be allowed to increase to 75% capacity. Outdoor tents must be open on all four sides.

Also allowed to operate at 50% capacity are:

  • Religious institutions
  • Personal services facilities
  • Retailers and malls
  • Indoor recreation sites and establishments other than hookah and cigar lounges (which can operate retail portions of businesses at 50% capacity)
  • Outdoor recreation establishments
  • Fitness centers (classes will be limited to 10 participants or 25% capacity)
  • Casinos
  • Libraries/museums/zoos/aquariums

Theaters and outdoor entertainment venues will be allowed to live-stream performances. Indoor theaters will be limited to 50% capacity or 100 people.

 

The latest Baltimore City numbers show a 100% increase in COVID cases and an 88% increase in positivity compared to four weeks ago.

Much of the rest of Maryland—including all neighboring counties—is operating at full capacity.

Baltimore City’s positivity rate was at 3.3% Thursday, below some neighboring counties.

“It’s a process. It’s not a light switch where we turn off COVID and turn back on what our life used to be like. It’s going to take some time for the vaccine to do its work,” said Johns Hopkins’ Professor Colleen Barry, Ph.D.

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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.