By Brandon Weigel

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Following the discovery of the new Omicron variant of COVID-19, Gov. Larry Hogan on Monday urged Marylanders to get vaccinated against the virus or receive a booster shot.

“While there is still much unknown about the Omicron variant and how it will spread, the most important thing Marylanders can do right now is to get vaccinated or get a booster shot,” he said. “It is the best way to maintain your immunity and protect yourself and your family from severe illness.”

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Hogan said he received a briefing from the state’s COVID-19 Response Team on Monday morning about the new variant.

“We are closely monitoring the situation, and we will provide further public health updates to Marylanders as more information becomes available,” he said.

On Nov. 19, Hogan expanded eligibility for booster shots to all residents age 18 and older.

Maryland reported 762 new COVID-19 cases on Monday morning, and the state’s positivity rate rose to 4.76%.

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As of Monday, the state has administered 9,330,408 doses of the vaccine, including 967,667 booster shots, according to state health department data.

Health officials reported 4,084,557 Marylanders are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

During a noon press briefing, President Joe Biden urged Americans to remain calm as scientists around the world study the Omicron variant.

“Sooner or later, we’re going to see cases of this new variant here in the United States,” he said. “We’ll have to face this new threat, just as we faced those that have come before it.”

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The president said he would announced a more detailed strategy for the new variant on Thursday.

Brandon Weigel