BALTIMORE (WJZ) — As Maryland contends with rising COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, the percentage of residents testing positive is approaching 30%, according to the latest data from the state Department of Health.

Data released Thursday shows 3,172 Marylanders are hospitalized with COVID-19, an increase of 54 patients since Wednesday. Infections rose by 12,735, bringing the total of confirmed cases to 788,965 since the start of the pandemic. At least 11,809 residents have died of COVID-19 after the state recorded 54 new deaths.

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The statewide positivity rate rose to 29.98%, a 1.42% increase in the past 24 hours. That’s compared to 26.88% on April 17, 2020, when Maryland’s testing volume was a fraction of what it is now.

The elevated metrics come as Maryland is under a state of emergency issued by Gov. Larry Hogan, while officials and healthcare leaders take steps to curb the spread of COVID-19 and keep hospitals from being overwhelmed.

On Wednesday, Hogan attributed the surge in cases to the highly transmissible Omicron variant, which he said is “now clearly the dominant variant among our state’s lab-confirmed cases.”

The governor said genome sequencing by the University of Maryland found that 88% of recent samples tested positive for Omicron, with that figure rising to 91% among samples taken from hospitalized patients.

In recent weeks, the state has ramped up its testing operations in an effort to keep up with public demand. That includes the opening of 20 new testing sites statewide that will be staffed by the Maryland National Guard.

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Hospitals statewide have freed up beds and scaled back non-emergency procedures, with some shifting to crisis standards of care, in response to the COVID-19 surge.

Hogan issued an executive order Tuesday empowering the Department of Health to regulate hospital capacity and resources, and authorizing retired, out-of-state and graduate nurses to practice here. A second order aims to beef up EMS response.

Of those hospitalized, 2,626 are adults in acute care and 501 are adults in intensive care, state health department data show. There are 33 children in acute care and 12 more in the ICU.

There are 4,278,718 Marylanders fully vaccinated and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 92.3% of the state’s adults have gotten at least one dose.

The state has administered 10,449,952 doses of the vaccine. Of those, 4,500,793 are first doses, 6,489 of them in the past 24 hours. Another 3,950,438 are second doses, 4,263 of them in the last day. The state has administered 1,670,441 booster doses, 17,830 in the past 24 hours.

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A total of 328,280 Marylanders have gotten the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, 155 over the last 24 hours.

CBS Baltimore Staff