BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Maryland recorded nearly 10,000 new cases of COVID-19, though the positivity rate and hospitalizations continued to dip, according to data released Friday by the Maryland Department of Health.

The latest round of health department data shows hospitalizations fell by 65 during the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of COVID-19 patients currently being treated by hospitals throughout Maryland to 3,363.

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The statewide COVID-19 positivity rate is 24.77%, a 0.68% decrease.

With the state reporting 9,986 new cases since Thursday, a total of 881,922 cases have been documented in Maryland since the outset of the pandemic.

A total of 12,303 Marylanders have now died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, including 69 deaths reported over the past 24 hours.

The latest metrics come as Maryland is under a state of emergency issued by Gov. Larry Hogan in response to elevated cases and hospitalizations. Several hospitals have shifted to crisis protocols to keep up with demand for care.

Of those hospitalized, 2,755 are adults in acute care settings and 577 are adults in intensive care. Another 23 are children in acute care and eight are in the ICU.

Hogan has 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.”

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Hogan issued an executive order on Jan. 4 empowering the Maryland 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.

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.

The governor said six of those sites—UM Shore Regional Health, TidalHealth, Garrett Regional Medical Center, Holy Cross Germantown Hospital, Howard County General and UM Baltimore Washington Medical Center—will be up and running by the end of next week.

Additionally, Hogan announced that Maryland will be distributing 20 million N95 and KN95 masks through local health departments, state-run testing and vaccine clinics and nursing homes next week.

Starting on Jan. 21, the governor said, the state will also be requiring staff, volunteers and vendors at nursing homes to test for COVID-19 twice a week in areas where community transmission is high.

There are 4,330,922 Marylanders fully vaccinated and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 93.1% of the state’s adults have gotten at least one dose. Among Marylanders age 5 and older, 87% of residents have gotten at least one does of the vaccine.

The state has administered 10,709,773 doses of the vaccine. Of those, 4,556,534 are first doses, 8,835 in the last 24 hours. Another 4,000,998 are second doses, 15,283 in the past day. The state has administered 1,822,317 booster doses, including 24,635 in the past 24 hours.

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A total of 329,924 Marylanders have gotten the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, 237 in the past day.

CBS Baltimore Staff