BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Maryland added nearly 2,400 new cases of COVID-19 as hospitalizations rose slightly and the statewide positivity rate dipped below 14%, according to data released Tuesday by the Maryland Department of Health.

While some key metrics are trending in the right direction, state officials and health care leaders are encouraging Marylanders to keep up good habits such as masking, social distancing, washing their hands, and getting vaccinated and boosted.

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Hospitalizations increased by 31, bringing the total of Marylanders hospitalized with COVID-19 to 2,361. With the number of deaths up by 74, 12,978 residents have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

An additional 2,399 cases of COVID-19 were reported since Monday, meaning the state has confirmed a total of 940,713 cases. The positivity rate stands at 13.47%, a 1.34% decrease over the past 24 hours.

Maryland is now three weeks into a 30-day state of emergency Gov. Larry Hogan issued this month in response to elevated infections and hospitalizations, which pushed several hospitals to near- or at-capacity levels.

Of those hospitalized, 1,904 are adults in acute care and 423 are adults in intensive care, state health department data show. Another 24 patients are children in acute care while 10 more remain in intensive care.

Gov. Hogan issued an executive order on Monday that aims to shore up hospital and nursing home staffing by allowing certain nursing students to practice at health care facilities. It also lets respiratory therapy students assist with EMS response.

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According to the governor’s office hospitalizations in Maryland are dropping at the fastest rate nationwide, declining by roughly one-third since they reached a peak of 3,462 on Jan. 11. The positivity rate has also dropped drastically.

In recent weeks, the state has ramped up its testing operations in an effort to keep up with public demand. That includes opening 20 new testing sites statewide with support from the Maryland National Guard.

There are 4,367,361 Marylanders fully vaccinated and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 94.2% of the state’s adults have gotten at least one dose. Among Marylanders age 5 and older, 88.5% of residents have gotten at least one does of the vaccine.

The state has administered 10,941,847 doses of the vaccine.

Of those, 4,609,544 are first doses, 4,011 in the last 24 hours. Another 4,035,927 are second doses, 3,100 in the past day. A total of 331,434 Marylanders have gotten the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, 89 in the past day.

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The state has administered 1,964,942 boosters, 15,963 in the past 24 hours.

CBS Baltimore Staff