BALTIMORE (WJZ) — More than 13,000 Marylanders have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to data released Wednesday by the Maryland Department of Health.

But Gov. Larry Hogan said Wednesday the state is showing marked improvements in its health metrics after the Omicron variant drove a surge in cases and hospitalizations.

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Maryland added 2,900 new cases of COVID-19 as hospitalizations once again declined and the statewide positivity rate dipped to 12.57%.

“The current data continues to show very encouraging trends,” Hogan said while chairing the Board of Public Works meeting.

After peaking 18 days ago, the case rate in the state is dropping “rapidly” and now sits just above 12.5%, he said.

Hospitalizations peaked at 3,462 on Jan. 11 and are now down to 2,234 patients, he added.

The governor said a vast majority of the deaths from the virus reported in the state are among the unvaccinated.

“I want to continue to urge Marylanders to get vaccinated or to get boosted as soon as possible,” Hogan said.

State officials and health care leaders are encouraging Marylanders to keep up good habits such as masking, social distancing, avoiding large gatherings, and getting vaccinated and boosted.

Hospitalizations decreased by 127, bringing the total of Marylanders hospitalized with COVID-19 to 2,234. The number of deaths from COVID-19 surpassed 13,000 on Wednesday. Following an increase of 46 deaths,13,024 Marylanders have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

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An additional 2,900 cases of COVID-19 were reported since Tuesday, meaning the state has confirmed a total of 943,613 cases. The positivity rate has decreased by 0.9% over the past 24 hours.

Maryland is now 22 days into a 30-day state of emergency Hogan issued this month in response to elevated infections and hospitalizations, which pushed several hospitals to near- or at-capacity levels.

Of those hospitalized, 1,775 are adults in acute care and 427 are adults in intensive care, state health department data show. Twenty-six children are in acute care while six 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.

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 4,371,237 Marylanders fully vaccinated and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 94.3% of the state’s adults have gotten at least one dose. When you factor in children age 5 and older, 88.5% of the population has gotten at least one dose of the vaccine.

The state has administered 10,961,234 doses of the vaccine.

Of those, 4,614,099 are first doses, 4,555 in the last 24 hours. Another 4,039,664 are second doses, 3,737 in the past day. A total of 331,573 Marylanders have gotten the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, 139 in the past day.

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The state has administered 1,975,898 boosters, 10,956 in the past 24 hours.

CBS Baltimore Staff