BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Maryland’s COVID-19 hospitalizations and statewide positivity rate continued their descent Thursday in what Gov. Larry Hogan has indicated is a sign of the state’s progress against the Omicron variant.

The state added over 3,200 more COVID-19 cases as its hospitalizations fell to slightly more than 2,100 and the percentage of people testing positive dipped below 12%, according to data released Thursday by the state Department of Health.

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Speaking to the Maryland Board of Public Works on Wednesday, the governor said the state has seen improvements across its key health metrics after infections and hospitalizations surged over the past month.

“The current data continues to show very encouraging trends,” Gov. Hogan said.

The statewide positivity rate reached a peak earlier this month, flirting with 30% on Jan. 7 and its hospitalizations hit a record 3,462 on Jan. 11.

Maryland’s COVID-19 death toll now stands at 13,078 after increasing by 54 deaths over the past 24 hours.

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 residents to keep up good habits such as masking, social distancing, avoiding large gatherings, and getting vaccinated and boosted.

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Hospitalizations decreased by 131, bringing the total of Marylanders hospitalized with COVID-19 to 2,103. Of those, 1,683 are adults in acute care and 396 are adults in intensive care. Eighteen children are in acute care and six more are in the ICU.

An additional 3,256 cases of COVID-19 were reported since Wednesday, meaning the state has confirmed a total of 946,869 cases. The positivity rate has decreased by 0.98% over the past 24 hours.

Maryland is now 23 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.

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 4,376,126 Marylanders fully vaccinated and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 94.4% of the state’s adults have gotten at least one dose. When you factor in children age 5 and older, 88.6% of the population has gotten at least one dose of the vaccine.

The state has administered 10,981,300 doses of the vaccine.

Of those, 4,618,958 are first doses, 4,859 in the last 24 hours. Another 4,044,443 are second doses, 4,779 in the past day. A total of 331,683 Marylanders have gotten the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, 110 in the past day.

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The state has administered 1,986,216 boosters, 10,318 in the past 24 hours.

CBS Baltimore Staff