BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The number of Marylanders hospitalized with COVID-19 fell below 2,000 for the first time since late December, according to data released Friday by the Maryland Department of Health.

On Friday, Gov. Larry Hogan touted the improving metrics, as well as the state surpassing 11 million vaccine doses administered.

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“We continue to see very encouraging trends in our key health metrics, including rapid declines in our hospitalizations, case rate, and positivity rate,” he said. “To continue our recovery, it is critical that all eligible Marylanders get their booster shot as soon as possible. No one should think of a booster as just a bonus or an extra dose—it is the best way to protect yourself from severe illness from this virus and its variants.”

According to the health department, 1,979 residents are hospitalized with COVID-19, following a decrease of 124 patients. There are 1,604 adults in acute care and 352 in intensive care. Seventeen children are in acute care and six are in intensive care. The last time hospitalizations were below 2,000 was Dec. 27, when there were 1,826 patients.

The state added 3,011 more COVID-19 cases and the percentage of people testing positive dipped to 10.93%, according to the data.

Maryland’s COVID-19 death toll now stands at 13,131 after an additional 53 deaths were reported in the past 24 hours.

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.

The state has confirmed a total of 949,880 cases since the start of the pandemic. The positivity rate has decreased by 0.66% over the past 24 hours.

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Maryland is now 24 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 4,380,952 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, 88.7% of the population has gotten at least one dose of the vaccine.

The state has administered 11,001,100 doses of the vaccine.

Of those, 4,623,494 are first doses, 4,536 in the last 24 hours. Another 4,049,070 are second doses, 4,627 in the past day. A total of 331,882 Marylanders have gotten the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, 199 in the past day.

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The state has administered 1,996,654 boosters, 10,438 in the past 24 hours.

CBS Baltimore Staff