By Cristina Mendez

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Doctors with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said our community should not have a ‘post-pandemic mindset’ despite the decrease in COVID-19 metrics across the state.

“It’s great that we reached the peak and are on the way down, but we need to get much, much lower in terms of the case numbers before we can seriously start thinking about scaling back,” Dr. Andrew Pekosz, who serves as a virologist, said.

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On Thursday, the Maryland Department of Health reported hospitalizations fell by 61, bringing the total number of inpatients to 1,458. Just over three weeks ago, hospitalizations reached an all-time record high with nearly 2.5 times that amount. This sent several hospital systems operating at or over capacity across the state in Crisis Standards of Care.

Meanwhile, the positivity in the last 24-hours has also dropped to just over 7%—a 0.53% decrease from Wednesday.

“I’m tired of it but I’m dealing with it,” Baltimore resident Hue Galloway said. “The lower it gets, the happier I am.”

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Doctors with Johns Hopkins added that there’s still more work to be done with the high transmission rate in the community. This includes continuing to mask up, social distance and get fully vaccinated and boosted against the virus.

“If we do have new variants and new surges of cases that we see protection from vaccination, and that we don’t see these large surges in hospitalizations and deaths that we’ve even seen with Omicron,” Dr. Crystal Watson said. “Once we see that even more disconnected from hospitalizations or deaths, that’s when we can kind of start to take a deep breath and really think about how we treat this virus going forward.”

Doctors also note that continuing to test for COVID-19 is critical. It will help keep track of how the virus spreads in our community and identify any new variants.

This comes on the heels of Gov. Larry Hogan’s 30-day COVID-19 state of emergency expiring.

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“We must learn to live with this virus not live in fear of it,” said Hogan during the State of the State Wednesday evening.

Cristina Mendez