By Ava-joye Burnett

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — For the second time in as many days, Maryland reported more than 1,000 new COVID-10 cases on Friday.

The Maryland Department of Health reported 1,015 new cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the total of confirmed cases to 1,024,920 since the pandemic began. Until Thursday, the last time the state saw that many new cases was in late February.

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The statewide positivity rate rose to 4.57%, a 0.03% increase compared to Thursday and a 300% increase over the positivity rate recorded the same time last month.

Doctors say there’s been a surge in COVID-19 cases in a majority of the states and in the District of Columbia. But given where we’ve been, there’s room for optimism.

“Just to be clear, we’re nowhere near the levels we were in January. Just to give an example, in Maryland we peaked at over 3500 patients hospitalized with COVID in January. As of this morning, we were close to 150 patients,” says Dr. Brian Garibaldi with the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center

COVID-19 hospitalizations dipped to 166, a decrease of four since Thursday. Of those hospitalized, 133 are adults in acute care, 26 are adults in intensive care, five are children in acute care and two are children in intensive care.

Maryland’s overall COVID-19 death toll stands at 166 after increasing by four over the past 24 hours.

The increases come amid uncertainty over a federal mask mandate for mass transit. At the request of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Justice is appealing a federal judge’s ruling that struck down the mandate.

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Despite a CDC recommendation that travelers continue to wear masks, transit agencies have dropped mask requirements on buses, trains and planes.

Some doctors believe no masks on planes, buses and trains could put many travelers at risk.

“I expect that we’re going to see some more transmission. As a result of this. I know as a parent of a young kid who’s not yet vaccinated,

it’s going to make me think twice about traveling on public transportation,” says Dr. Crystal Watson with the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

More than 4.6 million Marylanders are fully vaccinated. According to the CDC, 95% of Maryland’s adults have gotten a dose of the vaccine and 91.7% of eligible children have received at least one dose.

Maryland has administered roughly 11.7 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Of those, roughly 4.8 million are the first dose, 4.25 million are the second dose, 341,000 are single-dose vaccines and another 2.3 million are booster shots.

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The FDA still needs to approve the COVID-19 vaccine for children five and younger and that approval may not come till June.

Ava-joye Burnett