BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Low hospitalization and death rates coupled with the majority of the population receiving at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine is what local doctors attribute the pandemic turning in the direction of an endemic.
This means the virus still exists but at a level where it’s not disrupting our daily lives according to Dr. Jonathan Thierman, Chief Medical Officer at LifeBridge Health.
“It’s very true that things are rising every day and probably more than the numbers reveal because a lot of people are doing home testing so that’s all significant, but the real numbers to follow at this point are our hospitalizations and deaths, and those numbers remain very, very low,” explained Dr. Thierman.
The Maryland Department of health recorded 1,006 new infections in the last 24 hours, with 219 people hospitalized, and of those, 31 patients in the ICU.
“This has truly become more like the flu or a cold as people had hoped it would be a few years ago,” Dr. Thierman said.
Despite the shift to an endemic, some Baltimoreans said a precautious routine will continue.
“The precautions I’ve been taking is continuing to wear my mask, practicing social distancing and also handwashing, which is very important,” said Gwenda Holland.
As of Tuesday, the CDC reports that 95% of adult Marylanders have at least one dose of a COVID-19 shot.
Antiviral medications are also now available to those who meet certain qualifications.
Maryland Department of Health announced a partnership Monday with Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland to expand services at the State Center on West Preston Street.
The partnership will continue to include COVID-19 rapid testing, with the new additions being on-site clinical evaluations and a prescription for antiviral medication, if applicable, for free.
Eligibility for treatment will be based on the length of symptoms, underlying health conditions and other factors.
The “Test to Treat” program will be available 6 days a week. For hours and more information, visit the department’s website.