Gov. Hogan talks COVID-19 as state reports record high in new daily cases

Posted at 3:17 PM, Dec 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-22 10:52:15-05

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — While personally battling COVID-19, Governor Larry Hogan on Tuesday provided an update on how the state is handling new daily spikes in cases.

Just over the last 24 hours, the Maryland Department of Health reported a new record high of 6,218 confirmed cases bringing the positivity rate up to 11.6 percent.

The 1,392 people hospitalized in the state represents more than a 180 percent increase in the last month. Of those, 75 percent are unvaccinated.

Projections show COVID hospitalizations in the state could surpass 2,000 by mid-to late January, which is also the peak flu season.

A majority of current cases in Maryland are still tied to the Delta variant, although the Omicron is expected to soon become the dominant variant in the state. So far, only a few Omicron cases detected here have resulted in hospitalization.

In an attempt to get ahead of the surge, Hogan committed $100 million in tax-payer dollars to help fund increased hospital staffing and preventative COVID-19 supplies.

Last week, the state directed hospitals to postpone some non-urgent surgeries, in order to increase bed capacity.

MORE: Maryland hospitals to cut back on some surgeries amid COVID spike

An additional $30 million is being set aside for school systems to purchase more tests through state contracts. More and more schools have reported outbreaks in recent days, prompting some districts to cancel extracurricular activities and resort back to a virtual setup.

The Maryland National Guard is also being activated to assist with expanded testing sites and hours, while many counties continue to give out rapid At-Home tests.

“This is not March of 2020. We have the tools and resources in place to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. … Just as we have withstood these surges before, we will do so again by remaining Maryland Strong,” said Hogan.

At the moment, Hogan still has not imposed any new COVID-19 restrictions such as mask requirements.