BALTIMORE (WMAR) — With cases, deaths and the positivity rate continuing to increase, Gov. Larry Hogan said the vaccines are our best shot to fight off the virus and the new variants.
"We are quite literally in a race between these variants and the vaccines," said Hogan.
As Maryland nears 3 million vaccine doses administered, COVID-19 cases continue to rise, including those caused by variants.
"Across America, these variants are driving an increase in new infections and hospitalizations particularly among younger people," said Hogan.
More than 670 of Maryland's COVID-19 cases have been caused by variants.
Hogan said we have seen an increase in variant cases primarily in Baltimore City and Baltimore County.
"We are doing sequencing testing for variants at one of the highest levels in the country," said Hogan.
Sunday, the Maryland Department of Health reported the statewide positivity rate is up to 5.9 percent, 8 more people have died from COVID-19 and 67 more people were hospitalized.
Hogan said the overall increase in cases has more to do with the variants and not his choice to continue relaxing restrictions on capacity last month.
"Our indications are that these variants are much more contagious. That’s why it’s spreading across the country. We are better than most of the country. We are better than the region but we are concerned about the variants but it doesn’t have anything to do with the openings," said Hogan Thursday.
As more vaccine doses become available, Hogan is hopeful he will be able to speed up eligibility. Thursday he opened up pre-registration for an appointment at a mass vaccination site to all Marylanders 16 years and older and this week, two more mass vaccination sites are opening: one at Timonium Fairgrounds and one at the Greenbelt Metro Station in partnership with FEMA.
"This site will have the capacity to administer up to 3,000 shots per day and will primarily serve Prince Georgians, especially those in underserved zip codes identified by the Vaccine Equity Task Force," said Hogan.