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As Maryland COVID metrics continue decline, Hogan touts progress ahead of Memorial Day weekend

In a pair of radio appearances heading into Memorial Day weekend, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan touted the state’s coronavirus recovery progress, highlighting the continued decline of both hospitalizations and the state’s testing positivity rate.

The Republican governor spoke of the pandemic in the past tense and touted a return to normalcy. Hogan told listeners of WGMD-FM in Delmarva that he looked forward to planting an umbrella in the sand alongside Ocean City Mayor Richard Meehan to kick off the summer but encouraged people to remember fallen U.S. military personnel and those who helped throughout the public health crisis.

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“You have to remember that the real true meaning of Memorial Day, we got to remember all those fallen heroes..., Hogan said. “In addition to that, we’re thanking all of the front line people who helped us get through this pandemic: health care heroes, our Maryland National Guard citizen soldiers — we should just take a moment to thank and appreciate them.”

Here’s a look at where the Maryland Department of Health’s COVID-19 measures stood Friday:

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Cases

Maryland added 248 new coronavirus infections Friday, bringing the tally of cases in the state throughout the pandemic to 459,343.

Deaths

Twelve more Marylanders reportedly died from COVID-19, bringing the disease’s casualty count to 9,380 since March 2020.

The total includes 517 deaths reclassified as coronavirus fatalites by the health department Thursday, an adjustment officials attributed to miscoded deaths.

Speaking on Ocean 98 Live! radio Friday morning, Hogan talked about strides in the recovery but acknowledged the staggering death toll.

“It really took the whole state and everybody taking this thing seriously,” Hogan said. “The sad part is, we really did lose more than 9,000 people.”

Hospitalizations

The number of people hospitalized due to COVID-19 in Maryland dropped by two Friday to 397.

Testing positivity

Maryland’s average testing positivity rate was 1.73%, down from 1.84% the day before.

The state reported 25,482 new coronavirus tests Friday, meaning more than 10.35 million nasal swabs have been returned from lab analysis for the respiratory illness.

Vaccinations

Maryland reported 28,540 new COVID-19 vaccinations Friday, with 10,659 people having received a first dose of Pfizer/BioNTech’s or Moderna’s two-dose vaccines and 16,931 completing the course. About 950 single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccines made their way into arms, too.

During his Ocean 98 interview, Hogan touted the first stop of the state’s GoVax Summer Tour at Seacrets in Ocean City that afternoon. He said vaccinators would be on hand to deliver the J&J inoculations on a walk-up basis.

About 2.85 million Marylanders, or about 47.2% of the state’s population, have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while about 3.4 million, about 56.4% of residents, have gotten at least one vaccine dose. And, as of Friday morning, the 69.4% residents 18 and older had gotten at least one dose.

The state reported an average of 33,215 immunizations daily over the last week, as the average daily number of vaccinations has been declining for a week straight.

A total of 6.04 million vaccine doses have been administered, with federal entities in the state having dished out 200,613 of those immunizations.

Vaccines by age:

More than 35% of Marylanders 12 to 17 years old have now gotten at least one dose of the Pfizer vaccine, the only coronavirus immunization approved for youths under 18. No vaccine is authorized for use in children younger than 12.

Additionally, 57.2% of the state’s population between the ages of 18 to 29 years old, 72.3% of residents 50 and 64 and 84.56% of people in those 65 and older have been at least partially vaccinated.

Vaccines by race:

Despite the mounting tally of vaccinated Marylanders and the state’s strides to address racial gaps in immunizations, disparities remain.

Black people, who make up about 31% of the state’s population, have gotten about 24.4% of all vaccine doses administered in the state where the recipients race was recorded. Meanwhile, white people, who account for about 58.5% of residents, have received about 59.2% of doses where race was known, according to the health department.

Latino people, who make up about 10.6% of Marylanders, ave received about 7.9% of all vaccine doses accounting for race.

Vaccines by county:

Hogan was slated to appear Friday at a handful of events scattered across the Eastern Shore counties of Wicomico and Worcester, two jurisdictions with vastly different vaccination rates, according to health department data.

In Worcester County, home to Ocean City, about 46.8% of the roughly 52,000 residents have been fully vaccinated — the fifth highest share in the state. In neighboring Wicomico County, population 103,600, about 34.9% of residents have been completely immunized — the fourth smallest share in Maryland.

Somerset County, also on the Eastern Shore, lags behind all other localities in vaccinating its people.

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