xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

415 Marylanders died of COVID since early December

At least 415 Marylanders died of COVID-19 from Dec. 4 through Tuesday, when the Maryland Department of Health reported coronavirus deaths for the first time in weeks following a cyberattack.

That adds up to an average of approximately 18 virus deaths daily over much of the month of December, and brings the COVID-19 casualty count in Maryland to 11,437 throughout the pandemic, according to the recently restored data. The two-week average for new daily deaths was in the low 40s during the corresponding time last year, before vaccines were widely available in Maryland.

Advertisement

“Comparing last year’s wave to this one — is another indicator that vaccines work,” Mike Ricci, a spokesman for Gov. Larry Hogan, said on Twitter.

Coronavirus deaths were among the last remaining metrics to be brought back after an apparent cyberattack detected Dec. 4 prompted state officials to take health department servers offline, preventing the health department from updating most of its coronavirus data for more than two weeks in December.

Advertisement
Advertisement

The state’s COVID-19 dashboard still does not show the demographics of the dead or those who contracted the virus or show the various metrics broken down by jurisdiction.

However, the new data adds context to a surge of the coronavirus driven by the highly contagious omicron variant which has pushed hospitals to the brink of their capabilities to care for patients and has overwhelmed the state’s testing infrastructure.

Maryland reported 6,574 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, while hospitalizations and the state’s testing positivity lurched toward pandemic peaks.

Almost 37,000 Marylanders have tested positive for the coronavirus since Dec. 23, and several localities in the Baltimore area have instituted states of emergency and reinstituted indoor mask mandates.

COVID-19 hospitalizations increased by 112 patients, with 1,826 people hospitalized with the respiratory illness statewide as of Tuesday, according to the health department. The last time more people battling the virus occupied Maryland hospital beds was Jan. 20.

The surge of hospitalizations caused three more hospitals to shift into crisis mode Monday, as the coronavirus wave driven by the highly contagious omicron variant tightened its grip on the state.

Maryland’s average testing positivity rate jumped by more than 1 percentage point, reaching its highest mark since May 14, 2020: 17.58%, health department data shows.

The state logged more than 44,000 new test results Tuesday, while reports of long testing lines and scrambles to secure rapid tests proliferated ahead of Christmas. More than 16 million nasal swabs from Maryland have been tested for COVID-19 throughout the pandemic.

With omicron infecting both the vaccinated and unvaccinated, public health officials have pleaded for people to obtain their booster shots. The vaccines may be imperfect at preventing infection and transmission, they say, but are highly effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death

The health department reported new 15,304 booster shots administered over the last 24 hours, with approximately 1.5 million Marylanders have received the critical dose. That’s about 25% of the state’s population.

More than 70% of residents have at least completed a two-dose vaccine — either Moderna’s or Pfizer-BioNTech’s — or received the single-shot inoculation made by Johnson & Johnson, according to the health department.

This article will be updated.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement