The omicron variant of COVID-19 has resulted in significant increases in cases, hospitalizations, and positivity rates in Maryland in recent weeks, with rates nearing or exceeding peaks seen in January 2021 before widespread vaccination was available.
The level of community transmission of COVID-19 across the Mid-Shore is high. The CDC recommends that everyone wear a mask in public indoor settings.
Health officials are continuing to urge people to get vaccinated and boosted, wear masks, and get tested if you have any COVID-19 symptoms.
The Talbot County Health Department noted in a Dec. 27 Facebook post:
“In the past two weeks, there have been an unprecedented 445 new cases of COVID-19 reported to the Talbot Health Department. While some of the cases included in this figure are due to the lag in test reporting due to the computer network outage over the past few weeks, we have had 209 new cases just in the past week, even after the test reporting was thought to have ‘caught up.’
“This means that we are seeing about 30 new cases of COVID each day in the county. To put this in perspective, our case rates are now reaching the peaks seen in January 2021, before there was widespread vaccination.
“It has become clear that the people most at risk of getting COVID now are people who have never had a COVID vaccine and those who had their vaccine series more than 6 months ago. Over the past 2 weeks, 62% of the 445 new cases were in people who were not fully vaccinated (meaning, they did not receive 2 doses of Moderna or Pfizer, or the one dose of Johnson & Johnson). Only one case in the past two weeks has occurred in someone who had their booster dose.
“This points to the importance of getting a booster dose of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, especially if your COVID vaccine was obtained before July. There is evidence that some people’s immunity wanes after about six months, but having that booster dose is highly protective against infection and, even more so, hospitalization. Only about 60% of people in Talbot county who are eligible for a booster vaccine dose have received one so far.
“It is not too late to get a booster dose to protect yourself from the current surge of delta and omicron strains of COVID.
‘We are also strongly recommending that everyone wear a mask when you’re indoors in public or with people you don’t live with.”
The Spy obtains information for the above chart between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Statewide data is updated about 10 a.m. each day. Johns Hopkins updates its data throughout the day.
Key points for today
• Talbot County’s 7-day average positivity rate is 25.8% and its case rate is 129.80 cases per 100,000 population.
• The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Maryland is now at 751,450, an increase of 14,251 in the last 24 hours.
• In the last 24 hours, 26 people died as a result of COVID-19, bringing the state’s total to 11,658.
• The state’s average positivity rate is 26.87%, up 0.78% from yesterday.
• The number of patients currently hospitalized is 1,826, up 112 from yesterday.