COVID-19 In Maryland: April 8, 2021, P.M. Update
DENISE KOCH: Vaccinating Maryland-- growing concerns about more contagious variants and hospitalizations among young people. Hello, I'm Denise Koch.
NICOLE BAKER: And I'm Nicole Baker. Maryland has seen more than 1,000 people in the hospital over the past 11 days, and Baltimore's health commissioner pleaded with people today to please wear their masks.
DENISE KOCH: A bit of good news, the positivity rate in our state down slightly. The lowest in 13 days, it remains above 5 and 1/2%. And WJZ investigator, Mike Hellgren, is live at the State Fairgrounds vaccination site where Governor Hogan spoke just a short time ago. Mike.
MIKE HELLGREN: He did, Denise and Nicole. They can vaccinate 500 to 700 people an hour right now. If they have more supply, they can do up to 1,000 people every hour. And the governor chatted with some of those who got the shot here today.
LARRY HOGAN: Is this your first one or your second one?
- Ir's my first one.
MIKE HELLGREN: The governor and Baltimore County's Executive toured the vaccination site at the State Fairgrounds.
LARRY HOGAN: It's wonderful to see you, young lady.
MIKE HELLGREN: They've described it as a model.
JOHNNY OLSZEWSKI: We're honoring our appointments. We're only scheduling them when we have doses. It's a model because we're getting people in and out in a very efficient manner, usually less than an hour. That includes the wait time of 15 to 30 minutes.
MIKE HELLGREN: 45% of Marylanders have now received one dose of vaccine, but the case numbers are still rising. I asked Governor Hogan about his biggest concerns.
LARRY HOGAN: Our biggest concern right now is this bad news we got from the feds that they're going to be dramatically slashing our supply of vaccines, which is, you know, something we don't need as we're trying to get more people vaccinated. But hopefully, we'll get that worked out.
MIKE HELLGREN: Baltimore's Emergent plant, where millions of doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine were wasted, is still not approved by the FDA to supply vaccines to the general public. New reporting from "The New York Times" shows the facility was flagged last year over concerns about quality control and staff training. And Maryland has seen a jump in cases of dangerous variants, with 665 confirmed infections of the UK strain, which is now dominant in the United States.
LARRY HOGAN: We are concerned about these variants. There are states across the country in much worse shape, including almost every state to the north of us.
MIKE HELLGREN: In Baltimore City, new infections have risen 163% in the past month.
LETITIA DZIRASA: We are now approaching case counts similar to what we saw in January except cases and hospitalizations are now more and more occurring in younger populations.
MIKE HELLGREN: And we'll hear more from Dr. Dzirasa next hour. We should point out that starting tomorrow, they will have some slots available for no-appointment walk-up vaccinations, about 200 doses, at M&T Bank Stadium, between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM.
Reporting live at the State Fairgrounds, Mike Hellgren, WJZ.
DENISE KOCH: All right, thank you, Mike. And we have learned today that several employees at the Hampden Post Office recently tested positive for coronavirus. Because of privacy laws, more specific information cannot be released. To ensure the health of employees, the post office continues to follow the safety guidance from the CDC.