Positivity Rate Above 5% As Officials Say Young People Are Driving Maryland's COVID Case Spike

Maryland added 903 coronavirus cases as the state's positivity rate moved above 5% Tuesday morning.

Video Transcript

- For the first time in weeks, the percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus here in our state back above 5%. More than 1,000 people are in the hospital tonight, and the state's acting health secretary says young people are driving the surge. WJZ is live at 5:00. Ava-joye talks to one lawmaker-- or tells us about one lawmaker-- asking if the state can reimpose some of those restrictions. Ava-joye.

AVA-JOYE BURNETT: Hi, Nicole. Well, for a very long time, that 5% positivity rate has been the benchmark to figure out if states will open up or shut down. Now that Maryland is back above that benchmark, one lawmaker wanted to know what's next, especially since now we're learning young people are fueling that increase in cases.

For the first time in a month and a half, Maryland's positivity rate has climbed back above 5%. The acting health secretary revealed young people are fueling this gradual increase.

DENNIS SCHRADER: It's probably natural. Younger folks are-- as we've opened up, are more likely to be out and about and getting sick.

AVA-JOYE BURNETT: Two weeks ago, Governor Larry Hogan lifted capacity restrictions in bars, restaurants, religious and fitness facilities. But masks are still mandatory, and social distancing is still in. Now that the positivity rate is back above 5%, one senator asked the acting health secretary if this new high would trigger another round of restrictions.

DENNIS SCHRADER: We don't want to overreact. We're monitoring very carefully. But it's generally been the younger population that has been getting sick.

- That's true, but the younger population, we've seen also, ends up infecting the older population. And that's where most deaths have been occurring.

AVA-JOYE BURNETT: The governor said for the first time ever, more than 50,000 doses were administered in a single day, and that was on Monday. And the state believes that trend will continue as more people become eligible to get a shot. Today, phase 2B opens up. And that includes anyone 16 and older with a disability.

- Most people are going to get the vaccine if they can. So it's a good show all around. Eventually, we will achieve what? Herd immunity.

AVA-JOYE BURNETT: At this point, Maryland has administered more than 2.5 million COVID-19 vaccines, but we're still well off from that herd immunity that he just referenced. Less than 20% of the state has been fully vaccinated. Live at 5:00, Ava-joye Burnett for WJZ.