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As COVID-19 Cases Rise, Vaccine Pre-Registration Opens For Marylanders 16 And Older

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SCREENSHOT VIA GOVERNOR LARRY HOGAN
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Gov. Larry Hogan addresses reporters at a COVID-19 update Thursday

Gov. Larry Hogan announced that starting Thursday, April 1, all Marylanders 16 and older can begin registering for a COVID-19 vaccine at a mass vaccination site.

Hogan stressed that Marylanders in Phase 1 and Phase 2 will continue to be prioritized as more people become eligible. All Marylanders 16 and older become eligible starting April 27.

The announcement comes as more contagious variants spread across the state. Hogan said there are 677 known cases of variants in Maryland and that 86% of those cases are B.1.1.7., a variant from the UK.

“We are quite literally in a race between these variants and the vaccines,” Hogan said in an afternoon news conference.

The state’s positivity rate also is on the rise, passing 5% this week. Hogan believes this rise is not related to reopenings.

“Our indications are that these variants are much more contagious. That's why it's spreading across the country,” he said.

But health officials, including CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, warn that state reopenings may be leading to a fourth surge of the virus.

Hogan also announced that local health officials will be required to submit vaccine equity plans to the state health department by Monday, April 5.