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Hogan says he feels “fine”, pushes vaccinations

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Gov. Larry Hogan at a press conference. Hogan has been quarantining and working remotely since Monday. Credit: JOE ANDRUCYK/MARYLAND GOVPICS/CC 2.0/FLIC.KR/P/2KCWGCT

Gov. Larry Hogan, who tested positive for COVID-19 Monday, said Tuesday that he is doing “fine” and has a few cold-like symptoms.

“I attribute that to the fact that I have been fully vaccinated and then I got a booster shot as soon as I was eligible,” he said at a virtual COVID update.

The governor is also a cancer survivor. Cancer patients and survivors could be at higher risk of COVID-19 infection, according to the CDC.

Hogan added that the unvaccinated make up more than 75% of recent hospitalizations, which state health officials say could surpass 2,000 this winter.

“I can’t stress this enough. Getting vaccinated and getting your booster is your strongest possible defense against this virus and its variants,” he said.

Dr. David Marcozzi, the COVID-19 incident commander at the University of Maryland Medical System, said UMMS is facing the highest number of COVID hospitalizations since the start of the pandemic.

He said it’s “without question” that the surge is largely due to the unvaccinated.

“Hospitalizations from COVID are largely now a preventable problem,” he said at Tuesday’s update.

He also said Marylanders have become “too relaxed” with their protective measures.

“From businesses to churches, we need to reinstitute preventive measures and we need to do so today. This includes mask wearing, ensuring ventilation for high risk areas,” Marcozzi said. “Layering these strategies together is incredibly helpful and effective in preventing the transmission of this virus.”

Hogan told FOX News Sunday that he will not order any lockdowns. He has also not restored the statewide mask mandate he lifted in July..

Officials reported another bleak record for Maryland Tuesday morning: 6,218 new COVID cases over a 24 hour period.

Hogan said while the ongoing winter surge feels like deja vu, it’s not a cause for panic.

“This is not March of 2020. We have the tools and resources in place to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe,” he said.

Dr. Ted Delbridge, the Executive Director of the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems, noted two main challenges this winter surge: the return of flu season, and a shortage in hospital workers.

“Our healthcare system is resilient, but it is stressed, and is likely to become even more stressed in the weeks to come,” Delbridge said.

Hogan announced Tuesday an additional $100 million in emergency funding to address “urgent staffing needs” in hospitals and nursing homes. $50 million will go to “stabilizing” the workforce. The other half will go to expanding the availability of COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines.