ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan on Thursday visited the location of a new state-run COVID-19 testing site at UM Shore Regional Health in Easton and announced the locations for five additional hospital-based testing sites that will open by the end of next week.
The governor also announced that the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) will begin distributing 20 million N95 and KN95 masks to Marylanders next week at no cost, through multiple channels, including local health departments, state-run testing and vaccination sites, and nursing homes.
“We are encouraging all Marylanders to continue doing the things that can keep us safe: getting vaccinated and boosted, avoiding crowds, keeping your distance, washing your hands, and wearing masks or face coverings when appropriate,” said Governor Hogan. “We will keep taking whatever actions are necessary, and we urge Marylanders to remain vigilant, so that together we can continue leading the nation with our health and economic recovery.”
Hospital-Based Testing Sites
Governor Hogan announced a total of six additional locations for hospital-based testing sites, which are on track to be fully operational and open daily, with no appointment necessary, by the end of next week. They include:
- UM Shore Regional Health (Talbot County)
- TidalHealth (Wicomico County)
- Garrett Regional Medical Center (Garrett County)
- Holy Cross Germantown Hospital (Montgomery County)
- Howard County General Hospital (Howard County)
- UM Baltimore Washington Medical Center (Anne Arundel County)
Last week, the governor announced the first 10 locations for hospital-based testing sites. Additional sites will open tomorrow.
Distribution of 20 Million N95 and KN95 Masks
To make it even easier for Marylanders to have an extra layer of protection, Governor Hogan announced that MDH will begin distributing 20 million N95 and KN95 masks—which provide additional infection protection compared to cloth and general use face masks—next week. The masks will be distributed through multiple channels including:
- Local health departments
- All state-run testing and vaccination sites
- The Vaccine Equity Task Force, through partnerships with community organizations such as the NAACP
- Nursing homes
- Maryland state agencies
According to data from Carnegie Mellon University, Maryland ranks fifth in the nation for mask wearing.
Twice-Weekly Testing of Staff, Volunteers, and Vendors at Nursing Homes Regardless of Vaccination Status
MDH has issued an order that requires all staff, volunteers, and vendors who are in a nursing home facility regularly, regardless of vaccination status, to be tested for COVID-19 twice a week whenever community transmission is high. In addition, all visitors will need to provide proof of a negative test, or be tested at the facility with a rapid test prior to entering.
As of today, 70 percent of Maryland nursing homes are reporting positive COVID-19 cases among residents and staff.
The order will go into effect on Jan. 21, and the state will work closely with nursing homes to make all of the necessary testing resources available to them.
Maryland National Guard to Distribute Remdesivir to Nursing Homes
In the coming days, the Maryland National Guard will begin distributing courses of Remdesivir, which is one of the therapeutic treatments believed to be effective against the Omicron variant, to institutional pharmacies that directly serve nursing homes.
Video from Thursday’s press conference can be viewed below.