ANNAPOLIS, MD—As the State of Maryland continues to combat the surge of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, Governor Larry Hogan on Thursday highlighted encouraging trends among many key health metrics and announced additional COVID-19 actions. The governor also provided an update on the state’s efforts to procure additional rapid tests.
“We are very encouraged by our substantially improving situation, but the next 10 days to two weeks are really going to be critical,” said Governor Hogan. “Our aggressive efforts will continue and we ask Marylanders to remain vigilant and to keep doing the things that can keep us safe: wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, watching your distance, staying home if you feel sick, and most importantly, getting tested, vaccinated, and boosted.”
Key Health Metrics Are Substantially Declining
Fifteen days into the state’s 30-day state of emergency, there are encouraging trends among many key health metrics:
- COVID-19 cases in Maryland are decreasing at the second fastest rate in America.
- Maryland’s COVID-19 positivity rate has declined 40% since it peaked 15 days ago.
- The state’s case rate has declined 44% since it peaked 12 days ago.
- Both the case rate and positivity rate are declining among all age groups.
- Hospitalizations have declined for eight consecutive days, a result of both a decline in admissions and an increase in discharges.
- Pediatric hospitalizations continue to make up approximately 1% of the state’s overall hospitalizations.
New Hospital-Based Testing Sites
Governor Hogan announced the opening of additional COVID-19 testing sites:
- LifeBridge Health site (Carroll County) is now operational.
- Greater Baltimore Medical Center (Baltimore County) site opens tomorrow.
- A federally-supported site at St. Agnes Hospital (Baltimore City) opens Saturday.
White House Working With State Officials to Address Disruption of Rapid Test Orders
Following conversations with senior White House officials, the governor announced that one of the state’s previous orders for 800,000 at-home rapid tests that was cut in half will now be restored in full. The governor thanked White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients and administration officials for working with the state to correct the problem.
Additional 3 Million Masks To Be Distributed To Schools
As statewide distribution of 20 million N95 and KN95 masks continues, Governor Hogan announced that the state is coordinating with the Maryland State Department of Education to distribute 3 million more KN95 masks to local schools. Another 250,000 masks have been distributed to the state judiciary.
Additional $5 Million To Specialty Hospitals
Governor Hogan announced $5 million for specialty hospitals that receive COVID-positive patients who are being discharged from acute hospitals to assist them with labor costs. This includes Sheppard Pratt, Kennedy Krieger Institute, Mount Washington Pediatric Hospital, Adventist Healthcare Rehabilitation, and Encompass Health Rehabilitation. This funding is in addition to the $100 million in emergency funding that the governor previously announced to address urgent staffing needs at Maryland hospitals and nursing homes.
Maryland National Guard and DoD Mission At Washington Adventist Alternate Care Site
Governor Hogan has authorized Brigadier General Adam Flasch of the Maryland Army National Guard to be activated and to serve as dual-status commander for a DoD mission of 44 personnel to support the alternate care site in Takoma Park.
State Launching Second Round of Antibody Testing In Nursing Homes
The state, in coordination with lab partners, is launching another round of antibody testing in nursing homes this week. The study will help determine whether it is necessary to move forward with a potential fourth vaccine dose for vulnerable residents.
Health Care Heroes Act To Be Introduced Next Week
The Hogan administration will introduce the Health Care Heroes Act as emergency legislation next week. This bill will codify some of the administration’s previous actions to address workforce shortages at health care facilities, including expediting licenses for retired health care practitioners, practitioners licensed in other states, and nursing graduates.
Thursday’s press conference can be viewed below.