Reopens Laurel Hospital to Add 135 Beds for COVID-19 Patients
Launches Expanded Contact Tracing Operation: Authorizes Contract to Quadruple Tracing Force to 1,000, Innovative ‘COVID Link’ Tracing Platform

News Release, Office of Governor Larry Hogan

ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan today officially reopened the Laurel Medical Center in Prince George’s County as part of the state’s COVID-19 hospital surge plan, and announced an expansive contract tracing initiative that will be able to track up to 1,000 cases per day. With significant progress on the four building blocks that are necessary to begin the recovery process for the State of Maryland, Governor Hogan will introduce the ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery’ on Friday.

“Our entire team has been working hard and making incredible progress on all four of these necessary building blocks so that, as our numbers start to look better, we will be in a position to safely reopen our state and get people back to work,” said Governor Hogan. “With these crucial components now firmly in place, on Friday we will be introducing our ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery,’ which will lead us safely out of this pandemic and into a brighter more hopeful future.”

The governor was joined for today’s announcement by Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks and Dr. Mohan Suntha, the president and CEO of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS).

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Below are Governor Hogan’s announcements regarding the four building blocks for Maryland’s recovery plan:

  1. EXPANDING TESTING CAPACITY. The most critical part of Maryland’s recovery plan and the reopening guidelines recently released by the White House is the capability to do widespread testing. Successful testing advancements in Maryland include.
    • The State of Maryland has successfully expanded its testing capability by over 5,000% in the past month, and more than 76,000 COVID-19 tests have been completed to date.
    • The Maryland National Guard, in partnership with the Maryland Department of Health, Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, and the Prince George’s County Health Department, established the state’s first coronavirus drive-thru screening location at FedEx Field in Landover.
    • Drive-thru screening and testing location has been established at five Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program (VEIP) stations across the state.
    • The State of Maryland recently secured 40,000 additional tests and invested $2.5 million to assist the lab at the University of Maryland, Baltimore to use cutting-edge robotics to build their capacity in order to handle up to 20,000 tests per day.
    • On Saturday, April 19, through the success of ‘Operation Enduring Friendship,’ the State of Maryland received LabGun COVID-19 PCR test kits from LabGenomics, a South Korean company, which will give Maryland the capability of performing 500,000 coronavirus tests.
    • On Monday, April 20, President Trump offered to allow the State of Maryland to access the countless federal labs in the state, which could be key to utilizing the 500,000 tests from South Korea.
  2. INCREASING HOSPITAL SURGE CAPACITY. On March 16, Governor Hogan issued an executive order directing the Maryland Department of Health to develop a plan to open closed hospital facilities across the state, and to take other measures necessary to immediately increase the state’s hospital capacity by an additional 6,000 beds. Currently, the state is on track to exceed that goal and reach a surge capacity of more than 6,700 beds. The latest progress on hospital surge capacity includes the following:
    • The newly reopened and renovated Laurel Medical Center will now provide an additional 135 beds, including 35 intensive care beds, to treat patients infected with COVID-19. The facility is being staffed by nearly 400 contractual medical professionals and health care workers who will be managed by UMMS.
    • The 250-bed field hospital at the Baltimore Convention Center is now open and will be admitting those patients who no longer require hospitalization, but need a location to complete their care and fully recover.
    • The first beds have been opened at Adventist Ft. Washington Medical Center in Prince George’s County, near the location of the highest concentration of COVID-19 cases.
    • Additional intensive care beds are also being added to the UM Prince George’s Hospital Center in Cheverly, Md.
    • 22 surge response tents are being built across the state in the areas of greatest need, including at Holy Cross Hospital, Washington Adventist White Oak, Doctors Community Hospital,  and Southern Maryland Hospital Center.
    • 100 additional beds are being provided at Jessup and Hagerstown to address the needs of corrections and detention centers.
  3. INCREASED SUPPLY OF PPE. In Maryland, a multi-agency task force has been working around the clock to ramp up our supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), with large deliveries coming into the state’s warehouses on a daily basis. Recent shipments received by the state include the following:
    • 5.9 million surgical masks, including 1 million masks from the Republic of Korea
    • 1.5 million KN95 masks, including 1 million from the Republic of Korea
    • 705,000 N95 masks
    • 2.3 million surgical gowns
    • 1,000 additional ICU beds
    • 1.1 million face shields
  4. ROBUST CONTACT TRACING OPERATION. Governor Hogan announced an expanded contact tracing initiative with a state-of-the-art platform to track positive cases of COVID-19 and limit the spread of the virus over the long term.
    • This morning, Governor Hogan authorized a contract with the National Opinion Research Center (NORC), which is the nation’s oldest and largest university-based research firm operated by the University of Chicago with corporate offices in Bethesda, Md. Under this agreement, Maryland will quadruple the state’s present disease investigation capability to contact up to 1,000 new cases per day.
    • Governor Hogan also announced a state-of-the-art contact tracing platform called ‘COVID Link,’ which will assist in collecting information about people who test positive for COVID-19 and any individuals they have come into close contact with. This innovative platform will utilize medical data from the Chesapeake Regional Information Center for Patients, or CRISP. Maryland’s 1,000 contact tracers will be trained on this new technology to make sure all information is collected in accordance with all regulations and guidelines for the security and privacy of medical data. ‘COVID Link’ was developed in consultation with the State of Rhode Island and the City of Austin, TX.

All of Governor Hogan’s emergency orders and proclamations are available here. For COVID-19 resources, including case counts and clinician guidance, visit

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...