By: David M. Higgins II, Publisher

Annapolis, MD- At a press conference on Friday, April 24, 2020, Governor Larry Hogan(Md-R) laid out the state’s plan to reopen the state.

Earlier in the week, at a press conference, the Governor detailed the four(4) main building blocks in determining the roadmap.

  1. Expanding testing capacity
  2. Increasing hospital surge capacity
  3. Ramping up supply of PPE
  4. Building a robust contact tracing operation

“We are beginning to see some hopeful and encouraging signs which have allowed us to begin laying the groundwork to reopen, to rebuild, and to recover as soon as it is safe to do so,” said Governor Hogan. “The recovery plan we have been developing over many weeks has four building blocks that must be solidly in place before the lifting of restrictions: expanding our testing capacity, increasing hospital surge capacity, increased supply of PPE, and a robust contact tracing operation. (April 22, 2020, Press Conference)”

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In today’s press conference the Governor spoke of where we were for the four building blocks. As of today, Expanded testing, ramping up of PPE, and Robust contact tracing operations are all on track. Increased hospital surge capacity is ahead of schedule, with the state preparing to exceed the goal of 6,700 beds.

One main point Hogan spoke of is that we need to see the number of positive cases, and hospitalizations either plateauing or going down for 14 consecutive days. Due to the increased testing at this time, we continue to see those numbers go up. After that 14 days has eclipsed, then the Governor will begin a gradual phase-out of restrictions.

All three phases were detailed, but it was emphasized that they could be restricted again or completely rolled back if certain instances such as increase in cases, clusters of community transmissions, etc. happened. From the Governor’s “Roadmap to Recovery” phamplet:

The Low/Medium/High delineation divides activities and businesses into categories designated by the AEI’s Guidance for Governor’s report (and as adopted in the NGA’s Roadmap to Recovery: A Public Health Guide for Governors) as having Medium or High “Modification Potential” to mitigate the risk of infection to protect individuals and Low or Medium “Number of Contacts” or “Contact Intensity.”

Phase 1(Low) would be the lifting of the Stay at Home Order. This could include the following changes that could take place during Phase 1 roll-out:

a. Small shops and certain small businesses
b. Curbside pickup and drop-off for businesses
c. Elective medical and dental procedures at ambulatory, outpatient, and
medical offices
d. Limited attendance outdoor religious gatherings
e. Recreational boating, fishing, golf, tennis, hiking, and hunting
f. Car washes
g. Limited outdoor gym and fitness classes
h. Outdoor work with appropriate distancing measures
i. Some personal services

These changes may not happen all at once depending on where the state is at with illnesses, and hospitalizations.

Phase 2(Medium) is listed at a longer stage of recovery and will be a time when a large portion of businesses and activities resume, but with strict social distancing and mask requirements. This stage will include numerous steps over many weeks.

Examples of changes that could be implemented in this stage:

a. Raising the cap on social gatherings
b. Indoor gyms and fitness classes
c. Childcare centers
d. Transit schedules begin returning to normal
e. Indoor religious gatherings
f. Restaurants and bars with restrictions
g. Elective and outpatient procedures at hospitals

Phase 3 or the final stage has no timetable on when it will be implemented due to the “high-risk”, as this requires either a widely available and
FDA-approved vaccine or safe and effective therapeutics that can rescue patients with a significant disease or prevent serious illness in those most at risk to reach a full return to normal conditions.

Examples of changes that could be implemented in this stage:

a. Larger social gatherings
b. High-capacity bars and restaurants
c. Lessened restrictions on visits to nursing homes and hospitals
d. Entertainment venues
e. Larger religious gatherings

All of the below-listed documents were considered by the Governor’s Office when creating Maryland ‘Roadmap to Recovery”(Click bolded title for link)

? Roadmap to Recovery: A Public Health Guide for Governors, The National Governors’
Association (Appendix A).
? Public Health Principles for a Phased Reopening During COVID-19: Guidance for Governors, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (Appendix B).
? National Coronavirus Response: A Road Map to Reopening, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, American Enterprise Institute (Appendix C).
? Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, The White House Coronavirus Task Force (Appendix D).

We will continue to update this as more information becomes avaible from the Governor’s Office.

This is a developing story.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/EditorEditor-in-Chief

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...