ANNAPOLIS, MD—In response to the nationwide fall COVID-19 surge and rising positivity rates, case rates, and hospitalizations in Maryland, Governor Larry Hogan today provided a detailed update on the state’s preparedness and urged Marylanders to follow all public health protocols.
“Thanks to the heroic efforts of so many state employees working around the clock, and because of the vigilance and support of the people of Maryland, we are in a much better position than we were this spring, and Maryland is also much better prepared than most states to be able to withstand this next surge,” said Governor Hogan. “However, I cannot stress strongly enough that we cannot afford to let our guard down. The weeks and months ahead will be difficult, and our collective actions will determine whether we can continue safely on the road to recovery.”
The governor was joined at today’s press conference by Maryland Secretary of Health Robert Neall, Maryland State Police Superintendent Colonel Jerry Jones, Maryland Acting Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services Dr. Jinlene Chan, and Dr. David Marcozzi, COVID-19 Incident Commander for the University of Maryland Medical System.
FALL SURGE PREPAREDNESS:
TESTING STRATEGY. The State of Maryland has built a successful long-term testing strategy and a strategic stockpile of test kits and supplies. State officials recently deployed rapid antigen tests to nursing homes across the state. To continue expanding these efforts, at the request of local leaders and in partnership with the Allegany County Health Department, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) is standing up a new testing site at the Allegany County Fairgrounds.
CONTACT TRACING OPERATION. Maryland built a robust contact tracing operation, nearly 1,400 tracers strong, and has kept this operation at full strength to find patterns and identify where and how the virus is spreading.
The state’s contact tracing operation continues to show that social gatherings are the most likely source of transmissions. The number one activity of those who have become infected with COVID-19 continues to be family gatherings, followed by house parties. View the data here.
HOSPITAL SURGE CAPACITY. Maryland met and exceeded its hospital surge capacity goal of an additional 6,000 beds, maintains a comprehensive surge capacity plan, and continues to keep the state’s alternate care sites open—including the Baltimore Convention Center Field Hospital.
PPE STOCKPILE. Emergency management officials have distributed more than 78 million units of PPE throughout the state, and have built up a 60-day supply of the most critical resources.
MARYLAND RESPONDS. In response to the nationwide shortage of nurses, Governor Hogan encouraged medical and public health volunteers to register for the Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps. More than 15,000 people have already signed up to be part of this initiative from every jurisdiction throughout the state. To sign up, Marylanders can visit mdresponds.health.maryland.gov.
PUBLIC HEALTH GUIDANCE:
MASKS AND FACE COVERINGS. Maryland’s statewide masking order remains in full effect. Under this order, all Marylanders over the age of five are required to wear face coverings in the public spaces of all businesses across the state. Face coverings are required in outdoor public areas, whenever it is not possible to maintain physical distancing. The order continues to provide certain exceptions, including for medical conditions. Read the order here.
COMPLIANCE ENFORCEMENT. In response to increasing reports of individuals and businesses failing to comply with the law, the governor urged local leaders, county health departments, county liquor boards, and, when necessary, local law enforcement agencies to immediately step up efforts to ensure that all residents and businesses in their jurisdictions are in compliance with all public health regulations.
TELEWORK. Marylanders are encouraged to continue teleworking, and employers should make every effort to give employees the opportunity to telework.
OUT-OF-STATE TRAVEL ADVISORY. With the holiday season approaching, the travel advisory issued by state health officials has been renewed and remains in effect. Under this advisory, Marylanders are strongly advised against traveling to states with positivity rates of 10% or higher. Anyone traveling from these states should get tested and self-quarantine while awaiting results. Marylanders should avoid non-essential travel of any kind outside of the region. Read the travel advisory.
“With the holidays approaching and so many Marylanders making plans to spend time with family and friends, it is more important than ever for all of us to remain cautious and vigilant,” continued the governor. “We want Marylanders to enjoy the holiday season with your loved ones, but we want you to do it as safely as possible.”