Governor Larry Hogan today announced that Maryland is now in a position to plan the gradual rollout of the state’s recovery phase amid “very real reasons for hope and optimism,” laying out four building blocks for a recovery plan:
- Expanding testing capacity
- Increasing hospital surge capacity
- Ramping up supply of PPE
- Building a robust contact tracing operation
“Fortunately, because of the early and aggressive actions and because of the extraordinary sacrifices of Marylanders, we are now in a position to move from containment and mitigation to planning the gradual rollout of our recovery phase,” said Governor Hogan. “There are some very real reasons for hope and optimism right now and there is clearly a light at the end of this tunnel, but exactly how and when we will get to that light is going to be up to each and every one of us. Right now while our numbers are still climbing and we are still heading up that curve, not down, it is absolutely critical for Marylanders to stay home, to continue avoiding crowds and gatherings, and to aggressively practice social distancing.”
BUILDING BLOCKS FOR RECOVERY PHASE: Governor Hogan announced that over the last several weeks, state officials have been consulting with doctors and public health experts serving on the Coronavirus Response Team to develop a roadmap for the reopening of Maryland and the state economy.
- Testing. Governor Hogan announced that Maryland has expanded testing capacity by more than 5,000 percent in the past month and the state is on track with an aggressive plan to more than triple current capacity to perform up to 10,000 tests per day.
- The State of Maryland recently secured an additional 40,000 tests, including 30,000 that will utilize Abbott m2000 testing machines.
- Today, the state entered into a separate agreement with Abbott Labs to acquire a substantial number of antibody tests.
- Hospital Surge. Governor Hogan announced that the state’s efforts to increase hospital surge capacity by 6,000 beds is weeks ahead of schedule and highlighted additional progress.
- In partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the state is converting the Hagerstown Correctional Facility and the former Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park to serve COVID-19 patients. The latter site is near the highest concentration of positive coronavirus cases in Montgomery County.
- Construction of a surge response tent at Adventist’s Fort Washington Hospital, located in a region of Prince George’s County with a high concentration of COVID-19 cases, is near completion.
- 60 additional response tents are being set up in Frederick, Jessup, Hagerstown, Annapolis, Baltimore, Germantown, and Randallstown.
- PPE. Governor Hogan announced that a multi-agency task force is leading efforts to ramp up the state’s supply of personal protective equipment (PPE).
- In the past week, the state received one million additional face shields and 1,000 ICU beds.
- In the next week, the state is expecting deliveries of 4.5 million additional N95 masks, 290 oxygen concentrators, and 252 ICU ventilators.
- Contact Tracing. Governor Hogan announced plans to build a robust contact tracing operation that will enable the state to investigate every positive case and ensure that those patients are remaining in isolation for the duration of their illness.
- The State of Maryland currently has approximately 250 people conducting contact tracing statewide.
- Plans are underway to quadruple this force to at least 1,000 dedicated contact tracers by utilizing additional state employees and outside contractors.
FACE COVERINGS ORDER: Governor Hogan announced an executive order which requires the wearing of face coverings when inside any retail establishments or when riding any form of public transportation in Maryland. The order also requires all retail locations to require staff to wear face coverings and requires those businesses to put appropriate social distancing measures in place. To give retailers time to make these adjustments, the order will go into effect Saturday, April 18 at 7 a.m. The CDC has issued detailed guidance and instructions regarding homemade cloth face coverings which can be found at coronavirus.maryland.gov. Read the governor’s order.
STRIKE TEAMS UPDATE: Governor Hogan announced that statewide strike teams, which have become a national model, have now responded to outbreaks in 16 nursing homes and assisted living facilities and 15 group homes for medically fragile children. In partnership with FEMA and HHS, Maryland has augmented these strike teams with three federal Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMAT) made up of physicians, paramedics, and safety officers.
CAPITAL REGION COLLABORATION: Governor Hogan has convened a teleconference with Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser on Friday to discuss regional issues and collaboration. The three leaders issued a joint statement on March 23 regarding their regional partnership.
SHAREHOLDER MEETINGS: Governor Hogan has enacted an emergency order allowing public companies incorporated in Maryland to delay shareholder meetings, or convert previously scheduled in-person meetings to be virtual meetings. Read the governor’s order.
PRESERVING THE SUPPLY OF NECESSARY DRUGS: Governor Hogan has enacted an emergency order to put restrictions on the dispensing of drugs that may be necessary to treat COVID-19, including hydroxychloroquine. Read the governor’s order.
RECOGNITION OF NATIONAL ASL DAY: Governor Hogan presented a citation to Jimmy Beldon, the Certified Deaf Interpreter for the governor’s press conferences, in recognition of National ASL Day. Read the governor’s citation.