Vaccination, Testing, Hospital / Nursing Home Staffing Addressed During Md. COVID-19 Update

Maryland is committing $100-million in new funding to help hospitals and nursing homes boost their staff levels, as COVID-19 cases continue to increase.

Governor Larry Hogan also said Tuesday that the State of Maryland is expanding weekly shipments of at-home rapid tests, which are available through local health departments. The Maryland National Guard is being mobilized to provide support personnel to expand testing sites and hours.

The state is making an additional $30-million available for schools to purchase testing resources.

“As I have been warning for the past few weeks, we are entering another pivotal moment in the fight against COVID-19,” Hogan said. “We will continue to constantly monitor this surge and take additional actions as needed. There are also things that the people of Maryland can do in the difficult weeks ahead. I can’t stress this enough—getting vaccinated and getting your booster is your strongest possible defense against this virus and its variants.”

Governor Larry Hogan’s office released the following updates Tuesday:

$100 Million in Emergency Funding to Address Staffing Needs at Maryland Hospitals and Nursing Homes. The governor announced a new funding injection of $100 million to spur an immediate ramp up in hospital and nursing home staffing resources, including:

  • $50 million through Maryland’s Health Services Cost Review Commission to immediately stabilize hospital workforce and staffing needs;
  • $25 million for hospitals and $25 million for nursing homes to also help expand the availability of COVID-19 testing, treatments, and vaccines.

Additional Actions to Ramp Up COVID-19 Testing. The State of Maryland continues to conduct high levels of COVID-19 testing. With demand increasing, Governor Hogan announced the following:

  • State health officials are continuing to make 500,000 at-home rapid tests available at BWI Airport and through local health departments, and are working to increase those weekly shipments to get more tests out more quickly.
  • MDH will expand operations to six days a week at its Annapolis and Prince George’s County COVID-19 testing sites. Testing at the State Center site in Baltimore City operated jointly with UMMS will expand as well, with at-home rapid test kits being made available on site. 
  • The governor is mobilizing the Maryland National Guard to provide support personnel to expand testing sites and hours. 
  • The Vaccine Equity Task Force is mobilizing additional resources to offer testing at vaccine clinics in vulnerable communities. 
  • The state will provide an additional $30 million in funding for schools to purchase testing resources.

Calls on the Federal Government to Dramatically Expand the Availability of Testing. As Maryland continues to further scale up its operations, Governor Hogan called on the federal government to do whatever it takes—including invoking the Defense Production Act—to dramatically expand the availability of testing to the American people.

Urges Marylanders to Get Vaccinated, Boosted. During today’s announcement, Governor Hogan also provided an update on COVID-19 hospitalizations, which have risen by more than 180% in the last month, and urged all eligible Marylanders to get vaccinated or get a booster shot as soon as possible to be protected from the virus and its variants.

Right now, the 9% of unvaccinated Marylanders continue to account for 75% of the state’s COVID-19 hospitalizations.

To find a vaccine clinic, visit covidvax.maryland.gov or call the state’s multilingual call center, available seven days a week, at 1-855-MD-GOVAX (1-855-634-6829).