VIDEO | Md. Transitions To COVIDReady Maryland Long-Term Preparation Plan
Maryland now has a long-term plan to minimize the risk of COVID-19, transitioning from an emergency health response into an ongoing operation of state government.
Governor Larry Hogan said Thursday that COVIDReady Maryland includes expanding test-to-treat services, which allow people to get tested, evaluated and treated during one visit at one location. The COVID-Ready Maryland plan also looks to maximize utilization of available therapeutics, getting more eligible Marylanders boosted, expanded awareness and outreach, and being prepared for variant and possible future waves of cases.
“Our state public health response has now fully transitioned from an emergency into an ongoing operation of state government,” Hogan said. “As the next phase of our nation-leading response and recovery, we are announcing our COVIDReady Maryland plan to maximize all of the available tools and treatments for preventing severe illness and keeping people from being hospitalized, and to maintain an ongoing state of readiness over the long term so that we are prepared to respond to any emerging variants and any potential waves or surges.”
Hogan’s office provided additional details:
COVIDReady Maryland includes:
- Expanded ‘Test To Treat’ Provider Infrastructure. ‘Test to Treat’ makes it easy for patients to get tested, evaluated, and treated during the same visit at the same location. Over the last three months, the state has nearly doubled its ‘Test To Treat’ sites to nearly 90 locations—including the State Center site in Baltimore City. With a focus on equitable geographical distribution to ensure Marylanders can easily access treatments, the Maryland Department of Health is preparing dozens more urgent care and ambulatory care locations to be ready to provide these services by the fall. Find a ‘Test to Treat’ site.
- Maximizing Utilization of Therapeutics. Therapeutics are a relatively new tool in the fight against COVID-19, but they are quickly becoming increasingly prevalent. In a month span this spring, therapeutic usage increased by 248%. While these treatments are not cures, they have a very high success rate of keeping people out of the hospital. State health officials will continue to encourage both patients and providers to take advantage of these treatments, which are now available at roughly 800 locations statewide. Learn more about COVID-19 treatments and therapeutics.
- Booster Shots for Eligible Populations. Maryland continues to be one of the most vaccinated and boosted states in America. The state maintains a robust vaccination infrastructure—well over 900 providers—and is focused on getting more eligible populations boosted. With all the evolving guidance coming from the federal government, state health officials have launched a new “Are You Up-To-Date?” portal that will allow you to check your vaccination status within seconds. Find a vaccination clinic near you.
- Enhanced Awareness and Outreach. The state’s GoVAX Call Center (1-855-MD-GOVAX) continues to be available seven days a week, and has now booked nearly 2 million appointments. In addition to providing a number of services for help with getting tested and vaccinated, the call center is conducting aggressive outreach around boosters and therapeutics. As of today, the call center’s volume includes more than 31.4 million calls and more than 16.5 million text messages. In addition, today, state health officials launched a new series of television, radio, and social media ads featuring Maryland families sharing their reasons for getting vaccinated against COVID-19. The state also continues to partner with community-based organizations, including the NAACP, with a focus on equity.
- State of Readiness for Variants and Waves. Maryland’s multi-agency COVID-19 task force continues to meet on a daily basis and aggressively monitor key data metrics. The state will continue to maintain the building blocks of the state’s successful Roadmap to Recovery, including substantial PCR and rapid at-home testing capacity; a robust stockpile of masks and PPE; contact tracing for high-priority cases; and hospital surge capacity. In addition, the state has provided record funding for local health departments to help bolster their preparedness efforts as well.
State Health Officials Provide Update on Vaccines For Children Under 5
At today’s press conference, Deputy Public Health Secretary Dr. Jinlene Chan provided an update on the state’s preparations for vaccinations for children under 5 years of age. There are approximately 358,000 Maryland children in the new eligible age group.
“These COVID-19 vaccines, just like the other COVID-19 vaccines we have for other age groups, will help protect our youngest Marylanders against severe illness, hospitalization, or even death from this virus,” said Dr. Chan. “Our goal with this age group, as it has been for all age groups, is to distribute these COVID-19 vaccines equitably across the state, utilizing our vast network of pediatricians and family practitioners, as well as local health departments, who will be at the forefront of this vaccination effort.”
Pending FDA and CDC approval, as early as Monday, June 20, COVID-19 vaccines for infants and toddlers will be available in Maryland. In anticipation of this, yesterday the state completed its first order of these vaccines. The state expects to receive approximately 65,400 doses initially with additional doses to come.