Here is a summary of items discussed at the Governor Hogan’s press conference on April 15th from the twitter account of Kata D. Hall (@katadhall) – Deputy Communications Director & Senior Speechwriter: (note – items relating to masks and face coverings are bolded below)
1) Governor Hogan is holding a press conference from the state house in Annapolis. I will thread his announcements and new actions.
2) The governor is providing an update on state and regional #COVID19 case counts. MD has now passed 10,000 confirmed cases. 349 Marylanders have died, including 87 in just the past 48 hours.
3) According to the governor, despite rising numbers, now beginning to see signs that early and aggressive actions taken by the state are making a difference. Hospitalization rates are showing signs of stabilizing, surge capacity and testing capability have increased.
4) The governor says due to early and aggressive actions and the extraordinary sacrifices of Marylanders, we are now in a position to move from containment and mitigation to planning the gradual roll out of our recovery phase.
5) 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.”
6) FACE COVERINGS. The governor announces an executive order which requires the wearing of masks or face coverings when inside retail establishments or when riding any form of public transportation in Maryland.
6a) 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, order will go into effect SATURDAY AT 7AM.
6b) @CDCgov has issued detailed guidance regarding how you can make homemade cloth face coverings which can be found at http://coronavirus.maryland.gov.
6c) Governor Hogan: “While this order is an important step in our immediate efforts to protect public health and safety, the wearing of masks is also something that we may all have to become more accustomed to in order to safely reopen our state.”
6d) READ THE GOVERNOR’S EXECUTIVE ORDER ON FACE COVERINGS: https://governor.maryland.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Masks-and-Physical-Distancing-4.15.20.pdf
7) RECOVERY PLAN. The governor lays out four critical building blocks of the state’s recovery plan.
-Exponentially expanding testing capacity
-Increasing hospital surge capacity
-Ramping up supply of PPE
-Building a robust contact tracing operation
8) EXPANDING TESTING. Maryland’s testing capacity has expanded by more than 5,000% in the past month and the state is on track to more than triple current capacity to up to 10,000 tests per day.
9) HOSPITAL SURGE. Plan to increase hospital capacity by 6,000 beds is weeks ahead of schedule. Now converting the Hagerstown Correctional Facility and former Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park (near highest concentration of cases in MoCo) to treat #COVID19 patients.
9a) Completing construction on a surge response tent at Adventist’s Fort Washington Hospital near highest case rates in Prince George’s County. Setting up 60 additional response tents in Frederick, Jessup, Hagerstown, Annapolis, Baltimore, Germantown, and Randallstown.
10) PPE. In the past week, the state has received 1 million additional face shields and 1,000 ICU beds. In the next week, expecting deliveries of 4.5 million additional N95 masks, 290 oxygen concentrators, and 252 ICU ventilators.
11) CONTACT TRACING. The state currently has 250 people conducting contact tracing. We plan to quadruple this force to at least 1,000 dedicated contact tracers.
12) STRIKE TEAMS. Strike teams have become a national model. Have responded to outbreaks in 16 nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and 15 group homes for medically fragile children.
12a) In partnership with @FEMA and @HHSGov, we have augmented our Maryland strike teams with 3 Disaster Medical Assistance Teams made up of physicians, paramedics, and safety officers who bring years of disaster response experience.
13) REGIONAL COLLABORATION. Governor Hogan will meet on Friday with @GovernorVA & @MayorBowser to discuss regional issues. The three leaders have been collaborating on a daily basis throughout the crisis.
14) GOVERNORS UPDATE. Gov. Hogan led another call with the nation’s governors this afternoon. Continues to press Congress to put aside partisan differences and act immediately on direct fiscal relief for the states.
15) Governor Hogan closes remarks by presenting Jimmy Beldon, ASL interpreter, with a citation in recognition of @aslday1817, National ASL Day.
The face coverings was the big announcement (I think) from this press conference today.
Still no word about schools yet. They are currently set to reopen on April 27th (and everyone knows that will not be happening). So hopefully by the end of the week or the beginning of next week that announcement will be released to the public.
Watch the full press conference here: https://www.facebook.com/GovLarryHogan/videos/1073508839696394/