Some very big announcements were made at the press conference held by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan on May 6th. Here is a summary of items announced:
1) Governor Hogan is holding a press conference at the state house in Annapolis.
I will thread his announcements and new actions.
2) The governor begins by discussing the ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery,’ which he introduced 12 days ago, on April 24, and is built upon four essential building blocks.
3) TESTING. We have expanded testing capacity to cover outbreaks and hotspots. Completed a survey of all nursing homes and universal testing of residents and staff is underway.
3a) Tested 2,300 people at Perdue Stadium in Salisbury last weekend in response to poultry processing plant outbreak. Will be conducting universal testing shift by shift at both processing plants to ensure that every poultry worker is tested.
3b) We are placing a surge tent at Easton Memorial Hospital to prepare for a spike in patients from that outbreak.
@CDCgov is on the ground to assist with contact tracing. Continue to coordinate with Delaware and Virginia.
3c) Expanding testing for healthcare workers and first responders at local fire and EMS departments and for state employee healthcare workers at @MDHealthDept, @MDPublicSafety, and @MarylandDJS. Expanding hours and days of operation of all VEIP drive-thru testing sites.
4) HOSPITAL CAPACITY. We have exceeded our goal of adding 6,000 beds. Now have an additional 8,100 surge beds, including 2,400 ICU beds statewide. Laurel Hospital is adding a new wing. Adding new rooms @AdventistHC in Takoma Park.
5) PPE. Recently acquired 4.5 million KN95 masks, 600,000 N95 masks, 150,000 medical gowns, 1.1 million face shields, and 3.5 million surgical gloves. Launched ‘Maryland Manufacturing Network Supplier Portal’ to connect MD suppliers with buyers.
6) BLUE FLAME. Last week, the governor directed @MDDGS to cancel a PPE order and directed Attorney General @BrianFrosh to begin an investigation of Blue Flame Medical.
6a) It is being reported today that @TheJusticeDept has also launched a federal investigation into Blue Flame’s interactions with multiple states, including California.
6b) Governor Hogan: “It is unconscionable that anyone would try to exploit this pandemic for profit or personal gain, which is why I’m pleased that we were able to act so swiftly to uncover Blue Flame’s potential wrongdoings and to alert authorities.”
7) CONTACT TRACING. Recently executed a contract with @NORCNews, the nation’s oldest and largest university-based research firm to quadruple our disease investigation capability. Hiring is underway with more than 900 applicants.
8) Yesterday, in partnership with @pfizer and @BioNTech_Group
, the very first patients in the U.S. were given a test vaccine at @UMmedschool as part of a global #COVID19 vaccine development program.
9) @GileadSciences has donated 1,600 doses of Remdesivir to the State of Maryland. This is the only drug proven in a clinical study to help with #COVID19 and will be deployed to Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties where we have the highest number of cases.
10) Governor Hogan: Progress on four building blocks puts us much closer to being able to launch Stage One of reopening. We are also beginning to see encouraging numbers. Hospitalizations are slightly down from a week ago, ICU numbers plateauing for 8 days.
11) Governor Hogan: “If these trends continue into next week, we will be ready to lift the stay at home order and to begin Stage One…That would mean the reopening of certain types of businesses and lower risk community, religious, and quality of life activities.”
12) The governor held another call with his Coronavirus Recovery Team yesterday. Also received reports from 15 industry-specific business advisory groups on proposed guidelines to help determine how they can safely reopen.
13) Governor Hogan: “Our Coronavirus Recovery Team, including all the scientists and doctors, has agreed that there are some additional things that we can safely do right now, prior to the lifting of the stay at home order and the beginning of Stage One.”
14) ELECTIVE SURGERIES. @MDHealthDept will issue guidelines, effective immediately, to allow for elective procedures at the discretion of local hospitals and health care providers.
15) OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES. Effective at 7AM tomorrow, the list of safe outdoor activities will be broadened to include: golf, tennis, boating, fishing, camping. Closed functions at state parks will be reopened, including all state beaches for walking and exercise, and playgrounds.
15a) Local governments will have the flexibility to take similar actions at their discretion. However, it is critical that Marylanders continue to follow public health guidance and practice physical distancing.
16) Dr. David Marcozzi, COVID-19 Incident Commander for @umms, is now discussing the governor’s directive regarding elective medical procedures.
17) Now hearing updates from Dr. Karen Salmon: MSDE has been able to distribute $34 million dollars in payments to over 3,700 child care providers serving children of essential personnel, and all payments are now up-to-date.
18) Since the beginning of school closures in March, MSDE has served nearly 8 million meals to school-aged children in Maryland with the support of local food directors and @MDNG.
19) ***Maryland public schools will be CLOSED for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic school year.
19a) While online and distance learning opportunities will continue, the department is releasing “Maryland Together: Recovery Plan for Education,’ a comprehensive plan for long-term recovery.
19b) At this point, MSDE does not envision that schools would be included in Stage One of the governor’s plan. However, different methods of returning to school could be included in both Stage Two and Three.
20) Decisions regarding GRADUATION will be made by each local superintendent. MSDE has been assured by each superintendent that they are collaborating with local community to ensure that Seniors will have the opportunity to be recognized for their exceptional accomplishments.
Watch the full press conference here: https://www.facebook.com/GovLarryHogan/videos/702834520495336/