Governor Larry Hogan today declared a 30-day state of emergency to take urgent short-term actions to combat the current COVID-19 surge and mobilized 1,000 members of the Maryland National Guard to assist state and local health officials with the ongoing pandemic response.
Today, Maryland hit a record high 3,057 COVID-19 hospitalizations, which is an increase of more than 500% in the last seven weeks. The newest projections show that COVID-19 hospitalizations could reach more than 5,000, which is more than 250% higher than the previous peak.
“The truth is that the next four to six weeks will be the most challenging of the entire pandemic,” Hogan said. “All of the emergency actions we are taking today are to keep our hospitals from overflowing, to keep our kids in school, and to keep Maryland open for business, and we will continue to take whatever actions are necessary in the very difficult days and weeks ahead.”
In addition to the 30-day state of emergency, below is a list of the actions Hogan announced today:
To assist hospitals and nursing homes in addressing staffing shortages, Hogan signed an executive order that authorizes the secretary of the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) to:
The governor enacted a second executive order that authorizes additional steps to further augment the state’s EMS workforce, which is on the front lines and also overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.
At Hogan’s direction, 1,000 members of the Maryland National Guard are being mobilized to assist state and local health officials with the state’s emergency pandemic response.
To meet the rising demand for testing and divert people from visiting hospital emergency rooms to get COVID-19 tests, the Maryland National Guard will assist with opening 20 testing sites outside of hospitals across the state. To find a testing site, visit www.covidtest.maryland.gov.
State health officials continue to urge residents not to visit an emergency room just to get a COVID-19 test.
Following the latest action from the Food and Drug Administration, the State of Maryland will now provide COVID-19 booster shots for children between the ages of 12 and 15. Marylanders are also now eligible to get a booster five months after completing their primary doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Previous guidance required eligible Marylanders to wait six months.
Hogan called on the Biden administration to take immediate action to:
Following yesterday’s announcement that the state is now providing two hours of paid leave for any employee who gets a booster shot, Hogan urged other employers across Maryland to provide leave for vaccinations and boosters. With face coverings now required in all state government buildings in Maryland, the governor also urged more employers to encourage the wearing of masks or face coverings.
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