Hogan: COVID-19 Surge Puts MD in “Red Zone”

As COVID-19 cases are surging across the state, Governor Larry Hogan today held a press conference to update Marylanders on the state’s plan to mitigate and recover from the pandemic.

“The indisputable fact is that we are now in the midst of a major surge of COVID-19 in America,” said Hogan. Maryland’s seven-day positivity rate currently sits at 4.21%. There are now seven jurisdictions in Maryland with seven-day positivity rates above the 5% benchmark.

Hogan said that Maryland is now in the federal ‘red zone’ for case rates — an average of 15 cases per 100,000 people — a 22% increase over the past week. In 18 of 24 jurisdictions, the case rates are now above 10 cases per 100,000. While the governor explained that the statewide metrics do not yet warrant taking drastic and/or immediate actions, Maryland is at a pivotal moment in the fight against COVID-19.

According to Governor Hogan:

The State has been preparing for a fall surge since the beginning of the crisis, and Maryland has met and exceeded the goal of increasing surge capacity to 6,000 beds, built a robust contact tracing operations of nearly 1,400 tracers, implemented a long-term test strategy, deployed rapid antigen tests to all nursing homes, and distributed more than 78 million units of PPE — as well as built up a 60-day emergency supply of the most critical resources.

Marylanders cannot afford to let our guard down. The weeks and months ahead will be difficult, and our collective actions will determine whether we can continue safely on the road to recovery.

Nearly 40 Maryland companies are working on developing and manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics. Also, the Maryland Department of Health has submitted a plan to the CDC for ordering, distributing, and administering a vaccine when it is available.  Hogan also continued to encourage medical and public health volunteers to register for the Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps.

Travel Advisory

As of today, Maryland is renewing its travel advisory and warning Marylanders to avoid traveling to or from states with positivity rates of 10% or higher. “Travel to these areas should be canceled or postponed, but if it is necessary – individuals are advised to immediately be tested and self-quarantine while awaiting test results,” said Hogan. Maryland employers should make every effort to give employees the opportunity to telework.

Mask Order Remains In Effect

The statewide mask order remains in full force and effect, requiring all individuals to wear masks or face coverings in public spaces of all businesses and outdoors when social distancing cannot be maintained.

Majority of New Cases Connected to “High-Risk” Activities

Hogan stated that the virus will be with us well into the next calendar year and it may become worse over the past few months. According to contact tracing data, 56% of all interviewed cases indicated that in the two weeks prior to contracting the virus, they had traveled outside Maryland, worked outside the home, attended a gathering with at least 10 people, or visited a high-risk location.

Watch the full press conference.

Stay tuned to Conduit Street for the latest updates.