State Fights COVID Surge with $100 Million in Emergency Funding

Maryland will adopt several measures, including the release of $100 million in emergency funding, to combat a recent surge in COVID-19 infections.

In addition to committing $100 million toward urgent staffing needs at Maryland hospitals and nursing homes, the days and hours of operations at community testing sites will be expanded and the National Guard will be providing staffing support. Another $30 million will be provided to schools to purchase testing resources.

Governor Larry Hogan discussed steps Marylanders can take to combat the surge in a press release:

“As I have been warning for the past few weeks, we are entering another pivotal moment in the fight against COVID-19,” said Governor Hogan. “We will continue to constantly monitor this surge and take additional actions as needed. There are also things that the people of Maryland can do in the difficult weeks ahead. I can’t stress this enough—getting vaccinated and getting your booster is your strongest possible defense against this virus and its variants.”

Additional details regarding the above measures follow:

$100 Million in Emergency Funding to Address Staffing Needs at Maryland Hospitals and Nursing Homes. The governor announced a new funding injection of $100 million to spur an immediate ramp up in hospital and nursing home staffing resources, including:

  • $50 million through Maryland’s Health Services Cost Review Commission to immediately stabilize hospital workforce and staffing needs;
  • $25 million for hospitals and $25 million for nursing homes to also help expand the availability of COVID-19 testing, treatments, and vaccines.

Additional Actions to Ramp Up COVID-19 Testing. The State of Maryland continues to conduct high levels of COVID-19 testing. With demand increasing, Governor Hogan announced the following:

  • State health officials are continuing to make 500,000 at-home rapid tests available at BWI Airport and through local health departments, and are working to increase those weekly shipments to get more tests out more quickly.
  • MDH will expand operations to six days a week at its Annapolis and Prince George’s County COVID-19 testing sites. Testing at the State Center site in Baltimore City operated jointly with UMMS will expand as well, with at-home rapid test kits being made available on site.
  • The governor is mobilizing the Maryland National Guard to provide support personnel to expand testing sites and hours.
  • The Vaccine Equity Task Force is mobilizing additional resources to offer testing at vaccine clinics in vulnerable communities.
  • The state will provide an additional $30 million in funding for schools to purchase testing resources.

The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) reported a 24-hour increase of 6,218 confirmed COVID-19 cases, although this number may be subject to change. MDH noted a server outage potentially affecting its data on its website:

MDH is experiencing a server outage as the result of a network security incident. As of 12/20/2021, 90 percent of state-level surveillance data for confirmed cases, persons tested negative, testing volume and positivity rate are restored. MDH continues to work to reinstate the full COVID-19 dataset and will resume reporting more surveillance information—including deaths and numbers by jurisdiction—as soon as possible. Vaccine data and hospitalizations remain current as of 12/21/2021.

Read the full press release.