On Thursday, June 9th, the State of Maryland unveiled “COVIDReady Maryland,” a long-term COVID preparedness plan to prevent hospitalizations and maintain a state of readiness.
The plan emphasizes three factors: infrastructure, awareness, and adaptability. Governor Larry Hogan discussed the transition in government operations in a press release:
‘Our state public health response has now fully transitioned from an emergency into an ongoing operation of state government,’ said Governor Hogan. ‘As the next phase of our nation-leading response and recovery, we are announcing our COVIDReady Maryland plan to maximize all of the available tools and treatments for preventing severe illness and keeping people from being hospitalized, and to maintain an ongoing state of readiness over the long term so that we are prepared to respond to any emerging variants and any potential waves or surges.’
COVIDReady Maryland includes the following:
- Expanded ‘Test To Treat’ Provider Infrastructure. ‘Test to Treat’ makes it easy for patients to get tested, evaluated, and treated during the same visit at the same location. Over the last three months, the state has nearly doubled its ‘Test To Treat’ sites to nearly 90 locations—including the State Center site in Baltimore City. With a focus on equitable geographical distribution to ensure Marylanders can easily access treatments, the Maryland Department of Health is preparing dozens more urgent care and ambulatory care locations to be ready to provide these services by the fall. Find a ‘Test to Treat’ site.
- Maximizing Utilization of Therapeutics. Therapeutics are a relatively new tool in the fight against COVID-19, but they are quickly becoming increasingly prevalent. In a month span this spring, therapeutic usage increased by 248%. While these treatments are not cures, they have a very high success rate of keeping people out of the hospital. State health officials will continue to encourage both patients and providers to take advantage of these treatments, which are now available at roughly 800 locations statewide. Learn more about COVID-19 treatments and therapeutics.
- Booster Shots for Eligible Populations. Maryland continues to be one of the most vaccinated and boosted states in America. The state maintains a robust vaccination infrastructure—well over 900 providers—and is focused on getting more eligible populations boosted. With all the evolving guidance coming from the federal government, state health officials have launched a new “Are You Up-To-Date?” portal that will allow you to check your vaccination status within seconds. Find a vaccination clinic near you.
- Enhanced Awareness and Outreach. The state’s GoVAX Call Center (1-855-MD-GOVAX) continues to be available seven days a week, and has now booked nearly 2 million appointments. In addition to providing a number of services for help with getting tested and vaccinated, the call center is conducting aggressive outreach around boosters and therapeutics. As of today, the call center’s volume includes more than 31.4 million calls and more than 16.5 million text messages. In addition, today, state health officials launched a new series of television, radio, and social media ads featuring Maryland families sharing their reasons for getting vaccinated against COVID-19. The state also continues to partner with community-based organizations, including the NAACP, with a focus on equity.
- State of Readiness for Variants and Waves. Maryland’s multi-agency COVID-19 task force continues to meet on a daily basis and aggressively monitor key data metrics. The state will continue to maintain the building blocks of the state’s successful Roadmap to Recovery, including substantial PCR and rapid at-home testing capacity; a robust stockpile of masks and PPE; contact tracing for high-priority cases; and hospital surge capacity. In addition, the state has provided record funding for local health departments to help bolster their preparedness efforts as well.
In addition to announcing COVIDReady Maryland, the state also announced COVID vaccinations might be available for children under the age of 5 as soon as June 20th. The state anticipates receiving an initial order of 65,400 doses to help cover the approximately 358,000 eligible Maryland children. As of Monday, June 13th, the Maryland Department of Health reports additional 1,888 confirmed cases within the last 24 hours and a positivity rate of 8.46%. Hospitalizations remain low across the state, with 439 beds occupied.