ANNAPOLIS — Governor Larry Hogan on Jan. 4 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.
Just four days into 2022 and 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,” said Governor Hogan. “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.”
Authorization of Maryland Secretary of Health to Regulate Hospital Personnel, Bed Space, and Supplies. To assist hospitals and nursing homes in addressing staffing shortages, Governor Hogan signed an executive order that authorizes the secretary of the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) to:
Expansion of EMS Workforce. 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. Read the executive order.
Mobilization of 1,000 Members of the Maryland National Guard. At Governor 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.
Opening 20 New Hospital-Adjacent Testing Sites Across the State. 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 covidtest.maryland.gov. State health officials continue to urge residents not to visit an emergency room just to get a COVID-19 test.
Authorization of Booster Shots for 12- to 15-Year-Olds. Following the latest action from the FDA, 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. Read the updated MDH bulletin.
Calls for Federal Action on Monoclonal Antibodies, Rapid Tests, COVID-19 Antiviral Pills. Governor Hogan called on the Biden administration to take immediate action to:
Calls on Maryland Employers to Incentivize Vaccinations and Boosters, Encourage Masks or Face Coverings. Following an announcement on Jan. 3 that the state is now providing two hours of paid leave for any employee who gets a booster shot, Governor 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.