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Governor Hogan Activates Statewide Strike Teams for Nursing Homes, Enacts Order to Shut Down Unsafe Facilities

_Tours Field Hospital Site at Baltimore Convention Center
Directs Health Department to Provide Racial and Ethnic Breakdowns on COVID-19 Cases
Announces Designation of Baltimore-Washington Corridor as Emerging Hotspot by Federal Administration

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ANNAPOLIS, MD — Governor Larry Hogan today toured the state’s field hospital site at the Baltimore Convention Center, where he announced additional actions to slow the spread of COVID-19. Actions the governor announced today in Baltimore City include:

  • New strike teams to help nursing home facilities in need of additional support
  • A new executive order empowering local health departments to shut down any business, establishment, or construction site it deems unsafe
  • The release of additional demographic breakdowns of Maryland case data, including hospitalization rates and mortality

The governor also announced that the White House and federal officials have now designated the Baltimore-Washington corridor as an emerging hotspot.

“This virus continues to spread in every single jurisdiction in the state, but the concentration of Maryland cases has rapidly intensified particularly in the Baltimore-Washington corridor,” said Governor Hogan. “Over the past two weeks I have been sounding the alarm with the president, the vice president, members of the president’s task force, and other top administration officials, and I’m pleased to report that we have succeeded in convincing the Trump administration to designate the greater Baltimore-Washington corridor as a priority.”

Below is a comprehensive list of actions and updates the governor announced today:

STRIKE TEAMS FOR NURSING HOMES: Governor Hogan announced the formation of statewide strike teams, the first such effort in the nation, to provide support to nursing home facilities. The teams will be composed of members of the National Guard, representatives of local and state health departments, and EMS clinicians, as well as doctors and nurses from local hospital systems. These strike teams will be activated in response to requests from nursing homes, local health departments, and Maryland Department of Health (MDH) infectious disease experts. There will be three types of teams:

  • Testing teams, to identify those in close contact with a confirmed case, and collect and send out specimens for the fastest test available.
  • Assistance teams, to quickly assess the situation on-site, determine equipment and supply needs, and triage residents.
  • Clinical teams, which will include doctors, nurse practitioners, and registered nurses from major hospital systems, tasked with providing on-site medical triage and stabilizing residents.

SHUTTING DOWN UNSAFE FACILITIES: Governor Hogan has issued a new executive order empowering local health departments to take action against any businesses, establishments, and construction sites they deem unsafe. The local health department, working with local law enforcement, can modify operations, limit movements to and from the facilities, or shut them down altogether. Read the governor’s order.

BALTIMORE-WASHINGTON CORRIDOR: After weeks of pressing for action, Governor Hogan announced that top federal officials have agreed to designate the greater Baltimore-Washington corridor as a priority and emerging hotspot. This includes Baltimore City and Baltimore County, as well as Anne Arundel, Calvert, Carroll, Charles, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s, and Queen Anne’s counties.

RELEASE OF ADDITIONAL DEMOGRAPHIC DATA: Governor Hogan has directed MDH—through the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities—to immediately take all actions necessary in order to provide further demographic breakdowns on race and ethnicity for all case data, including hospitalization rates and mortality. This week, MDH’s coronavirus resource page, coronavirus.maryland.gov, will begin displaying available data on racial and ethnic breakdown of COVID-19 cases, with updates as new data becomes available.

BALTIMORE CITY EFFORTS: Governor Hogan announced that the state will continue to support Baltimore City’s efforts to fight COVID-19, including the field hospital site, where COVID-19 patients who no longer require hospitalization will be able to complete their care and fully recover. The state will continue to provide support to the Baltimore Police Department as needed, and help stand up the community-based screening site at the Pimlico race course.

HOSPITAL SURGE UPDATE: Governor Hogan provided an update on the state’s hospital surge plan, announcing that the state has—on an emergency basis—approved 27 newly licensed assisting living programs, 42 residential sites for individuals with developmental disabilities, six newly licensed residential service agencies to provide home-based services, and 14 newly licensed clinical laboratories.

MARYLAND UNITES: Governor Hogan also encouraged Marylanders to donate and volunteer through the Maryland Unites initiative, saying, “While social distancing keeps us physically isolated from one another, there are so many examples of how in many ways this crisis is bringing Marylanders closer together with compassion and generosity.” Thousands of Marylanders have already answered the governor’s calls to action by registering for the Maryland Responds Reserve Medical Corps, making appointments to give blood, and donating to the Maryland Food Bank and other critical organizations.

All of Governor Hogan’s emergency orders and proclamations are available here. For COVID-19 resources, including case counts and clinician guidance, visit coronavirus.maryland.gov.