Full capacity restored at child care centers.
Annapolis, Md (KM) Indoor visits can resume at Maryland’s nursing homes if they’re not experiencing a current outbreak, or have not had any positive cases of COVID-19 in 14 days. That announcement was made on Thursday by Governor Larry Hogan during a news conference in Annapolis. These are new stipulations are in keeping with federal guidelines, according to the Governor.
“This spring, for states across the nation, nursing homes became ground zero in the fight against COVID-19,” Hogan said. “And Maryland was one of the first states in America to issue strong guidelines to state nursing home facilities to restrict access to visitors, to institute strict inspection control protocols and limit all staff travel to protect our most vulnerable citizens,” he said.
The Governor also said his administration took other action to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, such as “directing all staff who interact with residents to wear personal protective equipment. And we then launched a statewide strike force, which became an example for the rest of the nation, to bring triage emergency care, supplies and equipment to overburdened nursing homes,” Hogan said.
State health officials are implementing new testing guidelines to screen visitors. Along with that, the state will provide $6-million to help families cover the cost of testing for nursing home staff. To date, state officials say, they’ve dedicated $102-million for testing and personal protective gear for nursing homes.
“This new federal policy, and our new state efforts, allow for more flexibility for compassionate care visits to support residents who need emotional and spiritual support,” the Governor says.
Under the new federal guidelines, nursing homes cannot allow indoor visits if their jurisdictions have a positivity rate of 10%.
In June, the Governor allowed nursing homes to hold limited outdoor visits for residents to meet with family from the outside world.
Child Care Centers
It was also announced at the Governor’s news conference that full capacity has been restored at child care centers in Maryland. “Today’s announcement means that child care centers can now serve up to 20, three and four years olds in one room, with a ratio of one teacher to ten students; and up to 30 school age students with a ratio of one teacher to 15 students,” said Dr. Karen Salmon, the State Superintendent of Schools.
The capacity was restricted earlier this years to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. “When the capacity limit for child care programs was increased in June from ten to 15 individuals per room, the state did not see a spike in cases within child care programs even if more providers opened their facilities,” said Dr. Salmon.
The Maryland State Department of Education says more than 6200, or 82%, of child care centers in Maryland have reopened.
Dr. Salmon says this action taken on Thursday to restore full capacity fills a need in the state. “We’ve heard very clearly from parents and providers who have written and called me that we needed to return to licensed capacity to meet the needs of working families, and to prevent the closure of child care centers once it could be done safely,” she said.
In order to help the child cadre facilities reopen, the states is providing one-time grants of $800 for family child care providers, and $1600 for center-based child care providers.
“The Maryland State Department of Education is also providing $1000 in start-up grants to eligible new family home care providers in effort to bolster new small businesses,” says Dr. Salmon.
For parents or guardians in need of child care, they can contact LOCATE: Child Care at https://www.marylandfamilynetwork.org/for-parents/locate-child-care. They can also talk to a specialist at 1-877-261-0060, Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM until 4:00 PM.
By Kevin McManus