It will also make COVID-19 testing and treatment more available at hospitals & nursing homes.
Annapolis, Md (KM) Governor Larry Hogan announced on Tuesday that $100-million in emergency funding is being made available to hospitals to address staff shortages due to more COVID-19 patients. “We’re committing $50-million through the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission to immediately stabilize hospital workforce and staffing needs,” he says. “We’re also providing another $50-million for hospitals and nursing homes that will also help expand the availability of COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccines.
Hogan made that announcement on Tuesday from his home where he’s quarantined due to testing positive for COVID-19.
“This emergency funding injection is to allow for an immediate ramp up in hospital and nursing home staffing resources,” he says. “We will continue to constantly monitor this surge and take additional actions as needed.”
This action comes as Maryland is experiencing a h high rate of COVID-19 patients coming to the hospitals across the state, and the Omicron variant is becoming more dominant. . “Last week, we experienced three days of more than 3,000 cases. And today, we’re reporting a single day high of 6,218 new cases. Most concerning, hospitalizations are now up to 1,392 which is an increase of more than 180% in the last month,” he says.
The Governor also says the positivity rate is high at 11.6%. “And while that is much lower than some of our neighbors in the region, who are experiencing positivity rates of anywhere of 38% to 43%, it’s still higher than we want it to be.”
As part of his announcement, the Governor said an additional $30-million in funding is being made available for schools to purchase testing resources. He also says the state will continue to make 500,000 home rapid test kits available at BWI Airport and local health departments, and it’s working to get more tests out to more quickly.
At his briefing on Tuesday, Governor Hogan also strongly encouraged Marylanders who have not been vaccinated against COVID to roll up their sleeves. He said 91% of Marylanders are vaccinated with more than 10-million shots administered. But Hogan noted a majority of those patients hospitalized with COVID are unvaccinated. “Right now, the remaining 9% is responsible for more 75% of our COVID-19 hospitalizations, pushing our hospital system and our health care heroes to the brink,” he said.
To find a vaccine clinic, go on line to covidvax.maryland.gov. or call 1-855-MD-GOVAX (1-855-634-6829).
By Kevin McManus