He’s also mobilizing 1,000 National Guard members to respond to this COVID surge.
Annapolis, Md (KM) Governor Larry Hogan on Tuesday proclaimed a 30-day State of Emergency to battle the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus. He says this variant has “spread like wildfire” around the country and the world. “Today, Maryland hit a record high of 3,057 COVID hospitalizations, which is an increase of more than 500% in the last seven weeks. and which is now overwhelming normal operations at hospitals,” he said.
During his news conference at the State Highway Administration Coordinated Highway Action Response Team (CHART) Operations Center, Governor Hogan announced two new executive orders. “The first gives Maryland’s Health Secretary to power regulate hospital personnel, bed space and supplies,” he said. “It includes the ability to direct and expedite the transfer of patients between hospital facilities as necessary.”
The order also allows interstate reciprocity for health care licenses; authorizes graduate nurses to work at any health care facility and provide full nursing services; allow inactive health care professionals to practice without reinstating their licenses; and allow health care professionals to practice outside of the scope of their licenses.
“Today, at my direction, we are mobilizing 1,000 members of the Maryland National Guard to assist state and local health officials with the state’s emergency pandemic response,” Governor Hogan said. 250 members of the Guard will be deployed to support COVID-19 testing facilities around the state, including hospitals and skilled nursing facilities, and to assist with patient transport.
He also said the state is opening 20 near hospital-adjacent testing sties across the state.
Following FDA actions, Hogan is also authorizing the administration of booster shots against COVID-19 to children age 12 to 15.
“All of the emergency actions that we’re taking today are to keep our hospitals from overflowing, to keep our kids in school, and to keep Maryland open for business,” Governor Hogan said. “And we will continue to take whatever actions are necessary in the difficult days and weeks ahead.”
He also called on the Biden Administration to take action to increase the distribution of monoclonal antibodies, “which are very effective, lifesaving treatments.” The Governor also called on the federal government to expedite approval of additional rapid test for public use, and to expedite the production and distribution of the new COVID-19 antiviral pills which were recently authorized by the FDA.
The Governor continued to encourage Marylanders who have not been vaccinated to roll up their sleeves, and, if they can, to get booster shots. He also urged residents to continue practicing social distancing and to “wear the damn masks.”
By Kevin McManus