N95, KN 95 Masks To Be Made Available To Marylanders

Governor Larry Hogan

Gov. Hogan also six new testing centers to open up next week.

Easton, Md (KM) The N95 and KN95 masks, mostly used by physicians, nurses and other health care professionals are being made available allĀ  Marylanders starting next week as a way to fight the COVID-19 virus. Governor Larry Hogan made that announcement on Thursday. “The Maryland Department of Health, with the help of the Maryland National Guard, will begin distributing 20-million N95 and KN95 masks all across the state, at no cost, through multiple channels,” Hogan said.

He said those “multiple channels” include local health departments and all state-run vaccination sites.

“The Vaccine Equality Task Force, led by General {Janeen} Burkheart {with the Md. National Guard}, will also partner with community organizations, including the NAACP, to distribute N95 and KN95 masks into the community,” the Governor continued.

He says masks, along with the vaccines, are a very effective way of fighting COVID-19

N95 and KN95 masks are considered more effective than the cloth mask available to consumers.

The Governor made his announcement Thursday at the UM Shore Regional Health Center pavilion in Easton, the location of one of six new hospital-based testing sites in Maryland which are scheduled to open next week. The others are Holly Cross Hospital in Germantown in Montgomery County; Tidal Hospital in Wicomico County,;  Garrett Regional Medical Center in Garrett County;  Howard County General Hospital in Howard County; and UM Baltimore/Washington Medical Center in Anne Arundel County. .

“They are all expected to be fully operational by the end of next week,” he said. “As with the ten sites that we opened last week, all six of these new locations will also be open seven days a week. They’re going to help us keep our already strained emergency rooms and hospitals from getting overrun with people who are just trying to get a test.”

The Governor also announced some decisions on nursing homes,  which have been seen increases of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus among residents and staff. “The Maryland Department of Health is issuing an order today which requires  staff, volunteers and vendors who are regularly in the facility, regardless of their vaccination status, to be tested twice a week whenever community transmission is high.”

He said all visitor nursing homes will be required to provide proof of a negative test, or to be tested at the facility with a rapid test before entering. This order will go into affect next week, Hogan says.

The National Guard will also distribute Remdesivir, a therapeutic treatment believed to be effective against the Omicron variant, to institutional pharmacies that directly serve nursing homes.

By Kevin McManus