Today, Maryland state health officials reported a record high 1,869 new cases of COVID-19, and total hospitalizations were at their highest levels since June 11. The weeks and months ahead will be the most difficult we have faced, and our primary goals must continue to be saving lives and preventing our hospitals from overflowing.
From day one of the pandemic, I have never hesitated to take the stepsI believed were necessary to keep the people of Maryland safe and I will continue to do so. The following actions were announced this week:
- Indoor dining. Indoor operations for bars and restaurants have been reduced from 75% to 50%. Bars and restaurants are permitted to be open for seated and distanced service only, with strict capacity restrictions.
- Indoor gatherings. With contact tracing data showing an uptick in cases resulting from family gatherings and house parties, state health officials have issued a public health advisory strongly discouraging indoor gatherings of 25 people or more.
- Travel advisory. Marylanders are strongly advised against traveling to any state with a positivity rate above 10% or any state with average case rates above 20 per 100K. Anyone traveling from these states should get tested and self-quarantine while awaiting results. Marylanders are advised to postpone or cancel travel to these areas until their positivity and/or case rates decline.
- Mandatory telework. A period of mandatory telework has been implemented across state agencies, except for essential direct public-facing services and other essential personnel. State officials strongly encourage all businesses to take immediate steps to expand telework.
- Hospital surge capacity. State health officials have issued an emergency order expanding hospital surge capacity that provides state EMS officials with the flexibility to shift patients to alternate care sites and to add capacity at those sites if the need arises.
- Nursing homes and assisted living facilities. State health officials have issued new guidance for slowing the spread of COVID-19 at nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Marylanders should stay home if sick and get tested before they visit their loved ones.
I also want to remind Marylanders that we have a statewide masking order in effect. It requires everyone to wear masks or face coverings in the public spaces of all businesses across the state and at outdoor public areas when it is not possible to maintain physical distancing.
Stay safe, stay #MarylandStrong.
On November 10, the Maryland Department of Health launched MD COVID Alert, a contact tracing app for Marylanders to opt into COVID-19 exposure notifications on their smartphones. MD COVID Alert uses Bluetooth to notify users who may have been exposed to someone who tested positive for the virus.