Governor Hogan Announces COVID-19 Testing Surge, $100 Million in Emergency Funding to Address Staffing Needs at Maryland Hospitals and Nursing Homes
Expands Days and Hours of Operations at Community Testing Sites, Mobilizes National Guard for Staffing Support
Commits $30 Million in Additional Funding for Schools To Purchase Testing Resources
Expands Mission of Vaccine Equity Task Force To Include Community Based-Testing
State Continues to Distribute 500,000 At-Home Rapid Tests at BWI Airport, Through Local Health Departments
Continues to Urge Marylanders to Get Vaccinated and Boosted to Protect Against Omicron Variant
ANNAPOLIS, MD—As the Omicron variant becomes more dominant and COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to rise across the state, Governor Larry Hogan today announced the commitment of $100 million in emergency funding to address urgent staffing needs at Maryland hospitals and nursing homes, as well as a series of actions to further ramp up the availability of COVID-19 testing across the state.
The governor was joined virtually for today’s announcements by Dr. Ted Delbridge, executive director of the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems; Dr. David Marcozzi, the COVID-19 incident commander for the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS); and Dr. Jinlene Chan, deputy secretary for public health services at the Maryland Department of Health (MDH).
“As I have been warning for the past few weeks, we are entering another pivotal moment in the fight against COVID-19,” said Governor Hogan. “We will continue to constantly monitor this surge and take additional actions as needed. There are also things that the people of Maryland can do in the difficult weeks ahead. I can’t stress this enough—getting vaccinated and getting your booster is your strongest possible defense against this virus and its variants.”
$100 Million in Emergency Funding to Address Staffing Needs at Maryland Hospitals and Nursing Homes. The governor announced a new funding injection of $100 million to spur an immediate ramp up in hospital and nursing home staffing resources, including:
- $50 million through Maryland’s Health Services Cost Review Commission to immediately stabilize hospital workforce and staffing needs;
- $25 million for hospitals and $25 million for nursing homes to also help expand the availability of COVID-19 testing, treatments, and vaccines.
Additional Actions to Ramp Up COVID-19 Testing. The State of Maryland continues to conduct high levels of COVID-19 testing. With demand increasing, Governor Hogan announced the following:
- State health officials are continuing to make 500,000 at-home rapid tests available at BWI Airport and through local health departments, and are working to increase those weekly shipments to get more tests out more quickly.
- MDH will expand operations to six days a week at its Annapolis and Prince George’s County COVID-19 testing sites. Testing at the State Center site in Baltimore City operated jointly with UMMS will expand as well, with at-home rapid test kits being made available on site.
- The governor is mobilizing the Maryland National Guard to provide support personnel to expand testing sites and hours.
- The Vaccine Equity Task Force is mobilizing additional resources to offer testing at vaccine clinics in vulnerable communities.
- The state will provide an additional $30 million in funding for schools to purchase testing resources.
Calls on the Federal Government to Dramatically Expand the Availability of Testing. As Maryland continues to further scale up its operations, Governor Hogan called on the federal government to do whatever it takes—including invoking the Defense Production Act—to dramatically expand the availability of testing to the American people.
Urges Marylanders to Get Vaccinated, Boosted. During today’s announcement, Governor Hogan also provided an update on COVID-19 hospitalizations, which have risen by more than 180% in the last month, and urged all eligible Marylanders to get vaccinated or get a booster shot as soon as possible to be protected from the virus and its variants.
Right now, the 9% of unvaccinated Marylanders continue to account for 75% of the state’s COVID-19 hospitalizations.
To find a vaccine clinic, visit covidvax.maryland.gov or call the state’s multilingual call center, available seven days a week, at 1-855-MD-GOVAX (1-855-634-6829).