After two consecutive days of 1,000 plus new COVID-19 cases in the state, Gov. Larry Hogan urged Marylanders Thursday to reinvigorate their efforts to contain the spread of the disease.
Joined in a late afternoon news conference by Dr. David Marcozzi, a member of the governor’s COVID-19 task force, Hogan said that Maryland’s statewide metrics do not yet warrant taking drastic, immediate actions. But the upticks here and the spiking numbers in other states point to the need to renew public efforts to keep the virus at bay.
And the simplest thing you can do, he said, is wear a mask.
“It is the best way to keep you and your family members safe, to keep people out of the hospital, save lives and to keep Maryland open for business. It’s that simple. It’s not that hard. Just wear the damn masks.”
In addition, he said he was renewing his travel advisory of last spring, warning Marylanders to avoid traveling to or from states with positivity rates of 10 percent or higher.
“We strongly advise you to cancel or postpone any travel to those areas until positivity rates decline,” he said. “If you do travel to one of these locations you should immediately be tested for COVID 19 and you should self-quarantine while awaiting the results.”
Last spring, Hogan also issued executive orders to beef up the numbers of medical personnel in the state by fast tracking the licensing process for out of state health care practitioners and to allow those with expired medical licenses to assist.
He also activated a medical reserve corps to assist in the emergency and directed the state health department to set up a program to allow medical students to help.
“More than 15,000 people signed up to be a part of this initiative from every single jurisdiction throughout the state,” he said. “Today we are once again asking for more help. To sign up please go to mdresponse.health.maryland.gov.”
Dr. Marcozzi, the COVID 19 incident commander for the University of Maryland Medical System, warned that next few months will be a period of high risk. But he added the virus doesn’t just affect us physically. It also affects us mentally.
He experienced that personally, he said choking up, as he lost a friend to suicide during the pandemic.
“Let’s make sure we stay connected,” he said, pausing between sentences to gather himself. “Let’s make sure we reach out. Let’s make sure we support each other and talk to a professional if helpful.”
Marylanders need to make good decisions today, even if they’re tiresome, he said, or risk losing the “positive impact we have all worked so hard to achieve.”
“I’m tired of COVID 19. I think we are all tired of COVID 19. But the virus isn’t tired. It is waiting. That is our reality and these next few months will require us to double our efforts and stay the course.”
He said that means wear a mask over your mouth and nose, maintain social distance, wash your hands frequently, get a flu shot, telework if you can and get the vaccine when it becomes available.
“This may get worse before it gets better,” he warned. “And we are all in this together. Don’t regret a decision today that negatively impacts someone you love tomorrow.”