Maryland Department of Health | WYPR

Maryland Department of Health

SCREENSHOT VIA YOUTUBE

Maryland is set to launch an online portal for all of its COVID-19 mass vaccination sites in March. Acting State Health Secretary Dennis Schrader made the announcement at a hearing Monday, where state senators continued to demand a more equitable distribution of the vaccine.

SCREENSHOT VIA GOVERNOR LARRY HOGAN FACEBOOK PAGE

Gov. Larry Hogan defended the state’s distribution process for the COVID-19 vaccine Thursday, arguing that Maryland is not getting enough doses from the federal government. 

 

“We need more damn vaccines,” he said at a news conference. “If I needed to drain the entire rainy day fund to buy enough vaccines for every eligible Marylander, I would do so today. Unfortunately, we have no control whatsoever over this supply problem.” 

SCREENSHOT VIA YOUTUBE

Responding to complaints from residents who can’t get an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccination, acting State Health Secretary Dennis Schrader suggested they sign up in multiple places.

“Once they get an appointment, we'd like to encourage them to...cancel the other waiting lists they've put themselves on,” he told a state senate workgroup Monday. 

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The first of six planned state-run mass vaccination sites are opening Friday at the Baltimore Convention Center Field Hospital and Six Flags America in Prince George’s County.

Due to limited supply, however, vaccinations are by appointment only. 

University of Maryland Medical System

Maryland Senate President Bill Ferguson is criticizing the state health department for a slow vaccine rollout and blaming the governor’s pick to run the department, Acting Health Secretary Dennis Schrader. 

Ferguson told reporters Tuesday that the Senate is unlikely to confirm Schrader as health secretary unless vaccine distribution improves.

SCREENSHOT VIA CHARM TV

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott announced a new contact tracing campaign called “Baltimore vs. COVID” today. The campaign comes as a surge of COVID-19 continues in the city.

Scott says the campaign aims to get more residents to answer contact tracing calls from the city and state health departments. 

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The University of Maryland Medical Center has opened a new 16-bed modular care unit for COVID-19 patients, the first of its kind in Baltimore.

The unit is an addition to the center’s 168 adult ICU beds.

Planning for the unit began in July, after the center was overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients in the spring. Dr. Gregory Schrank, co-incident commander of the center’s pandemic response, said the unit opened just in time.

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State leaders are grappling with how they would obtain and distribute a future COVID-19 vaccine. During a meeting with state lawmakers Wednesday, health officials and medical and pharmaceutical experts described a lack of national coordination and logistical challenges to distributing vaccines, while legislators questioned who will be able to get the vaccine first. 

SCREENSHOT VIA GOVERNOR LARRY HOGAN FACEBOOK PAGE

Gov. Larry Hogan announced yesterday that all of Maryland’s public schools should plan for in-person learning this fall. The announcement comes just days before the start of the school year. 

“It is absolutely critical that we begin the process of getting our children safely and gradually back into the classrooms,” Hogan said at a late afternoon press conference. 

Courtesy of MD Dept of Health

During this pandemic, contact tracers have been doing the critical job of tracking down people who might have come in contact with those who tested positive for COVID-19.

While the program has been expanding, there is a debate over how many tracers are needed and whether Maryland has enough.

Maryland Department of Health

The first patient from a state run hospital in Maryland died of COVID -19 over the weekend, a state health official confirmed.

The patient was staying in the geriatric ward of the Spring Grove Hospital Center in Catonsville, where, in the last two weeks, several patients and employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

Spring Grove is one of about ten state run hospitals that have a total of 1400 patients.  The Clifton T. Perkins Medical Center in Howard County is also experiencing an outbreak.  

Rachel Baye

Chronic understaffing at several state agencies is forcing employees to work 80-hour workweeks and endure dangerous work environments, some employees told state lawmakers at a briefing Tuesday.

Mary Rose Madden / wypr

State health officials expect that when the final numbers are accounted for, more than 2000 Marylanders will have died from opioid overdoses in 2018. And the number one opioid killer is fentanyl.