Report for America | WYPR

Report for America

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 YOUTUBE

Maryland senators, already frustrated over what they call the inequitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccine in the state, criticized the state health department’s performance at a weekly hearing Monday. 

As lawmakers on the Senate’s Vaccine Oversight Workgroup questioned Acting State Health Secretary Dennis Schrader, they pointed to Prince George’s County, a majority Black jurisdiction. 

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.” 

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

A bill that would prevent landlords from charging tenants late fees until after they receive public assistance funds ran into a mixed reception in a city council committee hearing Tuesday.

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. 

MARCO VERCH / FLICKR

Maryland hospitals are finally getting second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine they were supposed to get over the past two weeks. 

Bob Atlas, President & CEO of the Maryland Hospital Association, says that hospitals are no longer short on their allocated second doses. The late second doses started arriving at the end of last week. 

SCREENSHOT VIA CHARM TV

The Baltimore City Health Department launched a new, online public COVID-19 vaccine dashboard Friday. 

Most of the initial data involves information on first doses. According to the dashboard, data on second doses is “forthcoming.”

 

The dashboard breaks down information on vaccinations that have been administered by age, race, ethnicity, gender and zip code. About 30% of first doses have gone to Black city residents as of Friday, according to the dashboard. The city’s population is more than 60% Black.

Wikimedia Commons

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. 

Wikimedia Commons

All nine Democrats in Maryland’s congressional delegation are calling on Gov. Larry Hogan to create a more centralized and equitable distribution process for the COVID-19 vaccine. 

The members, led by Sen. Chris Van Hollen and Congressman Anthony G. Brown, sent a letter to the governor Wednesday, citing frustrations from constituents across the state who have been eligible but unable to get their vaccines. 

SCREENSHOT VIA BROOKE LIERMAN FACEBOOK PAGE

State data shows that Black Marylanders have been receiving the COVID-19 vaccine at lower rates, even while being disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

Rev. Kobi Little, president of the Baltimore chapter of the NAACP, called for more equitable vaccine distribution. He spoke at a vaccine info session with local health experts on Monday afternoon. 

SCREENSHOT VIA CHARM TV

As Baltimore continues to grapple with a snowstorm that began Sunday, the Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services is expanding shelter accommodations.

Tisha Edwards, the office’s acting director, said Sunday her office is operating three hotels, two shelters and two recreation centers  — the Greenmount Recreation Center at 2304 Greenmount Avenue and the Robert C. Marshall Recreation Center, 1201 Pennsylvania Avenue — as winter shelter sites through Wednesday. 

SCREENSHOT VIA YOUTUBE

Maryland is continuing to face COVID-19 vaccine shortages and distribution challenges, despite entering a new phase of vaccinations this week. 

In a grim overview of the state’s rollout Tuesday, Gov. Larry Hogan said the federal government has allocated Maryland about 10,000 doses per day. There are about 2 million residents who are currently eligible to receive vaccines. 

SCREENSHOT VIA YOUTUBE

  Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday afternoon that at least six new sites will be opening for mass COVID-19 vaccinations. 

The state health department and the National Guard will oversee the new sites. Health department Secretary Dennis Schrader said the state is still finalizing locations. 

SARAH Y. KIM/WYPR

Baltimore landlords would not be able to evict tenants whose leases have expired under a bill introduced to the City Council Monday night.

Councilman Antonio Glover, a Democrat from East Baltimore’s 13th District who is sponsoring the bill, says landlords would be required to give tenants the opportunity to renew their leases before evicting them.


SARAH Y. KIM/WYPR

The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is pulling together a new statewide initiative to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks in public housing facilities: sampling and testing wastewater for the virus. 

“COVID is excreted in the GI tract of individuals who are infected,” explains Dr. Adena Greenbaum of the Baltimore City Health Department. 

If you start seeing levels of COVID increase in wastewater samples, it indicates that someone in the facility has the disease and you can start taking preventative measures.

SCREENSHOT VIA GOVERNOR LARRY HOGAN FACEBOOK PAGE

Maryland is expanding access to telehealth services for mental and behavioral health disorders. 

  

Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford said in a news conference Thursday that insurance carriers and Medicaid would be required to reimburse patients  for audio-only telehealth services under a measure they are sending to the General Assembly. 

Wikimedia Commons

As Maryland’s annual General Assembly session opens Wednesday, a coalition of lawmakers and advocates are pushing a package of bills that would provide relief to tenants and homeowners hurt by the pandemic. 

The session begins weeks before eviction and foreclosure moratoriums expire on Jan. 31. 

SARAH Y. KIM/WYPR

 

Baltimore City Council members and housing advocates announced a legislative package Monday afternoon to address housing insecurity. The bills will be introduced at January’s city council meetings. 

The package includes a bill that would prevent landlords from evicting tenants when their leases expire. Landlords have been able to legally evict tenants using this method amid eviction moratoriums. 

Nursing home residents and staff are among the first in line for the COVID-19 vaccine. But in Maryland, many nursing homes have not used a majority of their allocated doses. 

Joseph DeMattos Jr., the CEO of the Health Facilities Association of Maryland, said that distributing the vaccine is a huge logistical undertaking. 

Gov. Larry Hogan announced today another special enrollment period for health insurance, opening just weeks after an earlier enrollment period closed in December. 

Starting immediately, uninsured Marylanders can enroll in a health insurance plan through the state’s health benefit exchange through March 15.

Michele Eberle, the Executive Director of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, said she hopes the special enrollment period will give residents some peace of mind as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. 

SCREENSHOT VIA MAYOR BRANDON M. SCOTT FB PAGE

Positive COVID-19 cases in Baltimore City are 23% lower than they were four weeks ago, according to the city’s COVID-19 dashboard

Meanwhile, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott urged city residents to stay safe by wearing masks, socially distancing and limiting indoor gatherings to people in the same household. 

Wikimedia Commons

A recent report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows COVID-19’s sweeping effects on children’s health in all 50 states. The pandemic has exacerbated a multitude of crises, including housing instability. 

In Maryland, the report says 18% of adults with children are worried that they cannot pay their rent or mortgages.

CREDIT PRESERVATION MARYLAND/FLICKR

Maryland leaders are calling on Gov. Larry Hogan to provide COVID relief funds for struggling families and businesses. 


State Comptroller Peter Franchot said at a news conference that Congress’ latest stimulus bill would not be enough. He said the state has billions of dollars in reserves it can use for relief in addition to federal aid, and that the governor needs to act now. 

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott names two new members of his cabinet. Baltimore County caps charges from third-party food delivery services to help struggling restaurants. Oyster restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay are disrupted by COVID-19 restrictions. And a new report sheds light on how this pandemic will affect children in Maryland for years to come. 

 

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. 

SCREENSHOT VIA CHARM TV FACEBOOK PAGE

Baltimore may be getting its first major snowfall of the season Wednesday and Mayor Brandon Scott is urging residents to be prepared.

“I want to assure the city of Baltimore and our residents that snow crews are ready to respond to any winter weather that may come our way,” Scott said at a press conference Tuesday.

Scott said the city has a snow budget of $6.7 million and a snow removal program that includes 300 essential personnel, and more than 15,000 tons of salt to treat the city’s streets.

Tmaximumge/Public Domain

When the COVID-19 vaccine becomes more widely available in the U.S. next year, employers may face a tough question: whether they should - or even can - require their staff to get vaccinated.

Diane Hoffmann, a professor of law at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law and the founder of the Maryland Healthcare Ethics Committee, said the law does allow some employers, like hospitals, to require vaccinations.

SCREENSHOT VIA GOVERNOR LARRY HOGAN FACEBOOK PAGE

Gov. Larry Hogan announced a financial assistance package Thursday afternoon that will protect small businesses struggling because of the pandemic.

The package includes an executive order that will protect businesses from sudden or substantial increases in their unemployment taxes.


“This emergency relief will help businesses keep their operations going and to help keep more people on their payrolls,” Hogan said.

SARAH Y. KIM/WYPR

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott announced sweeping new COVID-19 restrictions Wednesday during his first press conference since being inaugurated.

The restrictions are the city’s toughest since March.

Standing in front of City Hall, Scott said hospitals will be overwhelmed with patients if the city does not act now.

“The health and safety of Baltimoreans is my top priority,” he said. “I will not waver or hesitate to make decisions that save lives in Baltimore.”

TMAXIMUMGE/PUBLIC DOMAIN

Just over a week after Thanksgiving, Maryland surpassed 3,000 new daily COVID-19 cases two days in a row.

Maryland broke its daily case record Friday when it reported 3,792 new cases. The previous record was 2,910. On Saturday the state reported 3,193 new cases.

Dr. Lisa Maragakis, the senior director for infection prevention for the Johns Hopkins Health System, said Thanksgiving indoor gatherings likely contributed to the surge.

Pages