Senator Clarence Lam | WYPR

Senator Clarence Lam

The Governor's Office


As Maryland officials raced to meet the state’s urgent need for medical supplies over the last two months, two deals gained national attention:  The governor’s procurement of 500,000 COVID-19 test kits from South Korea and a $12.5-million contract for ventilators and masks from a company started by two Republican fundraisers.

On Wednesday, state lawmakers grilled an official in Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration over whether the tests from South Korea are actually being used. They questioned whether officials have been too quick to approve these deals.

Rachel Baye

Gov. Larry Hogan has created a Coronavirus response team, made up of public health and emergency management experts, he announced at a press conference Monday. The group will meet for the first time Tuesday.

Rachel Baye

The farm in Delmar where April Ferrell grew up and still lives is surrounded by chicken farms. 

Sitting on a golf cart in her yard, Ferrell indicated the lot next door, where she said her parents built two small chicken houses in the 1980s. Then she pointed in the other direction, across the street, where four newer, 600-foot-long chicken houses were visible.

According to data from the Maryland Department of the Environment, that farm across the street — what’s known as a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation, or CAFO — has about 47,000 chickens at a time. 

Rachel Baye

The state Senate has given preliminary approval to legislation aimed at tamping down on prescription drug costs. But the Senate version is significantly weaker than the version that passed the House last month.

Daniel Carl Torsch Foundation

Dan Torsch’s older brother John remembers. It was about 17 years ago. 

 

“I can trace his addiction back to one 100 milligram morphine pill,” Torsch said.

 

They were teenagers, partying in Ocean City. Drinking, smoking weed, snorting cocaine. John offered his brother the morphine pill. The next morning John said he woke up with a hangover. 

 

“All I wanted to do was lay on the beach, maybe smoke a joint and eat some food,” Torsch said. “What do you think the very first thing Dan asked me when he woke up? ‘You got any more of those pills?’”

AP Photo/Patrick Sison

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski is considering appointing an Opioid Czar to be the point person as the county grapples with the second-highest rate of fatal opioid overdoses in Maryland. This comes as the county is being criticized for not doing enough to address a problem Olszewski says is ravaging parts of the county.