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Baltimore City Public Schools will scale back a planned partial reopening from 44 to 27 schools and open on-site testing at schools as local COVID-19 cases spike, CEO Sonja Santelises announced Tuesday evening. 

“I had epidemiologists telling me back in April, beware of the fall/winter surge. And it is happening,” Santelises said. “It's also why we've started with small groups, because we wanted to make sure that we could move through this.”

 

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Beginning at 5 p.m. Wednesday, restaurants and bars across Maryland will be required to operate at reduced capacity under a new executive order from Gov. Larry Hogan. The move is a reaction to rapidly rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in the state and across the country.

Baltimore County

COVID-19 cases are spiking in Baltimore County.

County officials Monday warned that if the numbers don’t improve, new restrictions will need to be put in place, and that a possible vaccine would not be a panacea.

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Gov. Larry Hogan is calling on President Donald Trump to acknowledge that he lost the election. He made the comments on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday.

Courtesy of Senate President's Office


Annapolis in January is usually buzzing with activity as the Maryland General Assembly meets for its annual 90-day session. Because of the pandemic, the 2021 legislative session is expected to look quite different, with all meetings live-streamed but access to the public restricted.

Screenshot via CharmTV

Baltimore Mayor Jack Young announced tightened pandemic restrictions in a news conference Friday afternoon, citing alarming COVID-19 trends that have crept upward throughout the city.

Effective at 5:00 p.m. next Thursday, indoor and outdoor restaurants, theaters, malls, and religious facilities, must cap capacity at 25%. Gatherings at homes, both indoor and outdoors, are limited to 10 people.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

Election workers throughout Maryland resumed the counting of mail-in ballots Thursday, after completing Election Day returns.


Unlike workers in some critical swing states who did not begin counting mail-in ballots until this week, Maryland election workers began sorting and counting early ballots in October. More than 1.3 million mail-in ballots were returned to the state before Election Day.

EMILY SULLIVAN/WYPR

Mayor-Elect Brandon Scott announced 10 new committees Friday to advise his transition team on what he called areas of pressing need in the city. 

Scott said the 10 committees will make Baltimore safer and more equitable. 

“Everything that every agency does is going to be assessed and reassessed,” Scott said. “If it's actually impacting the citizens the way it should, if it's actually being done through the lens of equity.” 

Governor Larry Hogan/Facebook

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.

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Maryland child care providers are pleading with elected officials to loosen COVID-19 safety rules and provide additional financial support. Without those changes, providers warned state lawmakers on Thursday that many will have to permanently close their doors in a matter of months.

John Lee

Baltimore County voters have approved a charter amendment allowing public money to be used to fund election campaigns in county races.

The charter amendment, which was Question A on the Baltimore County ballot, got more than 55% of the votes cast. 

Emily Sullivan/WYPR


Baltimore protestors rallied on Wednesday afternoon to condemn President Trump’s false claims that he won the contentious presidential election and that Democrats are “stealing” the election, as officials continue to count votes throughout the country.

“What matters is that what the people need and want is what we get,” said Sharon Black, an organizer with the Peoples Power Assembly, said. “We cannot tolerate, in this country, a fascist who basically steals the election by not counting every vote.”  

 

SCREENSHOT VIA MARYLAND STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS

Several jurisdictions, including Baltimore County, were not able to release results on election night. State Board of Elections officials say this was because of difficulties with transferring data from thumb drives. 

Local elections boards store data from ballot scanners on thumb drives, then transfer them to the state’s central voting database. 

Rachel Baye

More than 475,000 Marylanders voted Tuesday, adding to the 2.2 million who voted before Election Day, either in person or via mail-in ballot. As voters waited in line on Election Day, many said they were there seeking an end to the divisiveness felt across the country.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

  

The polling site at Oriole Park at Camden Yards had a growing line by 4 p.m., with voters waiting about an hour to cast their ballots. But voters' energy was high, with a mix of excitement and nerves. 

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

More than 427,000 Marylanders voted as of 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and State Board of Elections officials say the counting will be far from over Tuesday night. 

Nikki Charlson, the board’s deputy administrator said ballots will be counted through at least Nov. 13.

The latest Election news from NPR.

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WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/Alx bio

Maryland hospitals are preparing for a potential surge in COVID-19 patients. The state has yet to see a massive spike, but cases are on the rise. 

Dr. David Marcozzi is COVID-19 Incident Commander for the University of Maryland Medical System. He said the system’s hospitals are expanding ICU capacity, which means more beds, nursing staff and ventilators. The hospitals also have a more robust telemedicine system. 

But he is concerned that a potential wave might mean a shortage in staff, who may be personally affected by the virus. 

SCREENSHOT VIA CHARM TV FACEBOOK PAGE

Baltimore Mayor Jack Young signed a bill into law Monday morning that would protect vulnerable residents from losing their homes to the city’s annual tax sale. The bill was introduced by councilwoman Danielle McCray of Northeast Baltimore. 

Baltimore hosts a tax sale each year to collect debts owed, including houses with debt. 

But McCray’s bill withholds homes from tax sales if their owners are seniors, low-income or have disabilities. 

John Lee

Teachers at four Baltimore County schools for disabled children were supposed to report to their classrooms Monday morning.

Their return is being delayed one week while the teachers’ union and the school system negotiate how those teachers can return safely.

Rachel Baye / WYPR


  With COVID-19 cases rising, the Maryland State Board of Elections has released instructions on how to vote if you are in the hospital or under quarantine. 

Black-owned Bookstores Return As Social And Cultural Spaces

Oct 30, 2020
Christopher E. Cager

Like many small businesses, Black-owned bookstores were forced to close when the pandemic began earlier this year. But their closures represented more than the loss of a retail outlet. Shuttered bookstores took away a social and cultural space that is returning, in part, because of a social justice movement.

Everyone’s Place African Cultural Center is more than a bookstore. The shop on North Avenue near the Penn North Metro stop also sells everything from skincare products to incense.

This year’s open enrollment period for health insurance starts on Sunday. If you’re not covered you have until Dec. 15 to get new insurance through Maryland’s Health Benefits Exchange. 

Jason Resendez, a healthcare strategist at Consumers for Quality Care, said nearly 75,000 Marylanders have lost health insurance because of the pandemic. 

Maryland GovPics / Flickr

The number of COVID-19 cases among employees of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration continues to grow, with more than a dozen workers out across multiple locations as of Thursday. However, the union that represents those workers says the agency is doing little to prevent the virus from continuing to spread. 

Marco Verch / Flickr


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. 

John Lee

More than one million Marylanders have now cast their ballots by mail.

If you have a mail-in ballot but have not yet sent it in, election officials say you need to take action.

Tmaximumge/Public Domain

City Health Commissioner Letitia Dzirasa said Baltimore has seen a significant increase in COVID-19 positivity rates so far this month.  

The latest seven-day average is 4.4%. 

“That is concerning given that probably back in September, we were around two and a half percent,” Dzirasa said at a press conference. 

The city is still meeting its goal of maintaining a positivity rate below 5%. 

As of this morning, she said, Baltimore’s COVID cases increased by about 83% over the past four weeks. 

Courtesy Hoopers island Oyster Company

Ten years ago, oyster aquaculture was barely a blip on the chart of Maryland’s seafood industry. Today, it’s expanded to include entrepreneurs who harvest tens of thousands of bushels of oysters annually while branching out into other, related businesses. 

There’s Hoopers Island Oyster Company operating in a cavernous warehouse just outside of Cambridge where they make cages for growing oysters in the water column, tanks and an aluminum tumbler with different sized holes that washes, separates and grades oysters.

Seth Sawyers/flickr

The Baltimore County school board directed administrators Tuesday night to come up with a plan to bring K-2 students back to classrooms after Thanksgiving. The plan is expected to be presented to the board at its next meeting November 10.

Baltimore County

Baltimore County Councilman Julian Jones has given up for now on legislation that would have restricted when police could use no-knock warrants.

Jones withdrew the bill Tuesday. He did not have the votes to get it through the county council, according to council members.

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