Hogan highlights improving COVID-19 metrics, says surge is not over
COVID-19 cases, positivity rates and hospitalizations are continuing to decline in Maryland, as it hits its halfway mark for an ongoing 30-day state of emergency.
Gov. Larry Hogan said Thursday he may not have to extend that emergency, and that the state may be well past its peak in the omicron surge.
But he added that Maryland is still “not out of the woods” and that the next two weeks will be “critical.”
“Even though we have been able to attain considerable drops in the metrics, and they're continuing to drop, they're still much higher than they had been, or where we need to be,” he said at a press conference.
Hogan announced three additional hospital-based COVID-19 testing sites that the state began setting up to ease the burden on emergency rooms.
One site opened Thursday at LifeBridge Health in Carroll County, and another is opening at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center in Baltimore County Friday. A federally supported site will be opening at St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore City on Saturday.
Hogan also said the state will be launching a second round of antibody testing in nursing homes to determine whether some higher risk residents may need a fourth vaccine dose.
Those tests are set to finish in two weeks.
“If we believe that it's necessary to save lives in our nursing homes, we'll move forward with a fourth dose without the federal government,” Hogan said.
The governor had previously authorized boosters for nursing home residents in September, before federal officials gave the green light.
Earlier this week, Hogan accused the White House of using rapid COVID-19 test kits allotted for Maryland as part of its plan to send 500 million test kits across the country – an accusation the White House has denied.
Hogan told reporters Thursday that after a conversation with White House officials, a previous order of 800,000 tests, which he said was cut in half last week, has been restored in full.