ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Gov. Larry Hogan held a press conference on Wednesday to provides update on Maryland's COVID-19 recovery.
Hogan issued an executive order to require universal testing of all residents and staff at state nursing homes.
Facilities will be prioritized based on an imminent outbreak or a current rising threat risk. Under the order, it will be mandatory for facilities to fully comply with strike teams deployed by the state.
All facilities must develop surge staffing plans to ensure continuity of care in the event of an outbreak. To help in the effort, the governor announced new bridge teams to provide emergency clinical staffing.
Each bridge team will be composed of a registered nurse and 5-7 aides, sufficient to care for up to 100 skilled nursing home residents per shift.
He said teams are fully vetted and ready to be immediately deployed to provide 24-hour coverage for nursing homes in crisis.
The governor’s order requires nursing homes to provide regular informational updates to their residents, resident representatives, and staff regarding COVID-19 infections.
Hogan also announced the appointment of Col. Eric Allely to serve as an Emergency Safety and Compliance Officer for nursing homes. He will be charged with directing a multi-agency team to ensure compliance with state law.
Hogan addressed Maryland's new unemployment website as well.
Since the launch of the new website last Friday, more than 245,000 accounts have been activated and over 100,000 new claims have been filed. MD is now activating 33 accounts per minute and filing 780 claims per hour.
“The people of Maryland deserve better and the buck stops with me. I am going to make sure that they do whatever it takes to get it straight so that every Marylander gets every single penny of the financial assistance they deserve," said Hogan.
Gov. Hogan also completed another call with the White House, and 17 other governors whose states are home to meat processing plants, in order to address outbreaks at poultry processing plants in Delmarva region.
Delaware Governor John Carney and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam joined Gov. Hogan in sending a letter to President Trump, detailing the urgency of the situation and requesting federal assistance.
Maryland has deployed an incident management team to support this multi-agency, multi-state operation and it's anticipated a CDC team will be on the ground there Wednesday night.
Hogan also proclaimed Saturday, May 2 as ‘Healthcare Heroes Day’ in Maryland.
They will light the state house dome blue, along with Camden Yards/M&T Bank Stadium, and flyovers by Navy’s Blue Angels and Air Force Thunderbirds.