Coronavirus Latest: Gov. Larry Hogan Will Announce Maryland's Plan To Reopen Friday
LAUREL, Md. (WJZ) -- Gov. Larry Hogan said he will announced Maryland's Roadmap To Recovery plan on Friday. This plan will mark how Maryland will reopen after the coronavirus pandemic led to a stay at home order to slow the spread of the illness.
"On Friday, we will be introducing our Maryland strong roadmap to recovery," Hogan said. "A safe, effective, and gradual plan which will allow us to reopen to rebuild and to recover just as soon as it is safe for us to do so."
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"This recovery plan, which has been developed over many weeks in consultation with our coronavirus response team of doctors and public health experts, has four essential building blocks that are needed to be solidly in place before we can be in position to begin lifting restrictions," he continued.
Hogan said in order to reopen the state, there would need to be a larger testing capacity and on Monday he announced Maryland bought 500,000 coronavirus testing kits from a South Korean lab.
The first step in the four-step plan to reopen the state is to expand the state's COVID-19 testing capacity, which was increased by that purchase.
Second, is to increase the hospital surge capacity, Hogan announced Wednesday that Laurel hospital was reopened with 135 beds.
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Third is to increase the supply of PPE or personal protective equipment to protect frontline health care workers and first responders. And fourth is to have a robust contract tracing operation.
"Our teams have been making significant progress, and each of these criteria," Hogan said. "Maryland has successfully expanded our testing capability by over 5,000%. Over the past month, we've completed more than 76,000 tests to date."
Use cutting edge robotics, University of Maryland Medical System built their capacity in order to handle the ability to handle 20,000 tests per day with a $2.5 million investment from the state.
As for being prepared for a hospital surge, in addition to reopening Laurel Hospital the 250-bed field hospital at the Baltimore Convention Center is completely staffed and set up. The state will begin admitting patients who no longer require hospitalization, but need a place to complete their care and fully recover.
The state also opened the first beds at Adventist Fort Washington Medical Center in Prince George's County and are adding additional beds, including ICU beds, there and at UM Prince George's Hospital Center in Cheverly.
They are also expanding capacity with 22 response tents across the state, including at Doctors Community Hospital, in Lanham, Southern Maryland Hospital Center in Clinton, Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring and Washington Adventist Hospital in White Oak.
There also adding 100 additional beds at Jessup and at Hagerstown to address the needs of corrections and detention centers.
"We're now on track to not only reach, but actually exceed our goal of 6,000 additional beds by reaching a surge capacity of more than 6,700 new beds in the coming weeks," Hogan said.
As for the PPE, Hogan said a multi-agency task force is working "literally around the clock" focused on the issue.
Hogan said the group has acquired 5.9 million surgical masks, including 1 million masks from Korea, 2.3 million surgical gowns, one million N95 masks, 1.1 million face shields and additional 1,000 ICU beds.
Finally, the governor addressed the state's plan for contact tracing.
The state already has 250 contact traced working with local and state health departments across the state. On Wednesday morning, Maryland contracted National Opinion Research Center or NORC, operated by the University of Chicago with offices in Bethesda to be able to trace 1,000 cases per day. A new website, COVID link, will help in monitoring and collecting information about positive COVID-19 patients and who they may have come into contact with. It will use data from the CRISP system which is used to help patients make appointments for testing.
Hogan said the plan will "lead us safely out of this pandemic into a brighter and more hopeful future."
For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department's website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ's coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.
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