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Gov. Hogan Criticizes Federal Response To COVID-19 Surge In CBS Interview

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) -- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan criticized the federal government's response to a surge in COVID-19 cases that has strained the state's hospitals during an interview on CBS News' Face The Nation program Sunday morning.

Fourteen of the state's hospitals are operating under crisis standards of care and patient numbers are almost double those from one year ago. Over the past week, the state has seen a decrease in key metrics like hospitalizations and positivity, but Hogan said he is hesitant to call it a downward trend yet.

"We did a lot of things to try to help increase the capacity of our hospital systems—sent in a thousand members of the National Guard," Hogan told Face The Nation host Margaret Brennan. "And you know, we're taking a lot of actions directly and we're trying to get as much help as we can from the federal government. But, you know, quite frankly, they're fallen short in a couple of ways."

Hogan said the state hasn't seen the COVID-19 rapid tests promised by President Biden nearly a month ago, and that states have been left to fend for themselves against a variant that is nearly overwhelming some health systems.

The governor issued an executive order on Jan. 4 empowering the Maryland Department of Health to regulate hospital capacity and resources, and authorizing retired, out-of-state and graduate nurses to practice here. A second order aims to beef up EMS response.

"On masks, you know, I announced last week that we were- we were delivering free of charge 20 million N95 and can KN95 masks across the state," Hogan said. "And I think the federal government is following behind trying to do the same thing in other places."

Hogan also defended his position on maintaining in-person learning, saying that schools are well equipped to handle the surge, and that there are relatively few pediatric hospitalizations in the state.

"We're now filling our pediatric empty pediatric beds with adults because children have not been that big of a problem," he said. "Our school systems have not been overrun."

The Maryland Department of Health reported Sunday morning 31 children are in acute care with COVID-19 and seven are in the ICU, which is just over double the number of pediatric hospitalizations reported in late December.

Hogan deflected when Brennan asked him about a possible run for Senate. The Governor's deadline to file is Feb. 22, and he is being courted by top Republicans to run for the Senate and help the party's chances of regaining control of the chamber.

"February 22nd is like a month away, and right now we're just focused on the day job as governor and focused on this Omicron crisis and our legislative session, and that's where my focus is going to stay," he said.


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