At a Maryland Board of Public Works Wednesday morning, Gov. Larry Hogan provided several updates on the state’s preparedness for the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Hogan said that the State Public Health Laboratory in Baltimore was approved for coronavirus testing on Tuesday. This means that samples don’t have to be flown out to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lab in Georgia, and testing can be done faster.
As of Wednesday morning, a total of 21 Marylanders have been tested for the virus. 10 tests have come back negative, and 11 are pending. Hogan said there is not yet any public health emergency in Maryland, however the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) raised its response level to “enhanced” in order to organize additional resources in their response efforts.
There are four response levels: normal, enhanced, partial and full. Normal means “routine operation with no incident or event anticipated.” Enhanced means “incident or event requires additional monitoring or resources.” Partial means the incident needs “significant monitoring or resources,” and a full response level may require response/recovery and “significant resources.” All levels call for 24/7 monitoring.
Hogan said he is submitting emergency legislation that would allow his administration to use the state’s rainy day fund to pay for coronavirus response efforts. At a press conference last week, Hogan announced his administration is submitting a $10 million supplemental budget in COVID-19 preparation funding.
Today we are submitting emergency legislation which will allow us to transfer any necessary resources from the rainy day fund for costs associated with the state’s coronavirus response. Learn more: https://t.co/sx9kLtDRFK pic.twitter.com/VkmCDGeSE6
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) March 4, 2020
There is currently no public health emergency, Hogan said, but he advised that people continue to stay informed and take the outbreak seriously.
On Tuesday, Hogan and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a joint statement on the coronavirus.
They said they joined Vice President Mike Pence on a teleconference Monday to talk about the federal-state response to the virus. Hogan and Cuomo encouraged the presidential administration and Congress to let go of partisan conflicts and work together to negotiate emergency funding for the virus response.
The statement said it’s critically important that states are reimbursed for the money they spend in helping the federal response, and any federal funding must include funding for state efforts in preparation for the outbreak.
As chairman and vice-chair of the @NatlGovsAssoc, @NYGovCuomo and I are urging leaders in Washington to reject partisanship and work together as they negotiate emergency supplemental appropriations for the national coronavirus response. pic.twitter.com/HjSqCqM7My
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) March 3, 2020