Mask requirements expanded, state ‘paused’ at Stage 2 of recovery
Increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations prompted action
Gov. Larry Hogan announced during a COVID-19 update press conference last week that the state had hit a rough patch in the Roadmap to Recovery and thus was slowing down in order to be cautious.
Due to a recent increase in hospitalizations, Hogan said the state would be “paused” at Stage 2 in the “Roadmap to Recovery” plan.
An increase in hospitalizations is one of the “stop signs” built into the state’s Roadmap to Recovery that would prevent progress toward advancing to the next stage.
On July 10, 385 people were reported hospitalized due to COVID-19. By July 30, that number had increased to 585.
“We find ourselves at a fork in the road — a critical turning point where we could either continue making progress and continue heading in the right direction, or we could ignore the warnings and spike back up like much of the rest of the country,” Hogan said.
“We are doing much better on our health metrics than most of the rest of the country and we are doing much better on our economic recovery than most of the rest of the country, and we
want to do what it takes to keep it that way.”
To that end, Hogan expanded the statewide order for wearing face masks. Starting Friday, people are required to wear masks or face coverings in the public spaces of all businesses in the state.
Masks or face coverings are also required in outdoor public areas where physical distancing is not possible.
The governor also said he has directed the state Department of Health to issue a public health advisory for out-of-state travel.
Marylanders are strongly advised to not travel to states with positivity rates of 10 percent or higher, and to get tested upon returning from those states and selfquarantine until learning the test results.
As of Hogan’s announcement, that applied to Florida, Georgia, Texas, Louisiana, Arizona, Alabama, South Carolina, Nebraska and Idaho.
Also during the update, Hogan discussed infection
patterns revealed in contact tracing.
According to the data, 44 percent of people who tested positive had been at a family gathering; 54 percent had been working outside their home; and 25 percent worked in health care.
Other locations that were common places visited by those who tested positive: indoor/retail shopping (39 percent); and indoor/outdoor restaurant dining (both at 23 percent).
Twenty-three percent of those infected had been at a house party, and 21 percent had attended an outdoor event.
Also during the update, Fran Phillips, Deputy Secretary for the state Department of Health announced her retirement.
Phillips has led the state’s public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Jinlene Chen was introduced as the new Acting Deputy Secretary. She had been the Department of Health’s Assistant Secretary and Chief Medical Officer.
Gov. Larry Hogan spoke at a press conference in Annapolis last week, announcing that Maryland will stay “paused” in Stage 2 after a recent spike in hospitalizations due to COVID-19. The governor also mandated that masks are to be worn in the public spaces of all businesses and in situations where social distancing is not possible.