As a result of Maryland’s stabilizing COVID-19 health metrics, Gov. Larry Hogan said changes will be made to how child care centers and nursing homes can operate.
Effective immediately, nursing homes and elder care facilities will be allowed to have in-person visitations, Hogan said.
“As a result of new federal and state guidelines, and our advances in rapid testing, indoor visitation is now able to begin in all nursing homes that are not experiencing an outbreak or have not experienced any new positive cases in the last 14 days,” the governor said.
Federal guidelines say that those indoor visits would have to stop if a jurisdiction’s positivity rate rose above 10%.
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Hogan said the state is committing an additional $6 million in funding to pay for the testing of nursing home staff members. Additionally, Hogan said that all of Maryland’s 227 nursing homes are set to receive rapid coronavirus testing supplies by next week.
The statewide positivity rate has dipped to below 3% and has remained there for several weeks.
Thursday marked the first full day since March in which no deaths attributed to COVID-19 had been reported in the state.
According to State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon, child care centers will be able to raise their children-to-teacher ratio to whatever a given establishment is permitted for.
Salmon said it is the state’s hope that it will cut back on the amount of unlicensed child care operations that have been going on in the absence of space in typical programs.
“Hopefully, this action will assist in limiting the many unregulated and illegal child care providers and operators that have sprung up in recent months as ‘pandemic pods,'” Salmon said. “Where there are no criminal background checks, no oversight, and parents cannot be sure that their children are in a safe environment.”
Licensed child care centers must contact the licensing specialist at the Maryland State Department of Education to begin the reopening process, according to Salmon.
Hogan also asked Marylanders to get a flu shot heading into the colder months.
“The first lady (Yumi Hogan) and I have already gotten our flu shots, and I want to again strongly encourage all Marylanders to do the same. The flu vaccine is the most effective way to prevent flu disease,” the governor said.
More information about the flu shot and where to find one can be found on the Maryland government’s website.
The University of Maryland lab in Baltimore has begun the process of switching the type of test they conduct to one that detects COVID-19 and types A and B of the flu, according to Hogan.
Anne Arundel Co. reopens mall food courts; later-night food service
Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman signed an order Thursday allowing for mall food courts to reopen and extending the service hours for bars and restaurants serving alcohol indoors.
The order allows mall food courts to have a maximum capacity of 50%.
Bars and restaurants that serve alcohol indoors can be open and serve food until 11 p.m. Alcohol service still must end at 10 p.m.
“After several upticks in the rate during September, the seven-day average of cases per 100,000 residents has been below 10 and holding steady for the past week,” Pittman’s office said in a statement.
The order is effective starting 5 p.m. Friday.