Child care facilities can return to full capacity

All of Maryland’s counties and Baltimore City have coronavirus positivity rates below 5%, the governor announced Thursday.|| Coronavirus updates | Maryland’s latest numbers | Where to get tested ||Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and state schools Superintendent Dr. Karen Salmon provided an update on the coronavirus Thursday afternoon.Citing a decline in coronavirus cases in Maryland, child care facilities can return to full capacity and indoor visitation can resume at nursing homes, state officials announced Thursday.The governor announced that Maryland is reporting zero new coronavirus deaths for Wednesday, which is the first time since March 28, which was 187 days ago.The statewide positivity rate (2.88%) is down nearly 90% since its peak on April 17. It has been under 5% — a benchmark set by the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — for 98 consecutive days and under 4% for 54 consecutive days, Hogan said.No Maryland counties are in the “red zone,” as designated by the federal government. All 24 jurisdictions have positivity rates below 5%, 21 are under 4%, 14 are under 3%, four are under 2% and two are under 1%.Hospitalizations are down more than 80% since they peaked 167 days ago. Maryland has seen a nearly 88% decline in ICU levels since their peak.The statewide case rate has dropped by 55% since it peaked on May 7.CHILD CARE: Salmon announced that child care providers are now able to return to the full teacher-to-child ratios and capacities for which they are licensed.As a result, child care centers can now serve up to 20 3- and 4-year olds in a room with a ratio of one teacher to 10 students and up to 30 school-age students with a ratio of one teacher to 15 students.”We have seen very few positive COVID cases in our child care facilities, likely due to the rigorous health and safety guidelines implemented by the child care community from the beginning of the pandemic,” Salmon said.Child care providers must continue to adhere to federal and state guidance on health and safety protocols, as they have successfully done to this point.Salmon said more than 82% of child care providers have reopened.Reopened programs will receive a one-time grant of $800 for family child care providers and $1,600 for center-based child care providers. These grants will be available through Oct. 31. The Maryland State Department of Education is also providing $1,000 in start-up grants to eligible, new child care providers in an effort to bolster new small businesses.Parents and guardians in need of child care can contact LOCATE at 877-261-0061.SCHOOLS: Since announcing a month ago that every school system is fully authorized to begin safely opening for in-person instruction. The governor spoke to that during his press conference, saying every Maryland school district has submitted plans to resume at least some in-person instruction.”Getting children safely back into the classrooms must remain the top priority,” Hogan said. “For many, there is simply no substitute for in-person instruction.”NURSING HOMES: Effective immediately, as a result of new federal and state guidelines, indoor visitation may begin in all nursing homes that are not experiencing a current outbreak or have not experienced any new cases in the last 14 days, Hogan said.Indoor visitation would not be permitted if the local jurisdiction’s positivity rate rises above 10%. This new policy will also now make it more flexible for compassionate care visits to support residents who need emotional and spiritual support.To date, the state has provided nearly $102 million in emergency funding for testing and personal protective equipment at nursing homes.Hogan said that through the bipartisan interstate testing compact, Maryland secured 250,000 rapid antigen tests. By next week, all 227 Maryland nursing homes are on track to receive their initial allocations of rapid testing supplies.The governor announced a commitment of an additional $6 million, specifically for testing of nursing home staff.FLU SEASON: The governor is strongly encouraging Marylanders to get their flu shot by visiting their doctor, their local pharmacy or by calling their local health department.In anticipation of flu season, the state transitioned its lab at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, to allow for the use of a CDC-developed “multiplex” assay, which will be able to detect both the coronavirus and Types A and B of the flu.”We are looking at and planning for and trying to prevent and mitigate against a possible surge in the fall, but … it’s why we pushed so hard to get the rapid testing, it’s why we transitioned our lab, it’s why we’re doing surge planning in the worst eventuality,” Hogan said. “The Health Department is having talks about this on an ongoing basis with a lot of experts. We ran it by our whole coronavirus recovery team and they believe that some of the actions we’ve been taking because of our great metrics, we’re doing better than most states all across the country, and much better than the nation as a whole.”The state’s hospital surge team is currently doing contingency planning for any potential flu and/or COVID-19 surge.More flu information from the Maryland Department of HealthWatch the governor’s press conference:

All of Maryland’s counties and Baltimore City have coronavirus positivity rates below 5%, the governor announced Thursday.

|| Coronavirus updates | Maryland’s latest numbers | Where to get tested ||

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and state schools Superintendent Dr. Karen Salmon provided an update on the coronavirus Thursday afternoon.

Citing a decline in coronavirus cases in Maryland, child care facilities can return to full capacity and indoor visitation can resume at nursing homes, state officials announced Thursday.

The governor announced that Maryland is reporting zero new coronavirus deaths for Wednesday, which is the first time since March 28, which was 187 days ago.

The statewide positivity rate (2.88%) is down nearly 90% since its peak on April 17. It has been under 5% — a benchmark set by the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — for 98 consecutive days and under 4% for 54 consecutive days, Hogan said.

No Maryland counties are in the “red zone,” as designated by the federal government. All 24 jurisdictions have positivity rates below 5%, 21 are under 4%, 14 are under 3%, four are under 2% and two are under 1%.

Hospitalizations are down more than 80% since they peaked 167 days ago. Maryland has seen a nearly 88% decline in ICU levels since their peak.

The statewide case rate has dropped by 55% since it peaked on May 7.

CHILD CARE: Salmon announced that child care providers are now able to return to the full teacher-to-child ratios and capacities for which they are licensed.

As a result, child care centers can now serve up to 20 3- and 4-year olds in a room with a ratio of one teacher to 10 students and up to 30 school-age students with a ratio of one teacher to 15 students.

“We have seen very few positive COVID cases in our child care facilities, likely due to the rigorous health and safety guidelines implemented by the child care community from the beginning of the pandemic,” Salmon said.

Child care providers must continue to adhere to federal and state guidance on health and safety protocols, as they have successfully done to this point.

Salmon said more than 82% of child care providers have reopened.

Reopened programs will receive a one-time grant of $800 for family child care providers and $1,600 for center-based child care providers. These grants will be available through Oct. 31. The Maryland State Department of Education is also providing $1,000 in start-up grants to eligible, new child care providers in an effort to bolster new small businesses.

Parents and guardians in need of child care can contact LOCATE at 877-261-0061.

SCHOOLS: Since announcing a month ago that every school system is fully authorized to begin safely opening for in-person instruction. The governor spoke to that during his press conference, saying every Maryland school district has submitted plans to resume at least some in-person instruction.

“Getting children safely back into the classrooms must remain the top priority,” Hogan said. “For many, there is simply no substitute for in-person instruction.”

NURSING HOMES: Effective immediately, as a result of new federal and state guidelines, indoor visitation may begin in all nursing homes that are not experiencing a current outbreak or have not experienced any new cases in the last 14 days, Hogan said.

Indoor visitation would not be permitted if the local jurisdiction’s positivity rate rises above 10%. This new policy will also now make it more flexible for compassionate care visits to support residents who need emotional and spiritual support.

To date, the state has provided nearly $102 million in emergency funding for testing and personal protective equipment at nursing homes.

Hogan said that through the bipartisan interstate testing compact, Maryland secured 250,000 rapid antigen tests. By next week, all 227 Maryland nursing homes are on track to receive their initial allocations of rapid testing supplies.

The governor announced a commitment of an additional $6 million, specifically for testing of nursing home staff.

FLU SEASON: The governor is strongly encouraging Marylanders to get their flu shot by visiting their doctor, their local pharmacy or by calling their local health department.

In anticipation of flu season, the state transitioned its lab at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, to allow for the use of a CDC-developed “multiplex” assay, which will be able to detect both the coronavirus and Types A and B of the flu.

“We are looking at and planning for and trying to prevent and mitigate against a possible surge in the fall, but … it’s why we pushed so hard to get the rapid testing, it’s why we transitioned our lab, it’s why we’re doing surge planning in the worst eventuality,” Hogan said. “The Health Department is having talks about this on an ongoing basis with a lot of experts. We ran it by our whole coronavirus recovery team and they believe that some of the actions we’ve been taking because of our great metrics, we’re doing better than most states all across the country, and much better than the nation as a whole.”

The state’s hospital surge team is currently doing contingency planning for any potential flu and/or COVID-19 surge.

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