After joining Vice President Mike Pence at the White House Monday morning for a teleconference with the nation’s governors, Gov. Larry Hogan enacted emergency legislation allowing him to transfer up to $50 million from the state’s Rainy Day Fund to pay for Maryland’s coronavirus response.
“I want to sincerely thank Speaker [Adrienne] Jones and President [Bill] Ferguson and all the members of the Maryland General Assembly for working with us to expedite this legislation and unanimously pass it,” Hogan said at an afternoon news conference. “This is a great example of how seriously the State of Maryland has been taking this crisis, and it shows that government at the federal, state, and local levels is working together to respond to this threat in a cooperative and coordinated manner.”
The Maryland House of Delegates and the state Senate had unanimously passed the legislation, SB 1079, last week.
Shortly after Hogan’s news conference, he said on Twitter that state health officials have confirmed the state’s sixth coronavirus case. The newest case is a Prince Georges County resident who caught the virus while traveling out-of-state, the governor said.
Hogan also announced Monday afternoon that he is establishing a Coronavirus Response Team to advise his administration on important health and emergency management decisions. He said the team will include seven “experts in public health and emergency management.” The team’s first meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, he said.
Also on Tuesday, Hogan said, his administration will “meet with representatives of the state’s long-term care community to make sure we are taking every precaution possible to protect Maryland seniors and retirees.” In addition, the governor will hold an emergency cabinet meeting on Tuesday to go over the state’s response to the virus, he said.
“We are committed to being transparent, providing the facts, keeping Marylanders fully informed, taking actions based on our detailed planning, and making decisions based on the facts on the ground,” Hogan said. “In order to make those decisions and to leverage all of the resources and expertise across our state, at my direction, we are convening a Coronavirus Response Team composed of experts in public health and emergency management.”
The Department of Budget and Management is moving to Level II of its Pandemic Flu and Other Infectious Diseases Attendance and Leave Policy, Hogan said. DBM is advising state agencies to cancel all business-related out-of-state travel for employees and to prepare for the possibility of mandatory telework for all non-essential personnel.
Hogan was joined at the press conference by Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford, House Speaker Adrienne Jones, Senate President Bill Ferguson, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, and Harford County Executive Barry Glassman.
Earlier on Monday, Hogan — chair of the National Governor’s Association — went to the Situation Room at the White House to meet with Pence, who is leading the federal response to the coronavirus.
“Vice President Pence and I will be holding our second teleconference with all of the nation’s governors and with top-ranking federal officials regarding the coordinated federal-state response to the coronavirus,” Hogan said prior to the meeting, at the preface of his remarks at the International Association of Fire Fighters Legislative Conference.
A Maryland Department of Health team has been collaborating with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as local health departments, Hogan said, “and our emergency management teams are engaged with local and federal partners to limit the spread of C0vid-19.
“Just like each and every one of you, my mission — my highest priority — is keeping people safe,” he told the firefighters. “I want to assure Marylanders that our state is taking every precaution when it comes to the coronavirus and I know that my fellow governors are all out there on the front lines doing the same thing.”
Hogan declared a state of emergency on Thursday night after three coronavirus cases — the first in Maryland — were diagnosed in Montgomery County. Two more cases were identified on Sunday night.
The Maryland Emergency Management Agency has elevated its state response activation level. State agencies have ramped up response and preparedness efforts, at the governor’s request. He also has mandated that state health carriers waive all cost-sharing for testing for COVID-19.
Maryland Coronavirus Response Team
The members of the newly announced Maryland Coronavirus Response Team will include:
- Dr. Wilbur Chen, associate professor of medicine, University of Maryland Baltimore
- Steve Evans, executive vice president, Medical Affairs and chief medical officer, MedStar Health
- Dr. Tom Iglesby, director of the Center for Health Security, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
- Dr. John Loome, senior vice president for medical affairs and geriatrician, Genesis Healthcare
- Dr. Lisa Maragakis, senior director of infection prevention, Johns Hopkins Health System
- Dr. David Marcozzi, associate professor and associate chair of population health, Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine
- Linda Singh, interim executive director and CEO, TEDCO; major general (retired), Maryland National Guard
The response team also will include the following state officials:
- Ted Delbridge, director, Institute for Maryland Emergency Medical Services Systems
- Rona Kramer, secretary, Maryland Department of Aging
- Robert Neall, secretary, Maryland Department of Health
- Fran Phillips, deputy secretary for public health, Maryland Department of Health
- Karen Salmon, state superintendent, Maryland State Department of Education
Bryan Renbaum contributed to this report.