State Roundup: Maryland is designated a priority for US aid; 12 jurisdictions are named ‘hot spots’

State Roundup: Maryland is designated a priority for US aid; 12 jurisdictions are named ‘hot spots’

The State House in Annapolis at sunset. (MarylandReporter.com file photo)

FEDS TAP MARYLAND AS ‘PRIORITY AREA:’ As the COVID-19 virus continues to spread throughout the Capital Region, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced Tuesday that the Trump administration is considering Maryland a priority area, noting the extensive number of federal agencies that are based in the state, Hannah Gaskill of Maryland Matters reports.

  • Heather Mongilio of the Frederick News-Post writes that Frederick County is one of 12 jurisdictions in Maryland considered a hot zone for COVID-19. Being declared a hot zone means the counties need more federal attention, Gov. Larry Hogan said during his press conference Tuesday.

STATE DOWN ‘$1B-$2B’ IN COVID-19 SPENDING: Gov. Larry Hogan warned that Maryland will face “massive budget problems” in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic as the state continues to spend money – “in the neighborhood of $1 billion to $2 billion” – on efforts to limit the spread of the virus, Jessica Iannetta of the Baltimore Business Journal reports.

‘STRIKE TEAMS’ WILL CONVERGE ON NURSING HOMES: Gov. Larry Hogan said Tuesday that the state has launched a series of “strike teams” composed of Maryland National Guard members and state health officials to help overburdened nursing homes deal with the spread of the coronavirus, Bryan Renbaum of MarylandReporter writes.

  • Extended-care facilities for the elderly are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus, with high concentrations of at-risk patients and the potential for clusters of fatalities, Gregory S. Schneider, Erin Cox and Ovetta Wiggins report in the Sun.
  • The governor also put businesses on notice that he has authorized local health and police departments to shut them down should they ignore his directives to halt the spread of the coronavirus, Bryan Sears of the Daily Record reports.
  • Tamela Baker of the Hagerstown Herald-Mail reports that health officials say the social-distancing directives have helped Maryland “flatten the curve” for COVID-19 infections, and that the state might reach its peak sooner rather than later.

CHILD-ABUSE CONCERNS: Regulations put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 mean that children are spending more time at home and less time in school — a situation that the Child Advocacy Center of Frederick County fears could lead to an increase in child abuse and neglect as well as a decrease in reporting capability, Hannah Himes reports in the Frederick News-Post.

ACA SIGN-UPS IN RED COUNTIES: When fears of COVID-19 surfaced, the Maryland Health Benefits Exchange – the state’s Affordable Care Act marketplace – decided to open a special enrollment period, and it has extended the sign-up period twice. According to an insurance navigator who handles enrollments in red parts of the state – Allegany, Garrett and Washington counties – more than eight in 10 people who come through the door end up with free or low-cost health coverage, Bruce DePuyt writes for Maryland Matters.

CHARGED WITH VIOLATING STAY-AT-HOME ORDER: At least 14 people have been charged with violations of the governor’s executive order to stay at home, and charges are pending in about one dozen other cases, a Maryland State Police spokesman said Tuesday. Police in Maryland have responded to 1,064 calls for complaints related to potential violations since March 24. They’ve also performed 14,900 compliance checks to ensure businesses are following the orders, Jessica Anderson of the Sun reports.

INMATES’ RELEASE SOUGHT: Family members of incarcerated Marylanders have filed a petition with the state’s high court seeking immediate release of inmates in prisons and jails, citing the COVID-19 public health crisis, Danielle Gaines of Maryland Matters is reporting.

CAN CLOSED HEALTH CLUBS KEEP BILLING?: MarylandReporter reports that the office of Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh says state law prohibits health clubs that are closed for longer than a month during the COVID-19 pandemic from billing members who pay month-to-month.

BALTO. CO REVENUES TO SLIDE: Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. says his administration projects that the county’s local revenues will drop by “tens of millions of dollars” next year as businesses suspend operations and furlough or lay off workers during the coronavirus pandemic, Wilborn Nobles reports for the Sun.

B’MORE HOPES TO TAP INTO RAINY DAY FUND: Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott called for the city to use $25 million from its rainy day fund to support small businesses, laid-off workers and homeless people during the coronavirus pandemic, Talia Richman writes in the Sun.

B’MORE TRANSIT GETS $385.5M FROM FEDS: Tucked into the whopping $2 trillion federal coronavirus relief stimulus package is a $385.5 million infusion from the U.S. government to help Baltimore’s suffering mass transit system, Ethan McLeod of the Baltimore Business Journal reports.

DEATHS, ILLNESSES AROUND THE STATE: Annis Creese, who was in her final year of teaching Spanish at Northwestern High in Hyattsville, died Sunday at age 73 from complications of the novel coronavirus. She is the second educator at Northwestern High and the third school employee in Prince George’s County to die from the virus, Moriah Balingit of the Post reports.

  • Alexis Fitzpatrick of the Hagerstown Heral Mail reports that Washington County added three more positive COVID-19 cases to its count Tuesday, rising to 57, according to the county’s Joint Information Center. Maryland added 326 cases to its tally, bringing the total to 4,371 cases and 103 deaths.
  • An employee at the Seagirt Marine Terminal has tested positive for the coronavirus, Daniel Oyefusi of the Sun reports. The employee is in quarantine and the Port Administration is conducting contact tracing to determine whether there are others who have come into contact with the employee and need to self-quarantine.
  • Four more people have died from COVID-19 in Carroll County, officials announced Tuesday, including the first death of a person outside of the two local elder care facilities most affected by the novel coronavirus so far, Jon Kelvey of the Carroll County Times reports.
  • Giant, Safeway, Weis Markets and other food retailers have said they are intensifying efforts to prevent the virus from spreading in their stores as concern has grown over the safety of staff and customers in supermarkets. An employee at a Giant supermarket in Largo has died of COVID-19 while a worker at the grocery chain’s Dundalk store has tested positive, Lorraine Mirabella and McKenna Oxenden report in the Sun.
  • University of Baltimore law professor John Bessler and his wife, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, speak with NBC Nightly News on his fight against the coronavirus. He spent five days in a hospital.

CARROLL LIBRARY USES 3D PRINTERS FOR PPE: Carroll County Public Library branches are closed, but their seven 3-D printers are hard at work creating personal protective equipment for medical personnel, Catalina Righter of the Carroll County Times reports.

MO CO MAY REQUIRE FACE COVERINGS: Montgomery County officials are considering a requirement that all employees and customers in essential facilities and retail stores wear face coverings or masks to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, Briana Adhikusuma of Bethesda Beat reports.

MARYLANDER NAMED DOD ACTING INSPECTOR GENERAL: A Marylander is at the center of a national controversy over President Donald Trump ousting watchdogs who oversee the executive branch. On Tuesday, Trump named Sean O’Donnell of College Park to be acting inspector general of the Defense Department, Robin Bravender of Maryland Matters writes.

MAEVE KENNEDY TOWNSEND McKEAN IS REMEMBERED: Jacques Kelly of the Sun writes the obituary for Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean, a human rights attorney who was the daughter of former Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. She died in a boating accident Thursday in Anne Arundel County. The recovery search continues for her 8-year-old son, Gideon.

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online news outlet, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at: cynthiaprairie@gmail.com

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