State Roundup: Hogan says, “Just wear the damn masks,” as COVID cases rise

State Roundup: Hogan says, “Just wear the damn masks,” as COVID cases rise

Governor's Office photo by Patrick Siebert

“WE CANNOT AFFORD TO LET OUR GUARD DOWN”: Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday evening urged Marylanders to remain vigilant in response to the rising number of coronavirus cases both in the state and across the nation, Bryan Renbaum reports for Maryland Reporter.

  • Larry Hogan issued a stern warning to Marylanders to wear masks and not “let our guard down,” but stopped short of enacting new restrictions, Pamela Wood and Jeff Barker report for the Sun.
  • “Just wear the damn masks,” Hogan said, as he pointed to key metrics trending in the wrong direction, Madeleine O’Neill reports for the USA Today Network.
  • Hogan’s remarks were delivered after 1,198 new COVID-19 infections were reported Thursday by the Maryland Health Department, Greg Swatek reports for The Frederick News-Post. It was the highest single-day increase since July 25. Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner said a decision would be “coming soon” about more restrictions in the county.
  • Weeks ago Hogan expressed a reluctance to impose severe restrictions, the staff of The Daily Record reported with a live video from Bryan Sears. But the governor did not provide specifics on what would trigger a need to tighten state executive orders or why the current situation didn’t call for reimposing some restrictions eased as the state entered phase three of its reopening plan.
  • Maryland’s level of infection is nearing its previous record peak in May, Jayne Miller reports for WBAL TV. It has now made The COVID Tracking Project’s red-zone map, which lists states that record at least 1,000 cases per day.

MONGTOMERY WANTS REGIONAL RESTRICTIONS: Before putting forth a plan for new health restrictions in Montgomery County like reducing restaurant capacity, officials spoke with jurisdictions to coordinate a regional plan, Briana Adhikusuma reports for Bethesda Beat. They were turned down, but the county still hopes it won’t have to act alone.

  • The Council, sitting as the Board of Health, deferred a vote on Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich’s proposed executive order until next week, to give his staff time to consider tweaks to the plan, Bruce DePuyt reports for Maryland Matters. It will also give county businesses greater opportunity to prepare.

HEALTH OFFICIALS AROUND THE STATE GIVE UPDATES, WARNINGS: Prince George’s County officials are urging vigilance as the holiday season approaches, report the Washington Informer web staff.

  • A county health official in Garrett County, where cases are approaching 200 cumulatively, attributes Garrett County’s recent surge in COVID-19 cases to contact with friends and loved ones, Joseph Hauger reports for the Garrett County Republican.
  • State health officials will open a free drive-up COVID-19 testing facility at the Allegany County Fairgrounds in the coming days, Greg Larry reports for the Cumberland Times-News.
  • Montgomery County recorded 226 cases of COVID-19 and four new deaths on Thursday morning — the county’s largest daily increase for cases in five months, the staff of Bethesda Beat reports.
  • D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a new coronavirus order Thursday as the region continues its fight against COVID-19: If you’re coming to the District, get tested 72 hours before arrival, Will Vitka reports for WTOP. Visitors from Maryland and Virginia are exempt.

THE COUNT GOES ON: The counting of mail-in ballots resumed Thursday across Maryland as most of the last batch of Election Day returns for a select group of jurisdictions — Baltimore County, City and Prince George’s County — was reported, Emily Opilo reports for the Sun.

  • More than a half million ballots remain to be counted, Mikenzie Frost reports for Fox45.
  • As Anne Arundel County continues to work through 61,000 mail-in ballots and 10,800 remaining provisional ballots, the Board of Education races could hang in the balance, Olivia Sanchez reports for the Capital Gazette.
  • Washington County’s ballot count will continue on Tuesday as officials had too many mail-in ballots to get through on Thursday, reports Colleen McGrath for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail. The uncounted ballots could make a difference in some city races.
  • Though the count goes on, supporters of two ballot questions are confident those questions will be approved by voters, Kate Ryan reports for WTOP. One constitutional amendment will allow the legislature to increase, decrease or add items to the state budget. The other, specific to Montgomery County, would change the property tax formula.

BROTHERS AT THE TOP: Many residents were elated that three Black men now hold crucial positions in Baltimore city government, AFRO staff report. This includes Bill Henry as city Comptroller; Nick Mosby as Baltimore City Council president and current City Council President Brandon Scott was elected mayor of the city. In addition, Rep. Kweisi Mfume, who completed the congressional term of the late Rep. Elijah Cummings, was elected to continue to represent the 7th district of Maryland.

  • Scott will have his work cut out for him after a year in which schools largely remain closed, many businesses have shuttered and city government has been run by a lame-duck mayor, Jean Marbella reports for the Sun.

WHY WERE THE POLLS WRONG? After pollsters predicted a clear-cut win for Joe Biden, the ever-tightening presidential race is causing many to ask: “What went wrong?”, Hannah Gaskill writes for Maryland Matters. She delves into challenges facing pollsters in crafting questions and reaching voters.

PRESSING PAUSE ON IN-PERSON SCHOOL: Faced with a coronavirus surge nationally and in the D.C. region, some Washington-area school systems, including Anne Arundel County, are pressing pause on plans to return children to classrooms, Hannah Natanson reports for the Post.

  • Ten people within Carroll’s public school system have been confirmed as having COVID-19, more than 70 are considered persons under investigation and 142 others have been quarantined, but there have been no documented cases of transmission within the schools, Kristen Griffith reports for the Carroll County Times.
  • Somerset County Public Schools will transition to a virtual learning format beginning Monday, Nov. 9 amid rising metrics and reported cases among students and staff, Richard Pollitt reports for Delmarva Now. Students were given the choice to return to in-person on Nov. 2 with about half selecting that choice, though two elementary schools were already shut down due to reported COVID-19 cases when the virtual announcement was made.
  • The University of Maryland reversed course and announced students would be virtual for the rest of the semester following Thanksgiving break, Rina Torchinsky reports in The Diamondback. In October, the plan had been for students to return after Thanksgiving for more in-person instruction.

$250 MILLION RELIEF AVAILABLE: Relief funding for restaurants, artists, arts organizations, entertainment venues and Main Street businesses impacted by the pandemic is available now, the Baltimore Fishbowl staff report. The $250 million announced last month was taken from the state’s rainy day fund.

  • For restaurants, the state will distribute $50 million to each county and Baltimore City based on the number of restaurants in each jurisdiction, Tyler Waldman reports for WBAL NewsRadio.

MORE COSTS OF PURPLE LINE: Though the Purple Line has been billed as a project that will be funded by users, Bruce DePuyt reports for Maryland Matters that it could cost utility customers thousands of dollars in added fees longterm to pay for relocation of things like water lines, fiberoptic cables and other utilities. The state has not estimated the cost of the relocations.

MD LAWYERS WEIGH IN ON TRUMP CHALLENGES: Lawyers from both sides of the historic case when Republican Ellen Sauerbrey challenged results that led Democrat Parris Glendening to victory commented to WBAL TV’s Kim Dacey on the current Trump legal challenges stretching several states. They said fraud is hard to prove and one commented it is doubtful any of these challenges will change the outcome of the race.

VOTES DASH HOGAN’S PRESIDENTIAL HOPES: One outcome of the 2020 race you won’t find on the ballot reports? Hogan’s 2024 presidential hopes are listed as a loser, writes Robert McCartney in the Post. Republican voters are enthusiastic about Trump and not buying Hogan’s more moderate vision for the Republican Party.

HOYER RE-ELECTED: Incumbent Rep. Steny Hoyer has been reelected easily for Maryland’s 5th Congressional District for a 21st term, Madison Bateman reports for Sourthn Maryland News. Hoyer came in behind his Republican challenger, Chris Palombi, in Hoyer’s home county, St. Mary’s.

VOTER TURNOUT HIGH EVEN AS COUNT GOES ON: Montgomery County’s voter turnout was higher this election than in 2016, and the county continues to count ballots, Briana Adhikusuma reports for Bethesda Beat. As of Thursday, it stood at 78%, compared to 73% in 2016.

SURVEILLANCE PLANE CHALLENGE FAILS: A divided federal appeals court has given the all clear on Baltimore’s aerial surveillance program, saying it falls into already approved techniques and tools like security cameras, Steve Lash reports for The Daily Record. The ACLU of Maryland filed its challenge to the AIR program on behalf of the black advocacy group Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle and Baltimore activists Erricka Bridgeford and Kevin James, who advocate for gun control, school funding, housing rights and immigrants.

About The Author

Meg Tully

Contributing Editor Meg Tully has been covering Maryland politics for more than five years. She has worked for The Frederick News-Post, where she reported during the General Assembly session in Annapolis. She has also worked for The (Hanover) Evening Sun and interned at Baltimore Magazine. Meg has won awards from the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association for her state and county writing, and a Keystone Press Award for feature writing from the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association. She is a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. If you have additional questions or comments contact Meg at:

1 Comment

  1. JLMW

    No problem, Gov. Hogan.

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