State Roundup: New funds, restrictions coming as virus cases go up

State Roundup: New funds, restrictions coming as virus cases go up

Governor;s Office photo by Patrick Siebert cropped from a Hogan press conference Thursday.

NEW FUNDS TO HELP CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE: Maryland has secured $70 million in new investments for initiatives aimed at protecting Marylanders from the coronavirus, Bryan Renbaum writes for Maryland Reporter. The CARES Act funding comes as both Maryland and the nation at-large are experiencing a spike in new infections.

  • The money includes $20 million for a strategic stockpile of personal protective equipment, and other funds will help Marylanders impacted by the disaster such as rental assistance, call centers, and food bank funds, Elizabeth Shwe reports for Maryland Matters.
  • From state rainy day funding that has already been announced, Allegany County is preparing to issue $650,000 in COVID-19 relief grants to eligible businesses in the local restaurant industry, Greg Larry writes for the Cumberland Times News.

JURISDICTIONS HUNKER DOWN: Trying to halt an alarming rise in coronavirus cases and heading into colder months, Maryland courts halted trials and a number of counties put tighter restrictions in place on restaurants, social gatherings and youth sports Thursday, Pamela Wood and Jeff Barker write for the Sun.

  • “It is time to hunker down,” Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said as she announced a cap for indoor events of 10 people, or one person per 200 square feet, William Ford reports for Washington Informer.
  • In its first meeting in years, the Frederick County Board of Health met until almost midnight Thursday before voting to impose restrictions, Greg Swatek of The Frederick News-Post reports. The restrictions, which go into effect at 5 p.m. Friday, mandate that residents wear masks in all indoor spaces, as well as outdoor spaces when physical distancing can’t be maintained with non-family members, in Frederick County and limit all gatherings in residences and businesses to no more than 25 people.
  • The Maryland Court of Appeals announced Thursday amid coronavirus concerns that all criminal and civil trials — except those in which a jury already has been seated — will be suspended until at least January, Phillip Jackson reports for the Sun. Some court functions will continue to operate on a limited basis.
  • The Carroll County Commissioners urged caution as the Board of Education decided to proceed with reopening schools, Ana Faguy reports for the Carroll County Times. The new schools dashboard showed 37 people within the Carroll County schools who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, Kristen Griffith reports for the Carroll County Times.
  • Montgomery County is calling for the state to set up more stringent requirements so less is left to the counties, Briana Adhikusuma reports for Bethesda Beat. Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said he thinks the state is at a “must” point instead of “should.”
  • Outdoor sporting events, including tournaments that would sometimes bring more than 1,000 people to Harford County fields, are being suspended after they were identified as potential reasons for the county’s recent spike in COVID-19 cases,” S. Wayne Carter Jr. reports for The Aegis.
  • Allegany County’s daily COVID-19 positivity rate was 8.92%, which was higher than any other jurisdiction in the state, and a seven-day moving average case rate of 73.24 per 100,000 people, Teresa McMinn reports for the Cumberland Times-News. The paper asked for information on hospital capacity and nursing home outbreaks from officials at those institutions but did not receive it.
  • Baltimore City’s health commissioner is urging people to wear masks and said the city is aiming to reduce indoor capacity, Emily Sullivan reports for WYPR. If you’re looking for loopholes, Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa said, remember COVID-19 is a virus, not a lawyer.

HOGAN CANCELS FAMILY THANKSGIVING IN GOV’S MANSION: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is taking his own advice and has decided against having Thanksgiving dinner with his three daughters, three sons-in-law and four grandchildren, Ben Leonard reports for the Sun. He now plans to have dinner with just his wife, as he has urged residents to remain with immediate family only.

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HEALTH SEC NEALL TO RETIRE: And in a one-two punch, Hogan is losing his Health Secretary, who is set to retire effective Dec. 1, Hannah Gaskill and Bruce DePuyt report for Maryland Matters. Sec. Robert Neall, 72, is well respected as a long-time civil servant, they report.

LEADERS WEIGH IN ON PRESIDENTIAL RESULT CONTROVERSY: U.S. Rep. Andy Harris took to Facebook to comment on the presidential election, saying that he is not alleging fraud but that raised concerns about “secret unobserved vote counts in the swing states,” the Post’s Meagan Flynn writes in an article about how many Virginia and Maryland politicians aren’t conceding that President Donald Trump lost the election. Harris did not respond to her request for comment.

  • Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen was so upset about how his colleagues have refused to accept that Joe Biden was victorious that he took to the Senate floor Thursday and called their actions “grossly negligent,” Bruce DePuyt reports for Maryland Matters.
  • And Hogan is also “frustrated” that the White House is focused on the contested election instead of having the White House Coronavirus Task Force providing more information, Emily Zantow reports for The Washington Times. Hogan said the Task Force last had a call with governors on Nov. 2, the day before the election.
  • And Republican Congressional candidate Kim Klacik is alleging that people were stealing votes for Kweisi Mfume in her race. She’s also claiming that people are looking into it, which sounds “equally fanciful,” David Lubin blogs in Seventh State.

BALT CITY RAZING HOMELESS CAMP: About 30 people living in a homeless camp on a city-owned parking lot are being told to leave even as the pandemic cases are rising, Louis Krauss reports for Baltimore Brew. The decision comes as city leaders are expected to end hotel stays for other homeless and reopen shelters.

NATIONAL HARBOR HOTEL SHUT DOWN: In Prince George’s County, Maryland, a hotel has been shut down because of new coronavirus restrictions, Jose Umana reports for WTOP.The Hampton Inn and Suites National Harbor announced it’s closing with a sign posted on its front door that said it closed “to protect public health and safety.”

YOUNGER PEOPLE HIT HARDER BY COVID: A higher percentage of people under 30 years old have been admitted to hospitals with COVID-19 than during Montgomery County’s first surge during the spring, Briana Adhikusuma reports for Bethesda Beat.

MOANING DURING SCHOOL BOARD MEETING NOT DUE TO BREACH: A state investigation into “inappropriate audio” of a moaning woman that interrupted a late-night Baltimore County school board meeting last month has concluded the incident was not the result of a network system breach but could not determine the source of the audio, Lillian Reeds reports for the Sun.

CAPITAL SHOOTER TRIAL LIKELY DELAYED: “The Capital Gazette shooting trial appears to be slated for a delay, again, as the Maryland Judiciary issued an order Thursday re-suspending all jury trials amid the fall surge of the coronavirus,” Alex Mann reports for The Capital Gazette.

COMMENTARY: POST ELECTION ANALYSIS: Once Hogan leaves office in two years, it’s back to the real-estate development game, Barry Rascovar writes in commentary on the results of the election.

PROVISIONAL BALLOT COUNT BEGINS: Maryland election workers have started counting provisional ballots, which means the election tabulations are almost wrapped up, Emily Opilo reports for the Sun.

SHANK TAKES JOB IN HOGAN ADMINISTRATION: Chris Shank, a former state delegate and senator from Washington County, will return to the Hogan administration as the director of external affairs and interagency initiatives, Mike Lewis reports for The Hagerstown Herald-Mail. Shank is returning after a year break where he worked for a private company.

About The Author

Meg Tully

Meg@MarylandReporter.com
http://MarylandReporter.com

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: Meg@MarylandReporter.com

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