State Roundup: Testing sites slammed as metrics rise, holiday approaches

State Roundup: Testing sites slammed as metrics rise, holiday approaches

Gov. Larry Hogan and wife Yumi Hogan at home of Korean Ambassador Lee Soo-Hyuck in February. Governor's Office photo

MD FIRST LADY HONORED: Next week Maryland’s First Lady Yumi Hogan will be awarded the highest civilian honor of the Republic of Korea for her diplomacy and her outreach to the Korean-American community in Maryland, Bryan Renbaum writes for Maryland Reporter.

  • A native of South Korea, Hogan helped lead trade missions and helped secure the purchase of COVID-19 tests from Korea, Ben Leonard reports for the Sun. She alsohelped create a sister-state relationship between Maryland and Jeollanam-do, her home province.

REPORT ON S. KOREAN TESTS SHOWS LAB PROCESSING ISSUES: Federal and state inspectors looking into coronavirus tests bought from South Korea with millions in state funds found a University of Maryland lab had several problems with how it was processing them, Meredith Cohn and Pamela Wood report for the Sun. The inspection by U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Maryland Office of Health Care Quality stemmed from complaints from nursing homes about a spate of false positive results in September.

HOURS LONG COVID TEST LINES: A drive through COVID-19 test line lasted hours Thursday morning, Erika Riley reports for the Frederick News-Post, as states see a rise in COVID-19 and people race to be tested leading up to Thanksgiving.

  • Around the state, officials are expanding testing capacity, Jayne Miller reports for WBAL TV. SkyTeam 11 video showed lines wrapped around the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, one of the testing sites open Thursday. At the Baltimore Convention Center, the number of people getting tested has been over 1,000 per testing session this month, which is triple the average number over the summer.
  • Health officials are working to get the testing site at Allegany Fairgrounds running more smoothly after having to turn some people away the first day it offered evening hours, Lindsay Renrer-Wood at the Cumberland Times-News.

ANOTHER MD SHUT DOWN? Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said the state, facing “an avalanche” of cases statewide, may need another shut down, Bryan Sears reports for The Daily Record.

  • Experts at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health say that another shut down could be more targeted, David Collins reports for WBAL TV. “We can target restrictions at a very fine geographic scale, to specific venues, to ZIP codes. There is no need for a one-size-fits-all full lockdown of the entire country,” said Dr. David Dowdy, a Johns Hopkins associate professor of epidemiology.
  • The discussions come as new restrictions announced earlier this week will be implemented at 5 p.m. Friday, John Domen reports for WTOP. Among the new restrictions: retail businesses, churches and restaurants will have greater capacity restrictions, bars and restaurants will have a 10 p.m. curfew for seating and visits to nursing homes and hospitals are suspended, with some exceptions. Elective medical procedures will also be reduced.

ICU EXPANSION FOR COVID SURGE: The University of Maryland Medical Center is opening a temporary ICU as COVID cases surge, adding 16 extra ICU beds to its existing inventory at both its downtown and Midtown campuses, Morgan Eichensehr reports for Baltimore Business Journal.

HOGAN ON VIRTUAL CALL WITH BIDEN-HARRIS: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, was among those who met virtually with President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to discuss coronavirus response through the National Governors Association, CNN’s Situation Room Reports. “It was a really smart move,” Hogan said of the bipartisan “cordial and, I think, productive,” bipartisan meeting.

MD SETTLES IN PPE CONTRACT DISPUTE: Hogan’s administration has settled a multimillion-dollar contract dispute with politically connected company Blue Flame, a startup that the state ordered COVID supplies from, Pamela Wood reports for the Sun.

CARSON TOUTS UNAPPROVED TREATMENT: Dr. Ben Carson, secretary of housing and urban development and former Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon, took oleander extract, an “unproven therapeutic remedy,” when he tested positive for COVID-19 this month, Ben Terris writes for the Post in a column about “Trump’s Guys.”

  • Carson had said in August that it was too early to promote the treatment, which is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for COVID, Ben Leonard reports for the Sun.

CARROLL INCREASES TESTING AS REPORTS FOURTH DEATH: Carroll County is increasing testing as it released news of a fourth COVID-19 death in a week, Bob Blubaugh reports for The Carroll County Times.

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MONTGOMERY HEALTH OFFICER WANTS PRIVATE SCHOOLS TO GO VIRTUAL AGAIN: Montgomery County’s health officer on Thursday evening urged private school heads to discontinue in-person instruction, writing in a letter that he “strongly encourage all schools in Montgomery County to reassess continued in-person instruction and strongly consider a return to full virtual instruction,” given the latest health metrics Caitlynn Peetz reports for Bethesda Beat. In private schools that have remained open this fall, Montgomery County has seen limited transmission in the schools through contract tracing.

CARROLL COMMISSIONER DISAPPOINTED IN SCHOOL BOARD MEETINGS: A Carroll County Commissioner who sits on the school board read a prepared statement Wednesday night that the other school board members have called him a liar and mistreated him, Kristen Griffith reports for The Carroll County Times. Commissioner Dennis Frazier sits on the board as an “ex-officio” member but was interrupted when he said he didn’t think it was a coincidence COVID cases had risen as schools switched to hybrid learning. The schools have since moved back online.

BALTIMORE CITY, COUNTY SCHOOLS ON REOPENING:Baltimore City schools officials, where some schools have been meeting in person, and Baltimore County schools, where schools remain virtual and special education schools will not reopen as planned, discuss their decisions with Tom Hall and Cianna Greaves for WYPR.

  • An announcement came Thursday that Baltimore City’s schools with in-person instruction will take an extended pause around the upcoming holiday, WJZ staff reports. All in-person student learning programs and meal sites will pause the week after Thanksgiving, with the pause continuing from Monday, November 30 through Friday, December 4.

JUVENILE FACILITY FACES COVID CASES: A state employee union is sounding alarm bells that there is a COVID-19 outbreak in Western Maryland at the Department of Juvenile Services’ Backbone Youth Center in Garrett County, Hannah Gaskills reports for Maryland Matters.

 HOTEL WORKERS PROTEST VETOES: Hotel workers are expected to hold a rally and virtual press conference Friday after Baltimore City Mayor Jack Young vetoed legislation intended to help laid off workers get rehired after the COVID crisis and another bill to keep their jobs in the event of an ownership change, Ian Round reports for Baltimore Brew. The union is asking for an emergency council meeting to override the veto.

FREDERICK MAN INDICTED FOR BIDEN-HARRIS THREATS: A Frederick man has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of threatening the lives of Joe Biden, the then-Democratic nominee for president, and his running mate, Kamala Harris, Bryan Sears reports for The Daily Record.

TRONE LEGISLATION PASSES: U.S. Rep. David Trone’s legislation to help fund opioid crisis response has passed the House unanimously, the staff of the Garrett County Republican reports.

ST. MARYS UPDATE ON ROAD PROJECTS: In St. Mary’s County, local officials questioned the state on why there is are lengthy timelines on road projects during an update with the Maryland Department of Transportation, Madison Bateman reports for Southern Maryland News.

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:

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