State Roundup: Impact of full FDA approval of Pfizer vaxx; after MACo, four Hogan staffers test positive for covid-19

State Roundup:  Impact of full FDA approval of Pfizer vaxx; after MACo, four Hogan staffers test positive for covid-19

Sunday sunrise at State House by Ray Hoffman

WHAT FULL FDA APPROVAL OF VACCINE MEANS FOR BUSINESS: The Food and Drug Administration’s decision Monday to grant full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has led to considerable discussion about an increase in vaccine mandates. Gov. Larry Hogan has opted against state-imposed vaccine mandates and the state has instead encouraged businesses to impose their own mandates. But will the full approval change the legal landscape of mandates? Bryan Renbaum reports the story for Maryland Reporter.

HIGHWAY BUILDER SIGNALS INTENT TO SUE STATE: Capital Express Mobility Partners, a consortium that unsuccessfully sought a multi-billion dollar contract to finance and build toll lanes on interstate highways in Montgomery County, signaled in its strongest terms to date that it intends to sue the Maryland Department of Transportation, Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters reports.

STATE BOARD TO VOTE ON MASK MANDATE THURSDAY: The Maryland state school board will vote Thursday whether to institute a statewide mandate requiring every child and adult to be masked in schools, Liz Bowie reports for the Sun. Although most Central Maryland school districts have mandated all students and faculty to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, six counties, including Carroll, do not have a similar requirement in place.

  • Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Mohammed Choudury said that he was looking to see if he had legal backing to deny school systems’ COVID-19 plans if they follow all of the State Department of Education and Department of Health recommendations except for universal masking, Hannah Gaskill of Maryland Matters reports.

GARRETT SCHOOLS ADOPT MASK MANDATE: At a special Garrett County Board of Education meeting Tuesday, the board voted 3-1 in favor of adopting a universal mask mandate as the county has what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls substantial or high spread of COVID-19, Brandon Glass reports in the Cumberland Times News.

HOGAN STAFFERS TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID: Multiple members of Gov. Larry Hogan’s staff have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to his office, McKenna Oxenden of the Sun reports.

  • Rachel Chason of the Post writes that Hogan spokesman Mike Ricci said four members of Hogan’s staff tested positive and that Hogan (R) and Lt. Gov. Boyd K. Rutherford (R) both tested negative. Ricci added that all members of the governor’s staff are fully vaccinated.
  • At least four aides, including three senior members of his staff, tested positive days after some of them attended the Maryland Association of Counties convention in Ocean City, reports Bryan Sears for the Daily Record. News of the post-convention positive tests came late Tuesday from multiple sources familiar with the matter, who said one of Hogan’s senior staffers reportedly felt ill on Monday.
  • Danielle Gaines of Maryland Matters reports that MACo notified the thousands of attendees at the summer conference of the positive cases. In May, Hogan allowed a statewide mask mandate to lapse, and he’s encouraged vaccination as the best way to stop the spread of COVID. But public health officials have voiced grave concerns about the rising delta variant.

BA CO REINSTATES STATE OF EMERGENCY: Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. is reinstating a local state of emergency amid a spike in coronavirus cases, he announced Tuesday, Taylor DeVille reports for the Sun.

COVID HOSPITALIZATIONS RISE IN CARROLL: A couple months ago, the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 at Carroll Hospital was 1. Now that number is closer to 25, said Dr. Mark Olszyk, the hospital’s chief medical officer. The hospitalization numbers coupled with the increase of newly reported cases show the steady rise of the virus in Carroll County, Madison Bateman of the Carroll County Times reports.

BWI UNVEILS PUBLIC IN-HOUSE MEDICAL CENTER: BWI Marshall Airport unveiled a new in-house medical center this week that will offer urgent care, first aid, as well as COVID-19 vaccines and tests at the airport, Rose Wagner reports in the Sun. The FirstCall Medical Center, opening Aug. 26, is located inside Concourse C before security at BWI and will provide emergency and everyday medical services on top of COVID testing and vaccines. The center’s five patient rooms and range of services are open to the general public as well as travelers and airport employees.

POST FINDS PG BOARD ETHICS REPORTS ‘ERROR RIDDLED:’ Error-riddled ethics reports targeting Prince George’s County school board members are driving a new wave of dysfunction for the body charged with making policies for one of Maryland’s largest school systems, Rachel Chason and Donna St. George report in the Post.

REPORT FINDS CITY ENGINEER TELEWORKED 2 FULL-TIME JOBS: A teleworking Baltimore City Department of Public Works engineer was able to secure a second full-time job during the pandemic — and do both simultaneously for months — according to a report released Tuesday by the city’s Office of the Inspector General, Christine Condon reports in the Sun.

STATE, HO CO WORK TO ENSURE ELLICOTT CITY’s SURVIVAL: Thirty significant floods have been recorded in the Ellicott City area, including one in 1768 before the community’s official founding in 1772, according to research by the Howard County Historical Society. Yet, Ellicott City still stands and, in 2022, will celebrate its 250th anniversary. State and local officials are now working together to ensure the historic community will survive another 250 years, despite being located in a flood plain, Katie Jones reports in the Howard County Times.

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 newspaper, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at:

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