MD COVID: Mask Up In State Offices, Get Paid Leave For Booster
Masks are required in Maryland government buildings. State workers can get leave for a booster. This comes as COVID-19 metrics set records.
Jacob Baumgart,Patch Staff
Posted Mon, Jan 3, 2022 at 12:26 pm ET|Updated Mon, Jan 3, 2022 at 12:46 pm ETReplies (55)
ANNAPOLIS, MD — Masks are once again required in state government buildings as COVID-19 cases again climb, Gov. Larry Hogan said Monday. Hogan also offered paid leave to state employees who get a booster shot.
The new face covering rule only applies to public spaces owned or leased by the state government. Maryland still does not have a statewide mask mandate.
“We believe that the next four to six weeks are really going to be a terrible point in this crisis,” Hogan said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” according to Newsmax. “It’s potentially going to be the worst part of the whole two-year fight.”
Local governments are free to institute more restrictive face covering guidelines. They may not be more lenient than the state, however. Areas that currently have temporary indoor mask mandates include:
- Anne Arundel County
- Baltimore City
- Baltimore County
- Frederick County
- Howard County
- Montgomery County
- Prince George’s County
Along with face coverings, leaders hope booster shots will slow the spread of the coronavirus. That’s why Hogan offered leave to boosted state employees.
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Let’s go! Brandon!
After workers present their proof of getting a booster shot, they will gain two hours of paid leave. The governor encouraged private employers to offer similar benefits for COVID-19 immunizations.
“Today we are taking another series of actions to address the current surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations,” Hogan said in a press release. “We will continue to take every action necessary to help our hospitals and keep people safe.”
In recent weeks, the governor has also:
- Established a surge operations center to optimize hospital bed capacity and fully utilize alternate care sites
- Committed an additional $100 million for hospitals and nursing homes to address urgent staffing needs
- Began to distribute 500,000 at-home rapid test kits through local health departments and BWI Airport
- Expanded the days and hours of state-run testing sites and opened two additional surge testing sites to meet increased demand
- Made an additional $30 million in funding available to school systems to further enhance their own testing resources
- Expanded genomic sequencing to track and detect COVID-19 variants
These measures come as the highly contagious omicron variant has driven a record-breaking surge. The case rate and hospitalization total are at record highs. The positivity rate is also threatening to eclipse its previous peak.
The 14,316 infections reported last Thursday were a single-day record. Monday’s 14,251 cases weren’t far off the pace.
The case rate has nearly doubled since Christmas. Hospitalizations have risen by 1,162 in that span.
Maryland’s case rate has skyrocketed to 195.02 new infections per day per 100,000 residents. That’s nearly four times higher than the previous record of 53.39 set on Jan. 12, 2021. The case rate is also well above its recent minimum of 11.16 reported on Nov. 5, 2021 and its overall low of 0.9 recorded on June 25, 2021.
The state’s positivity rate is up to 26.87 percent. It was as low as 2.91 percent on Nov. 4, 2021. The all-time minimum of 0.54 percent was set on June 28, 2021. The positivity rate is just under its March 28, 2020 peak of 26.88 percent. That metric was artificially inflated, however, because tests were scarce early in the pandemic.
This omicron spike prompted an increase in hospitalizations. Maryland’s 2,746 patients are a new record compared to the previous peak of 1,952 on Jan. 11, 2021. The hospitalizations are also up from the recent minimum of 490 registered on Nov. 14, 2021 and the record low of 97 posted on July 1, 2021.
The state has reported 11,658 COVID-19 deaths.
Marylanders can get tested by visiting COVIDtest.maryland.gov.
Maryland has 4,268,564 fully vaccinated residents. About 96.99 percent of Maryland seniors and 91.9 percent of adults have gotten at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
Maryland has also made some headway on the newest group eligible for the shot. About 33.76 percent of kids aged 5 to 11 have gotten their first injection since they were cleared for immunization in late October 2021.
The state has given 1,630,046 booster shots.
Maryland’s infection and vaccine metrics are updated daily at coronavirus.maryland.gov.
Who’s Eligible For Booster
Here is a chart explaining who is eligible for a booster shot and when they can take it:https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NwYWNlX2NhcmQiOnsiYnVja2V0Ijoib2ZmIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1471178895915429891&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fpatch.com%2Fmaryland%2Fannapolis%2Fmasks-required-state-buildings-paid-leave-given-boosters&sessionId=4282c845412e3ec3bf7c4d7706ab46be7440ac33&theme=light&widgetsVersion=9fd78d5%3A1638479056965&width=550px
Residents don’t have to get their booster from the same immunization manufacturer they used for their initial inoculation(s). Marylanders are allowed to pick any additional dose they want.
The CDC recommended getting the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna booster, not the Johnson & Johnson. Experts urged locals to still get Johnson & Johnson’s extra dose if Pfizer and Moderna are not available.
Who’s Eligible For First Doses
The Pfizer immunization is the only one with full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. That clearance is good for residents 16 and up. Pfizer also has emergency-use authorization for anybody aged 5 to 15 for their first two doses
Emergency-use authorization requires less FDA review than full approval, which is the golden stamp of support from regulators.
Residents can book a vaccine by visiting covidvax.maryland.gov or calling Maryland’s multilingual call center at 1-855-MD-GOVAX (1-855-634-6829).
- Face Mask Mandate Reinstated By Anne Arundel, Annapolis Leaders
- Anne Arundel Schools Amend COVID Quarantine Rules As CDC Outlined
- Anne Arundel Medical Center To Open Free COVID-19 Testing Site
- COVID-19 Hospitalizations In MD Hit Record High, Along With Cases
- CDC Shortens Isolation, Quarantine Time: What It Means In MD
- Some Surgeries Delayed At Anne Arundel, Prince George’s Hospitals
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