ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced a sweeping set of new restrictions on businesses and health care facilities on Tuesday as the state seeks to curb the ongoing surge of new coronavirus cases.
Hogan painted a bleak picture of the situation in the state, saying 19 hospitals, including many in western Maryland, are already at capacity. More than one Marylander is now dying every hour from the coronavirus, he said: “Maryland is in the red zone.”
In response, Hogan announced Tuesday a series of restrictions and rollbacks to Phase 2 limits intended to reduce the spread of the virus, which has now infected nearly 170,000 Marylanders and killed more than 4,000. Those moves include:
- Restricting hospital visitation statewide except in limited circumstances, such as compassionate care and obstetrics.
- Issuing guidance that hospitals should avoid elective procedures.
- Limiting indoor visitation at nursing homes and mandating twice-weekly COVID-19 testing for nursing home residents and staff.
- Mandating that all bars, restaurants and clubs in the state close at 10 p.m. (carryout and delivery will still be allowed) beginning on Friday.
- Rolling back indoor capacity at all businesses to the Phase 2 limit of 50% on Friday.
Maryland has seen hospitalizations increase by more than 100% since November 1. As of Tuesday, more than 1,000 patients were hospitalized in the state for the coronavirus.
“We do not want Marylanders to put off lifesaving treatments or surgeries, but our highest priority right now is preserving capacities at our hospitals so that our doctors and nurses can do their jobs,” Hogan said.
Read the text of Gov. Hogan's November 17 executive order below:
Hogan and Dr. Thomas Scalea, physician-in-chief for the University of Maryland Medical System, also announced the state would be issuing a “surge order” to maximize the number of available critical care beds for COVID-19 patients. The order allows hospitals that are full or nearly full to transfer patients to other hospitals.
Hogan finished his remarks by asking Marylanders to continue wearing masks and to continue following state mandates.
“We are in a war right now, and the virus is winning,” Hogan said. “Now, more than ever, I’m pleading with the people of our state to stand together a while longer to help us battle this virus.”