Maryland child care providers can return to the full teacher-to-child ratios for which they are licensed, state officials said Thursday, and some nursing homes will be able to resume indoor visits.
The announcement came on the same day that Maryland reported zero deaths from the coronavirus in a 24-hour period for the first time since March 28.
“Today’s announcement means that child care centers can now serve up to 20 3- and 4-year-olds in a room with a ratio of one teacher to 10 students, and up to 30 school-age students with a ratio of one teacher to 15 students," State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon said at a news conference with Gov. Larry Hogan.
Capacity limits have been in place at the state’s child care providers for six months to help prevent the spread of the virus. The superintendent said Maryland has seen very few positive COVID-19 cases in child care facilities. She added that when the capacity limit was lifted from 10 to 15 people per room, the state didn’t see a spike in cases as more providers reopened.
So far, more than 82% of the state's child care providers have reopened, Salmon said. Reopened programs will receive a one-time grant of $800 for family child care providers and $1,600 for center-based child care providers. These grants will be available through Oct. 31.
Indoor Visits Allowed at Nursing Homes Without Positive Cases
Hogan also announced that the state will allow indoor visitation at nursing homes that have not had any positive cases in 14 days. The governor also announced an additional $6 million specifically for testing nursing home staff.
“This spring, for states across the nation, nursing homes became ground zero in the fight against COVID-19,” Hogan said. “Today, effective immediately as a result of new federal and state guidelines and our advances in rapid testing, indoor visitation is now able to begin in all nursing homes."
On Aug. 5, 130 Maryland nursing homes had active COVID-19 cases, according to the state. As of Thursday, that number had decreased to 76.
Hogan noted that Thursday marked the first time in 187 days that the state had reported zero deaths in a 24-hour period.
The lack of reported deaths doesn’t necessarily mean that no COVID-19 deaths occurred in that timeframe, because some deaths are not immediately reported due to a time lag in the submission of a death certificate. Still, Hogan described it as an “encouraging milestone" and a tribute to health care workers.
Meanwhile, Hogan said the state has not had problems with tests the state purchased from South Korea in April, after a news report of reliability problems with them.
“We don’t have any problem whatsoever with the LabGenomics tests,” Hogan said.
The governor also said the state has used 270,000 of the 500,000 tests so far, and the tests are still being used.
Maryland has reported a total of 3,805 deaths from the coronavirus. The state reported that there have been 125,510 coronavirus cases confirmed in the state as of Thursday. That was an increase of 785 cases in 24 hours.