What to Know
- The D.C.-Baltimore area needs "urgent federal attention," Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said he told the White House.
- The governor issued an executive order to crack down on businesses that defy social distancing orders.
- “Strike teams” made up of members of the National Guard and health officials will respond to nursing homes hit hard by the pandemic
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan says the Trump administration has recognized the Washington, D.C.-Baltimore corridor as an “emerging hot spot” for coronavirus cases.
Coronavirus Cases in DC, Maryland and Virginia
COVID-19 cases by population in D.C. and by county in Maryland and Virginia
Hogan said he flagged the entire state of Maryland to the White House plus the city of Baltimore and 11 counties in particular: Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Carroll, Charles, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George's and Queen Anne's.
These hot spots demand “urgent federal attention,” the governor said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.
“We have succeeded in convincing the Trump administration to designate the greater Baltimore-Washington corridor as a priority,” he said.
Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia local news, events and information
Hogan said he began placing calls to “everyone in Washington,” including President Donald Trump, urging that the D.C.-Baltimore area become a priority. He argued that the area had a rising number of cases and that hundreds of thousands of federal workers live here.
“I was calling all weekend, late into the night, almost every day for a solid week,” he said.
Vice President Mike Pence called Hogan over the weekend and said the region would be a priority, Hogan said.
The number of cases in Maryland, particularly in the D.C.-Baltimore area, has grown fast, data shows.
As of Wednesday morning, 5,529 cases of the virus had been diagnosed statewide. One hundred-three people had died.
In one bright spot, data from the past day showed lower numbers of new cases and new hospitalizations in the state, said Dr. Tom Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
“It’s only one day of data, but if confirmed over time, it would be a very good move in the right direction,” he said.
Additionally, “strike teams” made up of members of the National Guard and health officials will respond to Maryland nursing homes hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, the governor said.
The strike teams will bring triage emergency care and supplies to nursing homes after virus cases were diagnosed at 90 facilities in the state, Hogan said, describing the teams as the first of their kind nationally.
"The goal here is not to replace a nursing home's medical and clinical team, but to provide immediate support and assistance to help protect residents of these facilities,” the governor said.
The strike teams will be activated in response to requests from nursing homes, local health departments and state infectious disease experts.
The governor issued an executive order that will allow jurisdictions to crack down on businesses that defy social distancing rules. Jurisdictions can order businesses to immediately modify how they operate, severely limit movement outside or shut them down completely.
Hogan directed the health department to publish information on the race and ethnicity of patients. He cautioned that there would be “significant gaps” in the initial data because many private labs that take virus tests don’t collect that data. Most people to die of the virus so far in D.C. were identified as black or African American.
A field hospital in Baltimore will have 250 beds and treat patients who no longer need hospitalization. The facility was assembled ahead of schedule and a 24-hour staffing plan is underway. A coronavirus testing site will be set up at the Pimlico Race Course.
Stay with NBC Washington for more details on this developing story.