Governor Larry Hogan announced this afternoon that 380,716 COVID-19 tests had been completed in Maryland; 14,385 tests were completed in the past twenty-four hours.
Hogan also announced that a high-tech lab at University of Maryland Baltimore School of Medicine opened and is fully operational weeks ahead of schedule. The lab utilizes specialized Korean machinery and cutting-edge robotics to run tests at a high volume. The lab is the backbone of the State of Maryland’s long-term plans for testing to address a potential spike of cases in the fall.
Governor Hogan noted that the lab puts Maryland in a unique position of being more prepared to address the pandemic.
Governor Hogan noted the improvement in all metrics used to track progress in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. The positivity rate in Maryland dropped to 9.5%, which is nearly down 65% from its peak in April. In Frederick County, the positivity rate is 9.4%.
“As a threshold for entering stage two, CDC guidelines call for a downward trajectory in the positivity rate below 15% for fourteen days after entering stage one. Maryland has now been below the 15% positivity mark for fourteen straight days,” Hogan shared.
Total hospitalizations are at their lowest level in fifty days. The number of ICU patients continues to plateau and is at the lowest level since April 17, 2020.
The combination of these metrics and Maryland’s testing capacity allow the state to enter Stage Two of the Recovery. Counties and municipalities will have the ability to enter Stage Two.
Effective 5:00 p.m. on Friday, June 5, 2020, Governor Hogan is lifting the order requiring the closure of non-essential businesses. Personal services such as nail salons and tanning salons may open at 50% capacity by appointment only.
Face coverings will be encouraged in all businesses for face-to-face interactions. Businesses are encouraged to implement health screening processes for employees such as temperature checks. Governor Hogan also encouraged rotating shifts, teleworking, and changing office configurations to ensure social distance.
Starting Monday, June 8, State Government will begin resuming normal operations. The MVA and additional customer facing agencies will begin opening select branches in a limited basis and by appointment only.
The State of Maryland will begin returning to a normal public transportation schedule. Childcare Centers will begin to open with approval and guidance from the Department of Education.
If downward trends continue, the state will consider opening outdoor amusement, fitness, sporting, and other outdoor summertime activities.
Governor Hogan encouraged Marylanders to continue to be vigilante. All Marylanders are advised to continue to stay home when possible. Employers should continue to allow tele-working, when possible. Everyone should continue to practice social distancing.