ANNAPOLIS — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Thursday that nursing homes in the state can resume indoor visitation, effective immediately.
Hogan said some of the state’s metrics in combating the coronavirus pandemic permit loved ones to visit those who reside in any of the 227 nursing homes.
For instance, the statewide positive rate on Thursday stood at 2.88 percent, down by 90 percent since its peak April 17.
No Maryland jurisdiction is in the federal government’s designated “red zone,” which designates an area with an significant rise in coronavirus cases.
In a major milestone, the state health department reported zero coronavirus-related deaths Thursday — the first time since March 28 the state has went a 24-hour period without one.
“We are doing better than most states across the country,” he said. “Thanks to the people of Maryland who’ve been vigilant and listening to all the great public health advice. Our health metrics could not possibly be any better.”
In terms of nursing homes, Hogan said the facilities cannot allow visits unless they “are not experiencing a current outbreak or have not experienced any new positive cases in the last 14 days.”
Any jurisdiction with a positive rate above 10 percent also cannot resume indoor visitation.
As of Thursday, all 23 counties and Baltimore City recorded positivity rates below 5 percent.
Even with all the improved statistics, the state has recorded 125,510 positive cases. More than 300 patients remain hospitalized and 3,805 people have died from the virus.
Meanwhile, state schools Superintendent Karen Salmon announced all child care centers can increase the number of children they serve.
For instance, centers can serve up to 20 children ages 3 and 4 in a room with a student-teacher ratio of 10 to one.
It can increase to up to 30 school-age children with a student-teacher ratio of 15 to one.
The current limits restricted centers to fewer than 15 children per classroom.
Salmon said about 82 percent of the providers have reopened with adherence to health and safety protocols.
Any new family-child care providers can apply for a $1,000 grant to bolster small businesses.
This would also allow, Salmon said, to limit unregulated and illegal centers “that have sprung up” during the pandemic with no oversight, no background checks and uncertain that children are safe.
“We’ve heard very clearly from parents and providers that we needed to return to licensed capacity to meet the needs of working families and prevent the closure of child care centers,” she said. “I hope this announcement compliments local school systems efforts to bring students back in the classroom.”