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MARYLAND — Maryland's COVID-19 situation has started to improve since metrics peaked in mid-January, but understaffed hospitals are still swamped. Gov. Larry Hogan on Monday signed an executive order to expand the health care workforce available to the state's medical facilities.
“We continue to take short-term actions to support our health care workforce as it deals with the Omicron wave and the influx of unvaccinated patients,” Hogan said in a press release. “All of the data continues to show very encouraging trends, with many of our key health metrics consistently and substantially declining."
Hogan's latest action:
"Provides more licensing flexibility for pharmacists and technicians to help support the pharmacy workforce. Pharmacies are conducting a number of critical COVID-19 functions, including testing and vaccination clinics."
"Expands the state’s initiative to allow nursing students to serve as licensed practitioners by also including Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), and Certified Medical Technicians (CMTs). "
"Allows respiratory therapy students to assist in augmenting the emergency medical services (EMS) workforce."
The full executive order is posted here.
The governor also highlighted Maryland's declining coronavirus metrics.
The state's COVID-19 hospitalizations are dropping at the fastest rate in the country, Hogan said. Hospitalizations have fallen by 1,132 since they peaked at 3,462 on Jan. 11. That's a 32.6 percent reduction.
Maryland is one of eight states where coronavirus hospitalizations have declined over the last two weeks, the governor said.
Hogan also announced Monday that Maryland passed 40 percent vaccination for kids aged 5 to 11. This is the newest group eligible for the immunization.
The governor said significantly more school-aged children have gotten inoculated this month. About 40.5 percent of 5- to 11-year-olds have received at least one dose.
"We ask Marylanders to remain vigilant, to keep doing the things that can keep us safe, and to get boosted for maximum protection against these variants," Hogan said.
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