Governor Larry Hogan – Official website of the Governor of Maryland
Further Expands State’s Capacity to Track and Detect COVID-19 Variants, Encourages Lab Partners to Scale Up Surveillance Efforts
Rapid antigen testing, guidance available at Marshall BWI Airport International Terminal
Marylanders who receive a booster shot in the next 10 days will be fully protected by Christmas
ANNAPOLIS, MD–Following warnings from the World Health Organization that the COVID-19 Omicron variant poses a high risk of outbreaks of infection across the world and the first confirmed case in the United States, Governor Larry Hogan detailed today hui Maryland’s preparedness efforts and continued to urge all eligible Marylanders to get a fired recall as soon as possible.
“The most important thing you can do to maintain your immunity to this virus and its variants is to get your booster shot,” Governor Hogan said. “Throughout this year, we have repeatedly emphasized that we are in a race between vaccines and variants. Because we are one of the most vaccinated states, we have been able to stay ahead of the virus, but we cannot become complacent and we must remain vigilant. “
Watch today’s press conference.
View slides from today’s press conference.
Statewide preparation for the Omicron variant includes the following:
Extension of variant monitoring. The state of Maryland continues to be among the national leaders in the use of genomic sequencing to track various COVID-19 mutations. Thanks to agreements with the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University, Maryland is now sequencing at nearly three times the level recommended by public health experts.
- Earlier today, the Public Works Council approved an emergency purchase to acquire additional special reagents and supplies to further expand the state’s ability to track and detect variants of COVID-19.
- The Public Works Council also voted today to extend the state’s sequencing agreements with the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University.
- Maryland health officials are also urging all state laboratory partners to immediately step up their surveillance efforts.
Provision of rapid antigen testing at Marshall BWI airport. Problems in the national supply chain and increased demand have made rapid antigen testing increasingly difficult to find. In response, the governor announced the additional availability of rapid antigenic testing statewide.
- The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and the Maryland Department of Transportation will immediately make rapid antigen testing available at the Marshall BWI Airport International Terminal for the nearly 7,000 international passengers arriving each week. MDH will also begin to make advice available to travelers in multiple languages.
PCR tests remain widely available at over 300 sites across Maryland. All Marylanders who are feeling ill or returning from a trip are encouraged to get tested. To find the nearest testing location, visit covidtest.maryland.gov.
Booster injections are advised to maintain the highest level of immunity. As the state of Maryland begins to see the expected seasonal rise in some key health indicators, the most important thing Marylanders can do is get a vaccine or a booster.
With data showing decreased immunity after six months, all Marylanders aged 18 and over are urged to be given a booster for additional protection against the virus. Marylanders who receive their booster in the next 10 days will be fully protected by Christmas.
To find a clinic, visit covidvax.maryland.gov or call the state’s multilingual call center, available seven days a week, at 1-855-MD-GOVAX (1-855-634-6829).