Noting that the Delta variant is yielding new COVID-19 cases in Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced Thursday that, effective Sept. 1, employees in 48 state facilities will be required to show proof of vaccination or adhere to strict face-covering requirements and submit to regular testing.
“We know that right now the Delta variant accounts for nearly 100% of the new cases currently being sequenced in Maryland and it accounts for 93% of all cases nationwide,” Hogan stated. “We also understand it may cause more severe illness than earlier variants. We do need to take the Delta variant very seriously.”
In Southern Maryland, the Charles County commissioners imposed a new mask mandate that basically requires anyone indoors in a public building to wear a mask.
In addition, Charles, St. Mary's and Calvert public school systems have all switched course and will again require all students, vaccinated and unvaccinated, to wear a mask while at school.
The new state employee vaccination protocols will apply to workers in the Maryland Department of Health’s 11 state health care facilities, the 12 juvenile services facilities, the state's Department of Public Safety and Corrections’ six detention centers and 18 correctional facilities, and Charlotte Hall Veterans Home.
State employees at those facilities need to receive their first does of the COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 1.
Hogan called on Maryland’s private nursing homes to adopt similar protocols for their employees. The governor stated that if nursing home operators don’t take this action “state health officials are prepared to take further actions if necessary.”
Citizens who are refusing to get vaccinated are being urged to reconsider their decision.
“Please, just get the damn vaccine,” Hogan stated. “The vaccines are free, safe, they work and they are widely available everywhere across the state at thousands of distribution points, including hundreds of pharmacies and primary care providers.”
The wide area where the free vaccines are available includes Southern Maryland, where all three health departments are providing shots to anyone 12 and over.
Additionally, in St. Mary’s, a first-dose vaccination clinic is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 14, from noon to 3 p.m. during the NAACP’s “Back to School Fair” at John G. Lancaster Park. The second dose for that vaccine will be given Sept. 3 at the county health department office in Leonardtown.
In Calvert, a vaccine clinic will be held in the county’s largest subdivision, Chesapeake Ranch Estates in Lusby on Monday, Aug. 16, from 5 to 7 p.m.
Charles County’s final special vaccination clinic site this week will be on Friday, Aug. 13, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the New Life Church in La Plata.
Additionally, there will be vaccination clinics at eight different schools and at the Hughesville Volunteer Fire Department now through Aug. 20. For locations and times, go to charlescountyhealth.org.