"These outbreaks are not only serious public health concerns, but they are also a potential threat to Maryland’s leading agricultural industry and to our nation’s essential food supplies chain", Hogan told reporters on Wednesday.
The governor noted that Maryland has confirmed at least 262 COVID-19 cases associated with poultry workers. Hogan said the local authorities have taken serious measures to prevent the spread of the virus in the plants.
"We dispatched state epidemiologists to the affected areas, we focus on testing support, contact tracing", he said, pointing out that the authorities also opened additional sites to testing workers from affected facilities.
He added that Maryland has begun universal COVID-19 testing for residents and personnel of nursing homes given that almost half of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)-related deaths in the state occurred in these facilities.
"I issued an executive order requiring universal testing of all residents and staff at all Maryland nursing homes, regardless of whether they asymptomatic or not", Hogan said.
Hogan called "shocking" the information that 46 percent of COVID-19 related deaths statewide have registered in nursing homes. The governor noted that a total of 4,011 COVID-19 cases at 143 such nursing facilities across Maryland have been confirmed.
"Even the best practices and care is in place, this virus may be transmitted by the asymptomatic staff", Hogan said. "These outbreaks account for 19 percent of all positive cases in our state".
Hogan thanked the Trump administration for swiftly responding on the request for federal assistance that the governors have sent to the White House, including dispatching specialists and providing additional support.
As of Wednesday, Maryland authorities have reported 20,849 confirmed cases and 985 deaths related to the novel coronavirus.