ANNAPOLIS, MD — Maryland is officially under a State of Emergency. Governor Larry Hogan declared the 30-day order yesterday to help address the recent uptick in COVID-19 infections. Hogan has given Maryland’s health secretary the authority to regulate hospital staff, beds and supplies. Additionally, a-thousand members of the Maryland National Guard will now help with the pandemic response and assist with the opening of nearly two-dozen COVID-19 testing sites near hospitals across the state. Hogan says these actions will help eliminate overflowing at hospitals and keep our young people in school.

Combat medics with the West Virginia National Guard are being pressed into service in West Virginia hospitals. The ongoing health care staffing issues mean several hundred guard members will be used to do a lot of the tasks not related to direct patient care. That will free up a shrinking health care staff to be able to focus on patients. There are more than 700 COVID-19 patients in the hospital at this time.

And, at WVU, anyone coming on campus at West Virginia University will need to be masked up. The new mask mandate will be in effect until at least February 1st. In addition, the definition of being fully vaccinated at WVU now means a person must also have received a booster shot. Vaccine status verification is required for students and staff by January 28th. The spring semester classes start Monday.

Meanwhile, sometime today the Mountain State is expected to top 16-thousand active COVID cases. Despite the rapidly increasing numbers, only 79 cases of the highly transmittable omicron variant have been confirmed. The delta variant remains strong in West Virginia with more than 12-thousand infected.