well good afternoon I'm very pleased to be joined today by Prince George's County Executive Angela also Brooks and dr.
Mohan sontha who's the president and CEO of the University of Maryland Medical system as of this morning Prince George's County has had three thousand eight hundred and seventy five cases of kovat 19 and Maryland has fourteen thousand seven hundred and seventy five confirmed cases in the past 35 days 631 Marylanders have lost their lives to this deadly virus 3325 coronavirus patients have been hospitalized and 1432 patients are currently hospitalized including 905 acute care patients and 527 intensive care patients today we have surpassed 27 thousand cases in the National Capital Region and 1159 people have died in Maryland DC and Virginia this deadly virus continues to spread in every single jurisdiction in the state but the highest concentration of cases in Maryland is right here in Prince George's County 37 days ago I launched an unprecedented public health surge plan by enacting an executive order directing the Maryland Department of Health to open closed hospital facilities and to take other measures necessary to immediately increase our capacity by an additional six thousand beds in order to meet the projected demand by this escalating virus the very first suggestion I had in our first meeting discussing this topic with our team that first day why don't we reopen the Laurel hospital and here we are today at the newly launched Laurel Medical Center this renovated and reconfigured facility will now provide an additional 135 beds including 35 intensive care beds to treat patients infected with kovat 19 the Laurel Medical Center is being staffed by nearly 400 contractual medical professionals and health care workers who will be managed by the University of Maryland Medical system this hospital first opened in 1978 which was the year that my father was elected as the county executive of Prince George's County over the years this facility helps save many lives before it was downsized and downgraded but now with its rebirth it is once again going to help us save lives not just here in Prince George's County but throughout the National Capital Region now making this happen so quickly months ahead of schedule was a huge undertaking involving many many people and I just want to take a moment to thank Dennis Rader who's the chief operating officer of the Maryland Department of Health and his entire team dr.
Mohan sontha and all the folks at arms and the Prince Georgia is a hospital center and especially I want to thank County executive also Brooks and all of the local leaders for their incredible partnership on Friday we will be introducing our Maryland strong roadmap to recovery a safe effective and gradual plan which will allow us to reopen to rebuild and to recover just as soon as it is safe for us to do so this recovery plan which has been developed over many weeks in consultation with our coronavirus response team of doctors and public health experts has four essential building blocks that are needed to be solidly in place before we can be in position to begin lifting restrictions first expanding our testing capacity second increasing hospital surge capacity third increased supply of PPE and fourth a robust contact tracing operation our teams have been making significant progress in each of these criteria on Monday we announced a major breakthrough on the most critical part of both our recovery plan for Maryland and the reopening guidelines the president released the week ago which is the capability of doing widespread testing maryland has successfully expanded our testing capability by over 5, 000 percent over the past month we've completed more than 76, 000 tests to date here in Prince George's County the Maryland National Guard in partnership with the Maryland Department of Health County Executive also Brooks and the Prince George's County Health Department established the state's very first coronavirus drive-through screening and testing location at FedEx Field in Landover and we have established drive-thru centers all across the state including at our beep stations last week we secured 40, 000 additional tests we invested two and a half million dollars to help the University of Maryland use cutting-edge robotics to build their capacity in order to handle the ability to handle 20, 000 tests per day and on Saturday through the success of our operation enduring friendship we received a payload of lab gun kovat 19 PCR test kits from a South Korean company called lab genomics which will give Maryland the capability performing a half-a-million coronavirus tests this 500-thousand test capacity is equal to the total amount of testing that has come been completed by four of the top five states in America added together we have a second plane load from Korea air land at BWI this morning with another payload a couple of days ago on Wednesday actually we had an offer from both the vice president and the president saying that they would now agree to allow the state of Maryland to access the countless federal labs that are located in our state access to these federal labs can be key to utilizing the five hundred thousand tests that we acquired from South Korea and we are looking forward to moving forward on this very important potential federal state collaboration second building block of our roadmap to recovery is what we're focused on here today increasing hospital surge capacity in addition to the Laurel Medical Center here in Prince George's County the 250 bed field hospital at the Baltimore Convention Center has been completely staffed and set up and we'll be admitting those patients who no longer require a hospitalization but need a location to complete their care and to fully recover here in Prince George's County we have also opened the first beds at Adventist Fort Washington Medical Center we're adding additional beds including intensive care beds to that location as well as to the UM Prince George's Hospital Center in Cheverly and we're expanding capacity with 22 surge response tents across the state including at Doctors Hospital doctors Community Hospital in Atlanta and at Southern Maryland Hospital Center in Clinton at Holy Cross Hospital and Washington Adventist Hospital in White Oak and also along with 100 additional beds at Jessup and at Hagerstown to address the needs of Corrections and detention centers we're now on track to not only reach but actually exceed our goal of 6, 000 additional beds by reaching a search capacity of more than six thousand seven hundred new beds in the coming weeks the third building block of our Maryland strong roadmap to recovery is more access and availability of personal protective equipment or PPE which is a problem that is plagued not only us but states all across America and countries around the globe we have had a multi-agency task force working literally around the clock day and night seven days a week focused on this issue and while the problems not solved they have made and are continuing to make great progress with large deliveries coming to our warehouses on a daily basis including five point nine million surgical masks we've reached recently acquired including 1 million mass from our friends in Korea 1 million K + 95 masks including 1 million from Korea and 705 n95 masks 2.
3 million surgical gowns 1.
1 million face shields and an additional 1, 000 additional ICU beds the fourth and final building block of our recovery and reopening plan is a robust contact tracing operation which will enable us to investigate every positive case as we fight our way out of this pandemic we already have 250 contract tracers working with our state and local health departments across the state and this morning we authorized the contract with nork the National Opinion Research Center which is the nation's oldest and largest university-based research firm operated by the University of Chicago with corporate offices in Bethesda under this agreement we will quadruple our present disease investigation capability and ramping up to be able to contact 1, 000 new cases per day we are also today launching a new state-of-the-art contact tracing platform for the kovat 19 virus called kovat link which will assist in monitoring and collecting information about people who test positive for kovat 19 and individuals who they have come in close contact with to determine who needs the site itself isolate and any other further steps that need to be taken to ensure that the virus is not spreading further this innovative kovat link platform will utilize medical data from the Chesapeake regional information system for our patients it's called crisp Maryland's 1000 contact tracers will be trained on this new technology to make sure that all information is collected in accordance with all regulations and guidelines for the security and privacy of all medical data I want to thank Rhode Island governor Gina Raimondo and Mayor Steven Adler of Austin Texas who consulted with us on this initiative I just completed another call today our 16th call with the nation's governor's and as the chairman of the NGA I continue to encourage states and counties and municipalities to work together to share best practices in order to identify the most effective and efficient ways to combat this pandemic our entire team has been working hard and making incredible project progress on all four of these necessary building blocks so that as our numbers start to improve and look better we will be in a position to safely reopen our state and get people back to work with these crucial components now firmly in place on Friday we will be introducing our Maryland strong roadmap to recovery which will lead us safely out of this pandemic into a brighter and more hopeful future finally today I want to just take a moment to recognize the many countless small businesses that have stepped up during this crisis to adapt their operations in order to help those in need and you may have seen when I came out here I was wearing this Maryland strong mask I wore to the press conference today it's made by route 1 apparel which was started here in Prince George's County in College Park in 2010 by University of Maryland student a leave on Paris last month Ali and her company generously donated their entire inventory of fanny packs to health care workers on the front lines and then they pivoted their entire operation to making face masks and so they're available at at route 1 apparels website and for every mass that anyone buys they also then donate a mask to Maryland health care workers and first responders so much like the opening of this hospital that we're here for today it's just another kind of shining example of the very spirit of our Maryland unites initiative it shows how anyone how any institution or any small business or any individual Marylander can be a part of our efforts to save lives and to defeat this hidden enemy and it is yet yet another reminder that we really are all in this together and with that I want to turn it over to the great county executive of Prince George's County my friend Angela also Brooks who has been a terrific partner and is doing a wonderful job leading her state in this crisis thank you good afternoon I first want to begin by welcoming the governor home I always get him I'm always thrilled to to do that and so I want to say welcome home mr.
governor and I'm really pleased today to be joined also by my partner's our County Council Chair Todd Turner is here a vice-chair Calvin Hawkins is here council member Tom de Noga I know is here as well Senator Jim Rosa Peppa's here as well as delegate Mary layman want to thank as well as the also the mayor of Laurel also I want to say thank you so much for joining us today as well Craig Moe and so I want to thank mr.
governor for for being here and to say how much we appreciate your leadership how much we also appreciate all of the swift action that has been taken since our County in our state was engulfed in this crisis regarding the coronavirus you heard the governor say it a moment ago but we have lost here 152 souls to the coronavirus we also have 3, 000 868 confirmed cases of the corona virus here in Prince George's County the largest case count in the state and I think it is so important to note now I believe that the governor has led in this way and I'm really proud to be a part of a state that understands these are not cases these are people these are humans these are our family members our friends these are our neighbors who we are talking about and so the urgency with which he has a tackle this has really been amazing and we are really grateful for it you heard that the governor right away upon hearing about these cases allow for Prince George's County to be the first place in the state that stood up a screening and testing site as we understood that there are too many in our county and in our state who are without health insurance and so that facility would allow us the 50, 000 plus individuals in Prince George's County who are not insured would have the opportunity to be screened and tested and treated for this virus and so we are really grateful at that site which opened on March 30th so far has screened over 800 individuals tested 721 patients and this site has really helped us to expand healthcare and expand access to some of our residents who lack health insurance and who don't have access to doctors but who certainly need that help I might also like to thank the state of Maryland's health department which has been really instrumental in helping us to facilitate that site as well as the National Guard in the United States Army they've been wonderful partners and we've seen also the need for additional testing so as of last week we expanded the capacity of that particular testing site to be able to to administer at least 200 tests per time we were there where there three times a week so 600 tests during that week and we know that we will be able to continue to expand the testing capability thanks to the efforts of the governor and also should say our first lady who is amazing as well we want to thank her also for that for the work that she did and getting us those additional tests their work at FedEx will also help us in contact tracing which is a really crucial part of our efforts to flatten the curve not only in Prince George's but we know that we will also flatten the curve throughout the state and in conjunction with that I've been able to up to order an executive order regarding the wearing of face masks and ensuring that all of our essential workers as well as those who are at our grocery stores and those who are driving transit in our County would be safe as well as we stop the spread of germs and stop the spread of this virus that is killing in in making folks ill now as we approach the surge we knew that we would also need to expand hospital capacity Prince George's counties infrastructure is new and transitioning and so we knew that there would be a great need to expand hospital bed space we knew that we would also need additional ICU space and so we want to thank the governor for for the additional beds that are open here the 135 beds and I have to tell you something that he said I loved when we talked he said you know I'm native Prince Georgian and so when I heard that we needed those beds without a second thought I said open up Laurel Hospital you know get forget let's get it open and so he was already familiar with Laurel so now we are reopening floors three four and five here at the Laurel hospital which will lessen the stress on many of our existing medical facilities as we continue this fight and I'm glad that the governor saw what we did and that is that this hospital presents for all of us a really wonderful opportunity to be able to handle the surge it is as it occurs we know that we are really still very much in the middle of this and that we are will have great need in the coming weeks to be able to care for Prince Georgians in Prince George's County and so to expand that bed space was really critically important to all of us and finally I say that as our citizens they have many many needs and we are facing so many uncertainties at this time but I am proud to say that we are a strong County that this is a strong state and with strong and compassionate leadership the governor I will and as well as all of the other leaders who are here throughout the state all of our collective efforts as a state and as a county will ensure that we will come through this stronger than we started I want to thank you again for mr.
governor for being here we want to thank you for all the accessibility the administration has been wonderful also I want to thank dr.
Santa who's been amazing for all of us and we will get through this together thank you so much [Applause] so good afternoon my name is Mohan sontha and I'm proud to serve as the president and CEO of the University of Maryland Medical system let me begin by saying governor thank you thank you for demonstrating profound leadership is we've started into this health care crisis and the way you've led us through this crisis I think is a phenomenal example of what it means to demonstrate leadership at the most at the time of greatest need County executive also Brooks you as a partner you have been a staunch advocate for the needs of the of the community of Prince George's County and together I think today what we're announcing here in Laurel I think represents the power of partnership and the power of commitment to serve the greater good it is in fact as governor tell are described a little over a month ago we got the call that said the governor would like to see us open all back up let it become a resource given the potential needs that we would be facing across the state and very specifically here in Prince George's County and so he said upon us the expectation of turning on this organization in a month's time and thanks to the passion and energy and commitment of partnership from state level to the county level to the unbelievable work force that represents the leaders at the University of Maryland Prince George's Capital Region Medical Center system we were able to accomplish that today and today represents a step forward in how we are dressing this healthcare crisis as the county executive described this allows us to expand the capacity to be able to serve the needs of citizens of the county here in the county but we also want folks to appreciate that it also provides an incredible resource to the entire state of Maryland because what we've realized here in the state is exactly what we've seen around the country and that as we look at 19 and it's incidents and what we've experienced is that the surge effect does not hit us all at once and for our health system 13 hospitals across the state of Maryland we've been able to leverage the resources that define our health system by bringing to bear human capital human resources and technology to where the need is greatest and so while that need today is here disproportionately in Prince George's County what we know is that as we get on the backside of the peak of the surge here in Prince George's County we'll be able to leverage this research resource for the for the benefit of citizens across the state of Maryland and so thank you on behalf of our entire organization I also want to recognize the unbelievable leadership of the University of Maryland Capital Region health system dr.
Joe right dr.
Trudy Hall men Godwin they have put forth an unbelievable energy and effort while serving the health care needs of the patients and the community members who are coming to us to make sure that this effort could in fact be operationalized in the timeframe that we all worked hard to accomplish so on behalf of the Health System thank you and we look forward to continuing to serve the needs of the county and of this state with that we'd be happy to take a few questions can't take a whole lot about it other than I was in a important meeting earlier but the first lady didn't go out and greet the Koreans again once again on the tarmac and they just bought some additional supplies that are gonna come in handy no one does this masts are different could you explain so the the federal guidelines that were issued last Thursday evening I think call for downward trends in the numbers particularly for hospitalizations and ICU beds and those are the things that we're looking at before you should even consider the phase one of a reopening and we are not at that point and if you look at the Maryland DC and Virginia area where we're still although we're hopeful that we're gonna start to see some numbers level off we're currently still on an upward trajectory rather than a downward trajectory part of that is because of the great work that we've done because we were early and aggressive in our efforts to you've heard a lot about flattening the curve by flattening it you also lengthen it we didn't have the spike or the high high numbers that you saw in other places but well I'm as anxious as anybody to get things open as quickly as we can and I'm concerned about the people who are not working and the small businesses but we want to do it in a safe way because we can't have an overload of our healthcare system well I am I'm hopeful and fairly confident the the group effort between all of our hospital systems our Health Department all of our local government partners that help from FEMA and everybody else I mean it's been a tremendous effort adding six thousand seven hundred hospital beds in like 40 days is a pretty unbelievable accomplishment and lowering that spike so we didn't have the huge numbers hopefully we're not going to need to use all of those but I think we're gonna be in much much better shape than some of these places where you saw people stacked up in the hallways and running out of ventilators and and not having ICU beds sure calibers helps with Jordan part of the county so that so opening this facility really helps the entire county 135 additional beds with I believe we have dr.
something how many ICU beds about 15 ICU beds as well so what this means is when are when the surge continues to occur it means that we don't have to send our patients out to jump up to Baltimore over to Washington DC this means that we have the capacity now to have med surg beds right here ICU best with ventilators right here and it means that we can serve the entire county and as you've heard we can also this is also a resource for the entire state so it expands bed capacity not only in the county but it also adds to the bed capacity for the state and so this means it as the surge happens our hospital readiness we feel pretty confident maybe some people in your own community so I so thank you I first of all I want to thank dr.
Ernest Carter in our health department they have done a heroic job of responding to this virus but one of the concerns we have is as the numbers start coming in and we collect data we realized that men in particular I have really succumbed to this virus in terms of the deaths that we've seen so for example we know that among African American men about they account for about 64% of all of our deaths we know that for white men in our County they account for about 80 percent of the deaths in that population as well as Hispanic men who account for over sixty percent of the deaths in that population and so we're very concerned that men have been waiting dr.
Carter tells me that we ought to really send home the message that if you're having symptoms do not wait because we were so distressed to learn that at least a couple of our residents died at home last week because they waited too late to seek medical treatment so we want to send the message that if you have those symptoms do not wait today we also announced that you can now text 9-1-1 if you're unable to speak you can now text 9-1-1 and we will get to you and get you the help that you need but we don't want people waiting and we're very concerned that we're seeing that some of our men are waiting too late and are at home right so what we described this morning was the early experience within our medical system and the reason we described it as early is because we recognize where we are in the peak relative to data that's come from other parts of the country with more mature experience and so the point of what we were describing today is that while we see our differences in rates of infection based on race right now we are not seeing differences based on in mortality and in hospital stay but we know that it's very early data compared to what you're seeing from around the country so we would want we would not want anybody to misunderstand that that data so I think health systems from around the state are partnering in the way we've done it to this point with state officials with County officials with local health departments to ensure that we continue to maintain a focus on the needed resources based on the incidence of the disease that were able to expand now in our communities better than we were a few weeks ago as we expand our testing capacity outside the walls of the hospital that will also allow health systems to better prepare the needed resources for what we have coming as we get on the backside of this peak yeah that's a great question that I don't really know the answer to and I'm not sure we have any any experts here that could answer the exact percentage of what we need but there's been a terrible shortage of PPE in hospitals and systems and in states across the country the federal stockpiles were depleted and that's that's improving everywhere we're getting more assistance from FEMA and we're getting more companies ramping up production we're buying things all over the world so we have things from China from Korea from companies everywhere but it's still not quite enough and hospitals are still stretched with the stuff that they need they're able to operate right now but if we have a peak we're still we're pouring stuff in real literally every day and every night and it's going out the door as fast as it's coming in so we're we're just I would say keeping up with a almost adequate supply but you know it's it's like digging in the sand we're gonna it goes in and out and we need we need more and the the president's finally utilizing defense production act to start producing swabs which is good because there's a lot there was only one company apparently in the world doing it it was in Italy and Italy you know what happened there so they weren't doing it we've had a lack of supply of things like masks which doesn't seem that complicated and 95 masks but there's they don't have them anywhere in the country so but it's getting much much better I don't have a percentage of where we are it's where we're at we're feeling much more comfortable than we were we've made huge improvements but I would say we have a long way to go let's just say that on a couple days ago when we announced that we had brought in a half a million tests from Korea and we're the only state in the America that has half a million tests and that was more than the top four of the five states in America have done in the past month and a half my phone was lighting up from every governor in America saying how do we get some of those tests I'm not sure what the answer to that question is because I think we're the only state that Korea has made an agreement with but we're gonna try to help all of our everybody get here in the state of Maryland first of all but if we can help our neighbors and all our other governor's you know find a way to help their states we're gonna do that tip thank you all very much.