An increase in positive coronavirus cases in Maryland is directly tied to bars and non-compliance with public health requirements. That’s according to Gov. Larry Hogan.
During a Wednesday (July 15) press conference, Hogan said while key metrics are trending in the right direction, there’s a rise in the number of young people who are testing positive for the virus.
Positive cases among people under the age of 35 are at 6.47%. That’s 83% higher than the rate for those ages 35 and up.
Hogan is encouraging people to avoid crowded bars and large gatherings of any kind. He wants local leaders to do the same.
“Yesterday I sent a letter to county leaders urging them to enforce the health requirements in bars and restaurants across the state, reminding them that it was the responsibility of their local health departments, local liquor boards and inspectors and local law enforcement agencies to work together to actively and aggressively enforce these critical public health measures,” he said.
Marylanders are also urged to not travel out-of-state as other states see spikes in coronavirus cases.
“We’re also advising that Marylanders refrain from traveling to areas that are experiencing rapidly escalating numbers,” Hogan said. “Any Marylander who is traveling to or is returning from travel out-of-state, especially from those states that are experiencing spiking numbers, should get tested.”
There have been conversations brewing about actions for the fall when schools usually open up. Hogan said he and State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen Salmon will speak next week to give an update on where Maryland stands on reopening schools.
“We all want our children to get back to school as soon as possible, but only if and when we can do it in a way that keeps our students and our teachers safe,” Gov. Hogan said.
Hogan also reported an uncovering of a “massive criminal enterprise” involving over 47,500 fraudulent claims totaling over $501 million. It happened after the Maryland Department of Labor detected an “unusual increase” in out-of-state Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims over the July 4th weekend.
“This criminal enterprise, seeking to take advantage of a global pandemic to steal hundreds of millions, perhaps billions of dollars from taxpayers is despicable,” Gov. Hogan said. “And we will continue to work with both the U.S. Attorney and the Department of Labor Office of the Inspector General on this ongoing investigation, both here in Maryland and in other states across the country to do whatever it takes to ensure that the perpetrators are apprehended and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, detecting and stopping this fraud ensures that money remains available in these funds for the tens of millions of deserving people all across America who actually need the help.”
The Maryland Department of Labor has not experienced any breach of the state’s unemployment insurance system.
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