Top Maryland Democrats say the Hogan administration is ignoring their coronavirus-related health questions as the Republican governor begins reopening parts of the state.
At a virtual meeting of the Maryland legislature’s COVID-19 task force Wednesday, prominent lawmakers expressed frustration with Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration failing to make state health officials available for questioning.
“We have repeatedly asked for their attendance,” said House of Delegates Speaker Adrienne A. Jones, who added state health officials have cancelled on lawmakers four times.
Mike Ricci, a spokesman for Hogan, said the administration is “reviewing the various letters we have received from our legislators" in recent weeks.
“We remain committed to staying above the politics, and doing everything we can to find and fight the virus, from our expanded testing strategy to a robust contact tracing partnership with local officials,” Ricci added.
Meanwhile, local health officials said the Hogan administration is supplying tests and testing equipment for use for first responders and nursing homes
Maryland Policy & Politics Newsletter
Keep up to date with Maryland politics, elections and important decisions made by federal, state and local government officials.
Howard County Health Office Maura J. Rossman agreed: “I don’t know where they came from Korea or elsewhere. We’re just grateful to have them.”
Rossman said she agreed that it made sense to reopen some parts of the state before others, noting that while some areas of Maryland have thousands of infections and hundreds of deaths, others have barely been touched.
Garrett County, for instance, reports just seven confirmed cases and zero deaths.
“What happens in Garrett County is very different than Howard County. We do need to be respectful there are differences regionally,” she said. “This pandemic is going to be around for quite a few more months. It’s not going to go away for some time. That is what we all need to communicate as we reopen.”