(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Congressman Jamie Raskin joined members of the Maryland delegation, including U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger, John P. Sarbanes, Kweisi Mfume, Anthony G. Brown, and David Trone (all D-Md.), in urging Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to publicly release his plan on Maryland COVID-19 testing, which he is required to submit tomorrow to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As the members note in their letter, Maryland is receiving $205 million in federal funding to support testing efforts from the Congressionally-passed Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. This legislation, signed into law on April 24, 2020, requires all states utilizing the funding to submit a testing plan to the CDC.
“We are pleased that the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, signed into law on April 24, 2020, included $11 billion for states, localities, territories, and tribes for necessary expenses to develop, purchase, administer, process, and analyze COVID-19 tests. The State of Maryland is receiving approximately $205 million from this funding. As you are aware, each state receiving funds must submit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) its plan for COVID-19 testing, including goals for the remainder of calendar year 2020,” the Members begin.
They underscore, “As part of this plan, we urge you to outline how you will target testing resources to the hardest hit communities in Maryland, particularly communities of color that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Additionally, we urge you to make your plan submission public so Marylanders have a full understanding of the State’s testing goals and how these federal resources will be put to use.”
They go on to note the requirements of the plan, including an outline of month-by-month figures on the numbers of tests needed and estimates of testing capacity. They note, “While the State is making progress to expand testing capacity, we are still hearing from localities that more testing capacity is needed, which will be particularly important as the state continues to move forward with reopening.”
The Members once again stress the need for a plan to help the communities that have been hit the hardest, stating, “We are also still seeing disturbing racial and ethnic disparities in our state’s COVID-19 infection and mortality rates, which we believe necessitates an aggressive, targeted strategy… The $205 million in federal funds provide our state with important resources to develop a comprehensive testing strategy to address this serious problem.”
The full text of the letter is available here.