A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket carrying a Cygnus resupply spacecraft is raised into the vertical position on the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad-0A, Saturday, September 26, 2020, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

Salisbury Daily Times

ANNAPOLIS—Some Maryland nursing homes can begin allowing indoor visitation for the first time in months, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Thursday.

Nursing homes largely closed to visitors earlier this year to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Now, nursing homes that do not have an active COVID-19 outbreak or any recent cases can begin allowing indoor visitation, Hogan said at a news conference in Annapolis.

Kevin Heffner, the president of the LifeSpan Network, which represents nearly 300 senior care providers in the region, said the news will come as a relief to nursing homes and their residents.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced that all of the state’s school systems met safety standards to reopen for some in-person instruction during a news conference on Aug. 27. (Photo: Brian Witte, AP)

“I think providers are excited and have been wanting to be able to allow residents to visit with family members,” Heffner said. “I think the mental health toll has been enormous.”

Even with strict measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the virus devastated nursing homes and sickened the vulnerable residents who lived there.

Nursing homes accounted for more than half of the state’s COVID-19 deaths.

But deaths at those facilities have slowed since the height of the pandemic, and nursing homes have been anxious to resume indoor visitation.

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“Our members and providers across the state are eager to see residents and their loved ones reunited,” said Allison Ciborowski, the president of LeadingAge Maryland, a network of not-for-profit providers.

“We’ve all been wanting additional flexibility,” she said.

Also on Thursday, Karen Salmon, Maryland’s state superintendent of schools, announced that child care centers across Maryland can resume working at the capacities for which they were licensed. They had been working at reduced capacity because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Karen Salmon, Maryland’s state superintendent of schools, speaks at a news conference in Annapolis, on Aug. 27. (Photo: Brian Witte, AP)

Salmon said very few COVID-19 cases have been linked to child care providers.

“Hopefully this action will assist in limiting the many unregulated and illegal child care operations that have sprung up in recent months as ‘pandemic pods,’ ” Salmon said.

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She and Hogan previously pushed for school districts across Maryland to hasten in-person learning for school-age children. Hogan said in August that the state’s health metrics were positive enough that all districts could hold some learning in-person.

All 24 school districts have since provided plans that incorporate some in-person learning in addition to virtual learning, Hogan said.

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