Baltimore COVID-19 News Updates from Independent & Regional Media 4/30

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This week’s news includes: Remembering Freddie Gray and the 2015 uprising, infection numbers at area nursing homes released, the relentlessness of medical debt collection during  COVID-19, and more reporting from the Baltimore Fishbowl, Maryland Matters, Baltimore Business Journal, WYPR, and others.



photo by Stephen Babcock (2015) from his article

After The Uprising: Six Views On What’s Changed In Five Years
by Tom Hall, Cianna B. Greaves, Kathleen Cahill, and Rob Sivak
Published April 27 in WYPR’s Midday

Excerpt: On this special edition of Midday, six reflections on the April 27, 2015 Uprising, and how the community at the epicenter of that unrest—Sandtown-Winchester—has fared since a 25-year old black man named Freddie Gray died from injuries he sustained while in police custody.  At the heart of the protests and the rioting that erupted after Gray’s funeral: anger and frustration with a system steeped in racism, inequity and apathy; and a police force that operated with seeming impunity.

related articles:

Freddie Gray, Five Years Later
by Justine Barron
Published April 23 in The Appeal

5 years later, reflections on the Baltimore Uprising in another crisis moment
by Stephen Babcock
Published April 27 in Baltimore


Keith has severe respiratory issues and he is in a cell with a steel door where if he is in any distress, just on a regular day not being able to breathe, the guard is very far and they would have to find the keys to open his door.
Kelly Davis, wife of Keith Davis, Jr.
Photo illustration by Elizabeth Brown. Photo by Getty Images.

Shot by police, then convicted in a murder he says he didn’t commit. Now he’s facing COVID-19 behind bars.
by Brandon Soderberg
Published April 29 in The Appeal

Excerpt: Kelly Davis feels helpless. She worries about her husband, Keith Davis Jr., who is incarcerated at the Maryland Reception, Diagnostic and Classification Center. As of Sunday, there have been a total of 29 cases of COVID-19 (two incarcerated people and 27 employees) at the MRDCC, according to the Maryland Department of Corrections.

Although her fears about Keith are new, Kelly has been a fearless advocate for Keith and his highly unusual case for nearly five years. In 2015, Keith was shot by Baltimore police officers, then later charged in an unrelated murder and tried four times. Last year, Keith was convicted of second-degree murder.  At Keith’s sentencing in March, he was hit with a 50-year prison term. Now he says he is especially vulnerable to COVID-19 at MRDCC because he has respiratory issues stemming from when the police shot him.


Kweisi Mfume (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Mfume Headed Back to Hill, But No One Knows When
by Josh Kurtz
Published April 29 in Maryland Matters

Excerpt: Mfume appeared well on the way to a resounding victory Tuesday in the special election to replace the late Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D) in Maryland’s 7th congressional district. As of 8:08 p.m., when the first and only results of the night were released, Mfume had 78,887 votes, for 72.5%, while conservative commentator Kimberly Klacik (R) had 28,853 votes, for 26.5%.

Ten minutes later, the Associated Press declared Mfume the winner. A final vote tally won’t be available for several days, because the overwhelming majority of ballots were cast by mail — a first for Maryland and a possible harbinger of things to come in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.


I’m out working, busting my butt, and they’re going to take my money.
Cheri Long
Johns Hopkins continued to aggressively pursue unpaid medical debts during the coronavirus pandemic. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

One Thing the Pandemic Hasn’t Stopped: Aggressive Medical-Debt Collection
by Alec MacGillis
Published April 28 in ProPublica

Excerpt: U.S. hospitals are in the spotlight for being on the frontline of fighting the pandemic. But in the shadows, debt collection operations continue, often by the same institutions treating coronavirus patients, all while unemployment and uncertainty soar.


Dr. Letitia Dzirasa is Baltimore City’s health commissioner, and is helping to lead the city’s public health response to COVID-19.

Here’s how Baltimore, Hopkins, UMMS and CareFirst are fighting Covid-19 with data
by Morgan Eichensehr
Published April 28 in Baltimore Business Journal

Excerpt: Baltimore is tracking additional data around medical equipment, intensive care bed availability and more at the city’s 11 hospitals.


City Council President Brandon M. Scott

Scott Introduces Bill To Bar Rent Hikes During COVID-19 Emergency
by Tyler Waldman
Published April 28 in WBAL NewsRadio 1090 and FM 101.5

Excerpt: At Monday’s Baltimore City Council meeting, City Council President Brandon M. Scott introduced a bill that would prohibit landlords from raising rent until 90 days after the COVID-19 state of emergency is lifted.

“Residents across Baltimore pay rent. During a global health and economic emergency unlike anything we’ve experienced before, and when so many don’t know where they will get their next paycheck, no one should be facing the added stress of a rent increase,” Scott said in a statement.


The Keswick Multi-Care Center in Baltimore, which has had 12 Covid-19 cases and three deaths, state health officials say. (Fern Shen)

First comprehensive data on coronavirus cases and deaths in Maryland nursing homes
by Mark Reuter + Fern Shen
Published April 29 in Baltimore Brew

Excerpt: This dataset reflects congregate living facilities in Maryland (nursing homes, assisted living facilities and group homes with 10 or more occupants) that have confirmed Covid-19 cases and deaths. It shows while the number of Covid-19 cases reported at nursing home (4,370) constitute 22% of the state’s current total cases (20,113).


The Baltimore County Courthouse. Photo by James G. Howes, via Wikipedia.

CCBC to train contact tracers; Baltimore County to offer grants for small businesses and artists
by Marcus Dieterle
Published April 28 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt:  Baltimore County has partnered with the Community College of Baltimore County to train people to train contact tracers, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. announced Tuesday.

Contact tracers track coronavirus transmission by investigating with whom COVID-19 patients came into contact. Once identified, those contacts may then be tested for COVID-19.

Building up Maryland’s contact tracing operation is one of the necessary steps for tracking and limiting the spread of coronavirus. While unveiling his “Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery” plan last Friday, Gov. Larry Hogan said so far the state has quadrupled its ability, employing 1,000 contact tracers.



Image from Gov. Larry Hogan’s twitter account

FDA yet to review Maryland’s coronavirus tests procured from South Korea
by Jayne Miller
Published April 28 in WBAL TV 11

Excerpt: There are new questions about the coronavirus tests Maryland procured from South Korea and their status with the Food and Drug Administration. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan touted what he called a secret deal with a company in South Korea to acquire badly needed coronavirus test kits. The question now has become, will the state allow the tests to be used without review by the FDA?


Guinness Open Gate Brewery

Guinness Lovers Can Now Support the Maryland Food Bank by Picking Up Beer
by Lauren Cohen + Emily Kunisch
Published April 27 in Baltimore Magazine

Excerpt: Guinness has found a way to continue its partnership with the food bank in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Though the brewery closed its doors just after cancelling its annual St. Patrick’s Day festivities in mid-March, it just recently launched curbside beer sales, of which all proceeds will be donated to the Maryland Food Bank’s coronavirus response efforts.


header image: (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky File)

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Baltimore news updates from independent & regional media

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