Maryland reopens federal unemployment programs, will issue payments this week

Maryland has begun accepting applications and issuing payments for two federal unemployment programs that were recently extended under the new stimulus package, meaning claimants should be able to get benefits without payment delays or eligibility gaps. The state Department of Labor reopened the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Unemployment Emergency Compensation (PEUC) programs as part of a soft launch on Sunday, one week after President Donald J. Trump signed into law a $900 billion stimulus package that extends the programs until mid-March. (Balt Bus Journal)

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Partnership Between The Baltimore Station, Hotel Keeps Services Going For Veterans In Need Despite COVID-19 Pandemic

The Baltimore Station, an organization that helps rehabilitate homeless veterans who have substance abuse or mental health issues, continued to operate through the COVID-19 pandemic thanks largely in part to a local hotel. The group provides inpatient service using a cohabitating living environment not ideal during the pandemic. Now, all of the residents have their own room and bathroom and a new place to meet for treatment at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. (WJZ-TV)

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Chesapeake Bay Receives D+ for Second Year in a Row

The health of the Chesapeake Bay remains poor, due in part to insufficient management of the Bay’s rockfish population, according to a recent report by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Out of the 13 health indicators, the rockfish score alone declined by 17 points, which is “the largest decline in any indicator in more than a decade,” the foundation said in its report, which was released Tuesday. (Md Matters)

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Maryland awards over $9 million in tax credits to revitalize historical buildings

Maryland has awarded more than $9 million in tax credits to revitalize and preserve historic buildings. After fielding requests from 11 applicants, the Maryland Historical Trust selected seven projects across the state to receive 2021 tax credits for historical building rehabilitations. Three are located in Baltimore, two in Dorchester County and one each in Frederick and Washington counties. (WTO)

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Maryland coronavirus positivity rate highest since June

Maryland's seven-day coronavirus positivity rate is at its highest since June 2. The 9.47% rate is a lagging indicator of coronavirus spread potentially tied to Christmas travel. Though passenger numbers overall cratered compared to 2019, Transportation Security Administration officials said passenger counts rose in the period between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. The days before and after Christmas saw more activity at checkpoints nationwide than on any day since the outbreak hit the U.S. in mid-March. (WBAL)

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COVID In Maryland: State Positivity Rate Continues To Climb Above 9%, Hospitalizations Rising; Vaccination Rate Just Over 1% Of Population

Maryland’s positivity rate continues to climb as over 2,400 new cases and 33 new COVID-19 related deaths are reported Monday morning, state health officials say. A total of 2,483 new cases were added to the state, bringing the total number to 287,802 since the pandemic began. There have now been 5,859 Marylanders who have died from the virus. Hospitalizations went up by 42, now at 1,751. Of those, 418 are in ICU beds and 1,333 are in acute care. The statewide positivity rate went up 0.32%, now at 9.47%. (WJZ)

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Md. Health Connection again extends special enrollment period

Maryland Health Connection is once again extending its special enrollment period, which initially began in March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Larry Hogan and the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange announced on Monday. Effective immediately, all uninsured Marylanders will have the opportunity to enroll in a private health plan through March 15.  (Daily Record)

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Baltimore County Eliminates Home Monitoring Fees For Pre-Trial, Sentenced Individuals

Baltimore County is eliminating the home-monitoring fees charged to pre-trial and sentenced individuals. Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said the elimination went into effect January 1, 2021. He said “This is an issue of simple fairness. Individuals on home detention, most of whom are individuals not convicted and awaiting adjudication of non-violent crime charges, should not have to face additional financial burdens,” Olszewski said. “Expensive home monitoring fees create unnecessary impediments, and the elimination of home monitoring fees will better allow these residents to support themselves and their families.” (WJZ)

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