Apr 20, 2020 - Health

Maryland to receive 500,000 coronavirus tests from South Korea

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Monday that South Korea is sending the state 5,000 coronavirus kits, which can be made into 500,000 tests, the Baltimore Sun reports.

Why it matters: A lack of reliable testing supplies has hindered efforts to understand how widespread the virus is both in Maryland and across the country. Increasing testing is also a key requirement states must reach before they can relax stay-at-home orders.

  • South Korea's mass testing program has received accolades around the world — and resulted in a significant flattening of the curve of infections there.
  • Yumi Hogan, the governor's wife, was born in South Korea and took part in the deal, calling the country's ambassador to the U.S.

The big picture: Maryland currently has a stay-at-home order in effect, mandating the closure of nonessential businesses and a shutdown of public schools until at least May 15.

  • Maryland has so far conducted 71,397 tests for its population of around 6 million, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
  • Hogan plans to increase testing, expand hospital capacity, strengthen the supply of personal protective equipment, and build a contact-tracing operation to track down people exposed to patients with the virus before relaxing any restrictions, according to the Sun.

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