WASHINGTON — The Maryland National Guard and state police officers are currently guarding a shipment of 500,000 South Korean coronavirus tests to prevent the federal government from taking them, Governor Larry Hogan told the Washington Post on Thursday.
Hogan was asked about what the state was doing to protect the tests by Post reporter Robert Costa during a live interview.
The governor said the state took a number of measures to protect the shipment, including having the plane land at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, where it was met by a contingent of the Maryland State Police and National Guard.
“It was like Fort Knox to us,” Hogan said.
Hogan spokeswoman Shareese DeLeaver-Churchill told WUSA9 in an email that “the experience other states were having was instructive to Maryland as we were working on acquiring tests.” DeLeaver-Churchill specifically mentioned reports of the federal government confiscating a shipment of masks from Massachusetts, which Hogan also mentioned in his interview.
The Associated Press reported earlier this month that Massachusetts eventually turned to Patriots owner Robert Kraft to help the state secure masks for front-line health workers after a shipment of 3 million masks was confiscated at the Port of New York. Massachusetts officials have said they believe the confiscated masks were taken by the federal government and added to the national stockpile.
Massachusetts isn’t the only state to report PPE and other items being confiscated by the federal government. In Florida, PBS-affiliate WLRN reported last week that the feds seized a shipment of 1 million N95 masks intended for Miami-Dade County firefighters.
Other states have reported that when they’ve received supplies from the federal government, they’ve been unusable. In Montgomery County, Alabama, for instance, the Associated Press reported that more than 5,000 medical masks received from the national stockpile were rotted and had been expired for a decade.
Hogan told the Post that the Maryland National Guard and state police officers are continuing to guard the South Korean coronavirus tests at an “undisclosed location.”