Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announces the first confirmed cases of the disease in Maryland.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced the first three confirmed cases of coronavirus in Maryland. In a press conference late Thursday, March 5, Hogan stated that all three patients reside in Montgomery County and are quarantined in their homes despite being in good condition. While the identities of the three people were not shared, it is known that the cases include a couple in their 70s and another individual in their 50s. Hogan also declared a state of emergency for Maryland in order to increase funding for the Department of Health.
The three patients were all recently outside of the country on the same group trip and returned to Maryland on Feb. 20. "A specialized team of disease investigators are working in Montgomery County with these individuals. We want to understand where they went and who they interacted with during the period of time when they returned from travel and when they started showing symptoms," deputy secretary for public health services for the state Frances Frost said.
According to Hogan, local school districts have been advised to close by the Maryland Department of Education, if necessary. MCPS will hold a press conference on Friday morning to discuss their guidelines for closing schools.
UPDATE (3/5/20,10:49 p.m.): In a statement released to the MCPS community, county officials say all schools will remain open. Full statement:
UPDATE (3/6/20, 6:35 p.m.): One patient who tested positive for coronavirus attended a public event on Feb. 29 at the Village at Rockville, a retirement community where they were in contact with 70 to 100 individuals. Gov. Hogan added, "Due to the scale of this gathering, we are urging anyone who attended the event between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. to immediately contact their health care provider."
UPDATE (3/12/20, 6:05 p.m.): In a press conference this afternoon, Gov. Hogan and Maryland Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen Salmon announced that Maryland schools will close from Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 27 in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 in local communities. Salmon recommended school districts to use their spring breaks as make-up days. The announcement came after a Prince George's County man tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday, making him the first known case in Maryland of community transmission. There are currently 12 people in the state who have tested positive for the virus, with 6 cases in Montgomery County.
In addition, all gatherings of more than 250 people have been prohibited and visits to hospitals will be minimized. A full list of actions Maryland has taken to limit the spread of COVID-19 can be found here. "For Marylanders, the actions that I have announced here today will be disruptive to your everyday lives. And they may sound extreme, and they may sound frightening. These steps could be the difference in saving lives and keeping people safe," Hogan said.
UPDATE (3/25/20,12:01 p.m.): All Maryland public schools will be closed another four weeks through April 24. MCPS will implement a distance learning program starting March 30. Child care facilities may remain open at this time and the state is looking hard at affordable child care options for essential personnel. State Superintendent Dr. Karen Salmon said there is no certainty as to when schools will reopen. Salmon adds that the state may look into extending the school year if necessary.
Maryland currently has 2,400 available hospital beds putting them weeks ahead of schedule. In addition, Hogan is directing the Maryland Department of Health to allow medical students to staff clinics and hospitals. According to Mike Ricci, director of communications for the Governor, 217 of Maryland's confirmed COVID-19 cases are between the ages of 20-50. That's nearly half of the state's total cases. All Marylanders, no matter their age, should be taking this threat very seriously.
This is a fluid story and updates will be added when available.
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