ANNAPOLIS, Md. — As of March 28, Maryland reported 992 positive cases of coronavirus in the state. That's an increase of 218 cases since Friday.
All Maryland child care providers, except those serving essential personnel, are set to close by the end of the day Friday, state officials said.
“During this State of Emergency, child care programs have been established by the State to serve only designated essential personnel,” State Schools Superintendent Dr. Karen Salmon said in a news release.
The programs are being provided at no cost to designated essential personnel.
Eligible programs can be found on the Maryland State Department of Education website, or through a free referral hotline called LOCATE: 877-261-0060.
Maryland schools will be closed through April 24, Maryland State Superintendent Karen Salmon announced on Wednesday during a news conference.
- State of Emergency issued
- Daycares will close by Friday evening
- Restaurants are carry-out, drive-through or delivery only
- All non-essential businesses ordered to close
- Primary delayed until June
- Schools closed
- National Guard activated
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan asked that any Marylanders who were in New York City or the Tristate area self-quarantine for at least 14 days.
Hogan said the state requested a Presidential Disaster Declaration to help fund future efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19. The governor said several programs and community initiatives have also been put in place to help residents.
Maryland now has $4 million in federal funding to provide at-home meals to older adults during the pandemic, Hogan said. Maryland will also be the first state to provide free telephonic service to check-in calls every day for seniors to make sure they are okay.
This comes after the state reported the fourth death connected to a coronavirus diagnosis. The Maryland Department of Health says it was a Prince George's County resident in his 60s who suffered from underlying medical conditions.
Hogan has issued an executive order to close all non-essential businesses and facilities in the state to help save lives from the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. Hogan said his decision to shut down businesses is in an effort to limit day-to-day interactions and to encourage social distancing.
The types of businesses that will stay open include health care, food, energy, public works, defense, law enforcement, transportation, financial services, water, and waste.
A shelter in place won't be put in effect in Maryland, and people won't be forced to stay home, but Hogan encouraged residents not to leave home unless they have an essential reason.
Maryland has launched efforts to support small businesses through the coronavirus pandemic. Hogan announced several state-funded programs aimed at helping unemployed residents and business owners trying to retain their employees and keep their businesses afloat, including a $175 million business relief program, a COVID-19 Aversion Plan, a $50-million relief grant fund, and a $5 million fund to businesses that provide masks or essential tools for health workers.
The state received designation from the U.S. Small Business Administration for its Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, which provides low-interest federal disaster loans for small businesses impacted by the coronavirus. Businesses can apply here.
All public transportation is being shut down to all except essential workers. The Maryland Department of Transportation is now restricting to the BWI Terminal to only ticketed passengers and airport employees, Hogan said.
"I ask that we continue to pray for each other, for our state, and for our nation as we face this crisis together," Hogan said in a statement. "We must use every possible resource at every level of government to save lives and keep people safe."
Hogan's executive order allows trucks to exceed their weight limit to better provide supplies to affected areas.
Hogan also postponed the upcoming April 28 primary until June 2 in response to the coronavirus. The state said they expect to come up with a plan for the primary by April 3, Hogan said. However, the special election to fill the late Rep. Elijah Cummings' seat is still moving forward as planned.
Hogan shared plans to re-purpose vehicle emissions sites as coronavirus testing sites. He also continued to urge residents to avoid unnecessary travel, stay home if they feel sick, and share with neighbors to cut down on panic buying.
Ocean City has also been shut down its beach and boardwalk to help contribute to social distancing and preventing the spread of the deadly virus.
The state plans to continue to follow all CDC guidelines of prohibiting any social events over 10 people.
Should the need require it, the measures are going to be strictly enforced with the help of 250 Maryland State troopers ready for deployment, Hogan said.
"We can't afford to wait to take actions," Hogan said. "If we do not take them today, it will be too late."
The governor has already activated 400 Army and Air National Guard members, with a total of 1,000 National Guards activated and 1,200 members ready to be activated.
Hogan also signed an Executive Order to conduct the assessment to open closed hospitals and to provide 6,000 additional beds to meet the demand for the potential of hospital overcrowding. Hogan hopes at least 1,400 beds will be made available by early April.
A force of 5,000 Maryland Medical Reserve Corps members are also activated. Any practitioner with a valid license from another state, or an expired Maryland license are able to practice during this time, Hogan said.
"We know many individuals will be out of work and state and federal leaders are working to figure it out," Hogan said.
During the State of Emergency, electrical, gas, water, cable, and telephone companies are prohibited from issuing late fees to Maryland residents. Evictions of any tenants are also prohibited. Grocery stores, pharmacies and essential stores must remain open, Hogan said.
The state is providing three meals a day and a snack to students who need it while schools are closed. There are 138 distribution centers open.
Maryland state employees are also required to telework due to coronavirus and access to state buildings, including the State House, which are restricted.
There are now 22 Maryland counties out of the 24 that have reported positive coronavirus cases. Of the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Mayland, about 51 percent of people are between 20 to 50 years old. Hogan said the majority of the residents in our state testing positive for COVID-19 are in their 40s.
An infant as young as 10 months old has been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Maryland.
Montgomery County has reported the most cases in the state, with 30% of the total falling in that area.
Five deaths have been reported in the state. Those came from residents of Anne Arundel, Prince George's, Montgomery and Baltimore counties. Three people in their 60s, a woman in her 40s and a man in his 80s died after being diagnosed with the coronavirus.
What precautions should you take?
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are unavailable.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Check the status of the virus in your state with your state health department's websites by tapping below: