ANNAPOLIS, MD — Gov. Larry Hogan on Monday ordered closures he described as "unprecedented" to protect the safety of people in Maryland from the spread of the new coronavirus. He said the measures were "absolutely necessary to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans."
Hogan ordered the closure of bars, restaurants, movie theaters and gyms across the state, effective at 5 p.m. Monday.
Drive-thru, carryout and food delivery service can continue at restaurants.
It was one of several measures he announced by executive order Monday.
Essential services such as gas stations, banks and grocery stores will remain open, Hogan said.
Any social, community, religious, sports gathering event with more than 50 people is prohibited, and he warned that violators will be prosecuted.
"Far too many people have continued to ignore those warnings and are crowding into bars and restaurants, willingly putting" the safety of others "into grave danger," Hogan said.
"While these measures may seem extreme, if we do not take them now, it could be too late," Hogan said, stating these measures would save the lives of thousands of Marylanders.
He ordered health officials to open closed hospitals across the state to increase the state's capacity by 6,000 beds to meet the demand, and activated the Maryland Medical Reserve Corps, with 700 members active and ready to deploy. There are 250 state police ready to deploy in addition to hundreds of National Guardsmen ready as well.
Currently, there are 9,000 beds available for acute care, Deputy Health Secretary Fran Phillips said at a news conference Monday morning. "We are close to needing a doubling of our current capacity," she said.
Utility companies across the state have been ordered not to shut off any customers during the state of emergency, according to Hogan. Water, sewer, gas, electric, phone and internet service may not be shut off during the state emergency. The eviction of any tenant is prohibited as well.
Nine passengers aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship will arrive back in Maryland on Monday, and those residents will be in the care of the National Guard, Hogan said.
"It is impossible to know how long this threat will continue," Hogan said. "Every single one of us needs ... to do our part to stop this deadly virus from spreading."
It is going to "be much worse than anyone is currently understanding," Hogan said. "We have never faced anything like this before."
Hogan's order Monday came shortly after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance that gatherings of 50 or more should be canceled or postponed and that people age 60 and over should avoid crowds altogether.
Governors in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut jointly announced the closure of bars, sit-down restaurants, movie theaters and gyms effective 8 p.m. Monday as well.
Over the weekend, Hogan ordered Maryland's five casinos and the state's racetracks to close to stem the coronavirus spread. They are to remain closed until further notice.
In Maryland, 37 people have tested positive for the new coronavirus as of Monday morning, according to state health data, with six people having tested positive for the illness since Sunday morning. The state is updating its new coronavirus count each day at 10 a.m. Hogan warned that the number of cases was expected to rise rapidly.
Once Maryland reported its first case of community transmission, the governor on Thursday ordered all gatherings of 250 people or more to be canceled, one of a series of actions statewide to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. Community transmission means the illness has spread without the person knowing how or where they became infected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Before community transmission, cases of those with the new coronavirus had been linked to travel or exposure to someone with COVID-19.
Hogan said he wants to "take every precaution to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our state," as he announced the two-week closure of public schools starting Monday and the activation of the National Guard, among other measures.
People can visit the Maryland Department of Health's coronavirus page or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's coronavirus disease situation summary for additional information.
Posted 6:00 a.m. 3-12-2020
UPDATE: Governor Hogan Announces New Cases of COVID-19 in Maryland, Additional Actions
Motor Vehicle Administration, State Correctional Facilities to Initiate New Protocols to Keep Marylanders Safe
ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan announced three additional confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in Maryland:
A Montgomery County resident in his 20s who recently traveled to Spain, and is not hospitalized.
A Baltimore County resident in his 60s who worked at the recent American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference in Washington, DC, and is not hospitalized.
A Prince George’s County resident in his 60s whose travel history is under investigation, and is currently hospitalized.
The State of Maryland now has 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) has notified local officials regarding these cases and begun investigating potential exposure risk to the community.
**Governor Hogan is postponing his National Governors Association (NGA) State of the States Address, scheduled for this afternoon in Washington, DC in order to continue managing the crisis from Annapolis.
Additional State Actions to Keep Marylanders Safe
Earlier today at the CHART State Operations Command Center in Hanover, Governor Larry Hogan provided additional updates on the State of Maryland’s ongoing response to COVID-19.
“Marylanders should be taking this pandemic very seriously,” said Governor Hogan. “All Marylanders need to understand that there may be significant disruption to your everyday lives for a period of time. We will continue tracking this and will be receiving and providing Marylanders with almost constant, up-to-the-minute information. I want to continue to assure Marylanders that our state is taking every precaution when it comes to the coronavirus, because our highest priority is keeping our residents safe.”
Earlier today, the governor announced that a Montana resident visiting Anne Arundel County has tested positive for COVID-19. While this will be classified as a Montana case, the Maryland and Anne Arundel County Health Departments are taking the lead on the investigation.
The governor also announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is requesting that Marylanders onboard the “Grand Princess” who are not showing symptoms return to the State of Maryland. The U.S. citizens on that ship are in the process of being transported to military bases for examination and to be quarantined. The state has informed HHS that they must test all 12 of these passengers for COVID-19. All who are cleared will be safely transported back to Maryland.
The administration has also been informed that a volunteer first responder in Montgomery County, a Virginia resident, has tested positive for COVID-19. This case is tied to the rector of Christ Church in Washington, DC, so the State of Maryland is coordinating this investigation with the Virginia and Washington, DC health departments. Maryland’s chief epidemiologist has cleared the firehouse where the first responder works and has no major concerns regarding potential exposure risk to the community.
New Actions from State Agencies
The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services is discontinuing visits for individuals currently in infirmaries, reducing programs and movement within facilities, providing more video visitation opportunities, and requiring staff who exhibit flu-like symptoms to remain home.
The Maryland Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Administration will immediately begin moving toward an all-appointments system for all transactions in order to eliminate walk-ins, reduce foot traffic, and keep crowds to a minimum.
The Maryland Health Benefits Exchange is working to establish a special enrollment period through Maryland Health Connection specifically for the coronavirus.
All Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs facilities, including the Charlotte’s Hall Veterans Home, have been directed to adhere to the same guidance Governor Hogan announced yesterday for long-term care facilities, including prohibiting staff from international travel.
Today, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic. The State of Maryland is continuing to operate under a state of emergency, and all levels of government are taking a comprehensive, collaborative approach to keep Marylanders safe. The list of ongoing state actions is available at governor.maryland.gov/coronavirus.
For health resources regarding COVID-19, including case counts and clinician guidance, Marylanders should visit health.maryland.gov/coronavirus.
Posted 5:50 a.m. 3-11-2020
Governor Hogan Announces Ninth Positive Case of COVID-19 in Maryland, Issues New Guidance for Long-Term Care Facilities
Convenes Emergency Cabinet Meeting to Review Administration’s Ongoing Response to Novel Coronavirus
ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan today convened an emergency meeting of the Maryland Governor’s Executive Council (Cabinet) to review the state’s ongoing response to novel coronavirus. At the start of the Cabinet meeting, which lasted nearly two hours, the governor announced new guidance for long-term care facilities to help protect older people and limit the spread of COVID-19.
State officials have identified the ninth positive confirmed case of COVID-19 in Maryland. It is a Montgomery County resident—a woman in her 60s—who contracted the virus while traveling overseas. She is not hospitalized and is in good condition. This case is connected to the same Egyptian cruise ship as five of the state’s previous positive cases. The State of Maryland now has five confirmed positive cases in Montgomery County, three positive cases in Prince George’s County, and one positive case in Harford County.
“This problem continues to evolve and to escalate rapidly,” said Governor Hogan. “I am fully committed to being transparent, providing the facts, keeping Marylanders informed, taking actions based on detailed planning, and making decisions based on the facts on the ground.”
“Older people and those with underlying health conditions are much more vulnerable and at a significantly higher risk of contracting this disease,” said Governor Hogan. “Nursing homes and retirement communities are the areas of greatest concern. This truly is an all-hands-on-deck operation and it is going to get worse before it gets better.”
Older people and those with underlying health conditions are at a significantly higher risk from COVID-19, with morbidity and mortality rates that are three to five times higher than most flu seasons. Governor Hogan announced that the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) is issuing new guidance for facilities that serve older people:
Restrict access to essential visits only.
Restrict activities and visitors with potential for exposure.
Actively screen individuals entering the building and restrict entry to those with respiratory symptoms or possible exposure to COVID-19.
Require all individuals entering the building to wash their hands at entry.
Establish processes to allow remote communication for residents and others.
Prohibit all staff from international travel.
Read the Health Department’s guidance to facilities that serve older people here.
New Guidance from the University System of Maryland. Governor Hogan also spoke today with Chancellor Jay Perman of the University System of Maryland, which recently released guidelines for all their state universities and colleges. As part of these guidelines, the higher education community has been asked to prepare for students to remain off-campus at least two weeks following the end of spring break. Additionally, students should be prepared to continue all courses online, although all campuses will remain open both before and after spring break.
New Hogan Administration Coronavirus Webpage. Maryland is currently operating under a state of emergency, and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has elevated its state response activation level. At the governor’s direction, state agencies have ramped up response and preparedness effort across all levels of government. He has also issued a directive requiring state health carriers to waive all cost-sharing regarding testing for COVID-19.
This afternoon, Governor Hogan launched a new web page, governor.maryland.gov/coronavirus, which details the administration’s ongoing response to COVID-19. For health resources regarding COVID-19, including case counts and clinician guidance, Marylanders should continue to visit health.maryland.gov/coronavirus.
Posted 4:53 a.m. 3-10-2020
Governor Hogan Announces Sixth Positive Case of Coronavirus in Maryland
Will Meet With Full Cabinet, Long-Term Community Leaders Today
ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan today announced that state officials have identified an additional case of novel coronavirus in the State of Maryland. The state’s sixth confirmed case is a Prince George’s County resident who contracted the virus during out-of-state travel.
According to an initial investigation by the Maryland Department of Health (MDH), there appear to be no major concerns over exposure risk to the community and there is no connection to the previous positive cases. MDH has notified Prince George’s County officials. This is the county’s first confirmed case.
“With the confirmation of a sixth case of novel coronavirus in our state, I want to again assure Marylanders that all levels of government are working together to respond to the COVID-19 threat in a cooperative and coordinated manner,” said Governor Hogan. “We remain committed to bringing the full resources of state government to bear in order to protect our citizens and mitigate the spread of this virus.”
Earlier today, Governor Hogan signed emergency legislation granting him the authority to tap into the state’s rainy day fund, announced the formation of a Coronavirus Response Team that will advise the administration on important health and emergency management decisions as this situation continues to evolve, and announced new guidance for state employees that includes suspending all business-related out-of-state travel. Watch the video of today’s press conference.
Today, Governor Hogan will convene a meeting of his full Cabinet to discuss Maryland’s government-wide response to COVID-19. Additionally, he will meet with representatives of the long-term care community to ensure that the necessary precautions are being taken to protect residents of nursing homes and retirement communities.
Maryland is currently operating under a state of emergency, and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has elevated its state response activation level. At the governor’s direction, state agencies have ramped up response and preparedness efforts across all levels of government. He has also issued a directive requiring state health carriers to waive all cost-sharing regarding testing for COVID-19. Read the list of ongoing state actions here.
Information and updates about COVID-19 in Maryland are available at health.maryland.gov/coronavirus.
Posted 4:50 a.m. 3-6-2020
Three Confirmed Maryland Cases in Montgomery County, Patients In Quarantine And In Good Condition
ANNAPOLIS, MD—Tonight, Governor Larry Hogan announced the state’s first positive cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and declared a state of emergency to ramp up Maryland’s coordinated response across all levels of government.
“In order to further mobilize all available state resources in response to this threat to public health, I have issued a proclamation declaring a state of emergency in Maryland,” said Governor Hogan. “With this declaration, I am officially authorizing and directing the Maryland Department of Health and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency to ramp up coordination among all state and local agencies and enable them to fast-track coordination with our state and local health departments and emergency management teams.”
This afternoon, Maryland’s State Public Health Laboratory in Baltimore confirmed three positive cases in Montgomery County. The patients, who contracted the virus while traveling overseas, are in good condition and are in quarantine at their homes.
Earlier this week, the Hogan administration introduced emergency legislation granting the governor the authority to transfer resources from the state’s rainy day fund for Maryland’s novel coronavirus response. Additionally, the governor submitted a supplemental budget today for Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) that requests $10 million for emergency coronavirus preparedness expenses.
“While today’s news may seem overwhelming, this is not a reason to panic,” continued the governor. “Marylanders should go to work or go to school tomorrow just as they normally would. At the same time, I want to continue to remind everyone to prepare themselves and continue to stay informed. I am confident in our state’s ability to respond effectively to these three cases of coronavirus as well as to any future cases, and to be a national leader in responding to this situation and in developing treatments and perhaps even a vaccine.”
Information and updates about COVID-19 in Maryland are available at health.maryland.gov/coronavirus. During the press conference, the governor detailed the state’s ongoing response to COVID-19, including:
Maryland Department of Health (MDH)
MDH continues to coordinate with the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and all state, federal, and local partners to lead response efforts.
Earlier this week, MDH received approval from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and began testing for coronavirus at Maryland’s State Public Health Laboratory.
MDH is participating in daily briefing calls with the CDC and federal partners. MDH also continues to coordinate with local health departments, as well as other state agencies, on preparedness and response to the virus.
The Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS) and MDH, in partnership with the Maryland Hospital Association, are coordinating around surge planning, including ambulance re-routing plans, suspension of voluntary admissions, and enhanced methods of medical monitoring for home-bound patients with mild to moderate symptoms.
MDH is coordinating with nursing homes and assisted living facilities to review and reiterate guidance on infection control and medical management.
MDH has released public service announcements regarding statewide preparedness efforts.
Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA)
MEMA has increased the State Response Activation Level and fully activated the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in order to coordinate state agencies and support resource requests.
MEMA has worked with all state agencies to review and submit their Continuity of Operations (COOP) plans.
On March 6, MEMA and MDH are hosting a meeting with all agency representatives in an effort to finalize the COVID-19 Statewide Plan.
On March 19, MEMA and MDH will hold a cabinet-level tabletop exercise (TTX) which will include preparedness and response.
Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE)
MSDE is coordinating with MDH to provide guidance to local school systems on protocols for school closures.
Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC)
MHEC is coordinating with University System of Maryland institutions that are bringing home students who are studying abroad in Italy, South Korea, and China.
Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT)
MDOT is actively engaged with air travelers, motorists, transit riders, freight carriers and other customers to provide them information on CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19.
MDOT Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA)
MDOT MVA is sharing information regarding COVID-19 on monitors at all branch offices.
BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport
Coronavirus awareness signage has been posted on electronic signs around the terminal at BWI.
The CDC’s information cards on coronavirus are available at BWI information desks and have been supplied to fire department personnel.
BWI’s website includes information about COVID-19 for the traveling public to access.
Port of Baltimore
Ports America Chesapeake has adjusted hours of operation at Seagirt Marine Terminal, the Port of Baltimore’s container facility, due to lower cargo volumes at that facility. Operating hours at other terminals in the Port of Baltimore are not impacted. Cruise operators, in partnership with U.S.Coast Guard and the Maryland Port Administration, have established screening procedures for travelers and crew members.
MDOT Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA)
MDOT MTA is cleaning all transit vehicles and will adjust cleaning schedules based on guidance and protocols issued by MDH and CDC.
Maryland Department of Commerce
Commerce is coordinating resources and providing information for businesses and tourism-related organizations.
Maryland Department of Budget and Management (DBM)
DBM has issued guidance, and revised and updated their telework policy for state employees.
Maryland Department of General Services (DGS)
DGS has increased inventory of hand sanitizers, including security desks and free-standing stations, in all state buildings.
Daily Prevention and Preparedness
At this time, there is no vaccine for COVID-19. Prevention measures center on frequent hand-washing, covering coughs and sneezes, and separating people who have respiratory symptoms.
Treatment for COVID-19, as with any coronavirus infection like the common cold, includes the use of over-the-counter fever-relievers, drinking plenty of fluids and resting at home to help relieve symptoms. Those with more severe symptoms may be hospitalized to provide additional support.
While much remains unknown about COVID-19, the CDC reports that people who are elderly and who have chronic health conditions appear to be at higher risk for infection. These chronic conditions may include cancer, diabetes, heart disease or any issue that lowers the body’s immunity to germs.