COVID-19 is a disease first identified in China in December of 2019. The virus is new so it hasn’t caused illness in humans in the past. The number of cases in the United States has consistently climbed higher day by day. In the State of Maryland, there have been 85 cases with Prince George’s and Montgomery counties being hit the hardest.
There have been 85 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maryland. Montgomery County leads the state with 31 confirmed cases with Prince George’s County following with 20. Baltimore County has confirmed 10 cases to date.
Anne Arundel, Baltimore City, Carroll, Charles, Frederick, Harford, Howard, and Talbot have less than 10 cases each. So far, the disease has mainly impacted Maryland residents over the age of 18. There have been no confirmed cases among patients under 18 years of age.
Sixty of the confirmed cases involve people from 18 to 64, 25 of the confirmed cases are targeting people over 65 and these individuals are considered to be at a higher risk.
While everyone is at risk of contracting COVID-19, people with pre-existing medical conditions and older adults face greater risks. Anyone over the age of 60 with pre-existing medical conditions is at a greater risk of experiencing serious illness and even death if infected with COVID-19. Diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and other conditions that may suppress the patient’s immune system are considered pre-existing.
Reducing The Risks
Maryland residents are encouraged to take steps to minimize their risk of being exposed to COVID-19. They are recommended to stay a safe distance away from others. If they must go outside, they should stay away from people who are sick and wash their hands with soap and water. Using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can help.
The CDC has urged Americans to limit crowd sizes to 50 or lower.
Being prepared for the potential impact of COVID-19 can help lessen the burden. For instance, residents should have non-prescription medications on hand. This includes pain relievers, cough medicines, cold medications, and stomach remedies.
Those taking prescription drugs regularly should ensure they have an adequate supply. Be sure to have a thermometer, hand sanitizer, and tissues at home in the event they become ill and need to recover at home. Marylanders should have a two-week supply of water and food on hand as well.
What Is Closed In Maryland?
To help slow the spread of COVID-19, Governor Hogan has issued several orders to close Maryland businesses. An emergency order has been filed to close all casinos, racetracks, and simulcast betting facilities in Maryland.
Closed Casinos And Racetracks In Maryland
- Horseshoe Casino Baltimore
- Hollywood Casino Perryville
- MGM National Harbor
- Live! Casino & Hotel
- Ocean Downs Casino
- Laurel Park
- Rocky Gap Casino Resort
- Pimlico Race Court
- Fair Hill Races
- Rosecroft Raceway
- Ocean Downs
- Timonium Race Course
- And, all simulcast betting facilities
These facilities will remain closed until the state of emergency has been terminated or until superseded by other orders.
Bars, Restaurants, Fitness Centers, And Theaters
The Governor has also taken steps that may help limit the number of new coronavirus cases in Maryland. An amended executive order was issued that closed all bars, restaurants, fitness centers, spas, and theaters. The order allows restaurants to continue offering carry-out, drive-thru, and delivery services. It also allows health care facilities to continue operating on-site eateries.
Prohibition On Gatherings
In Maryland, gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited. Any planned large gathering and event must be canceled or postponed until the state of emergency has been terminated and the proclamation of the catastrophic health emergency has been removed. Social, community, religious, spiritual, leisure, recreational, and sporting gatherings are now prohibited at all locations and venues in the state.
Maryland’s Primary Election
Maryland’s primary election was previously scheduled for April 28 but Governor Hogan has issued a proclamation to postpone the event until June 2. The Governor also plans to move forward with the 7th Congressional District special general election as scheduled by utilizing a vote-by-mail system. In a statement, Governor Hogan said, “I have two main priorities—keep Marylanders safe and protecting their constitutional right to vote.”
Hogan has directed the State Board of Elections to develop a plan by April 3 to carry out the primary election in a way that will protect public health and preserve the integrity of the democratic process.
K-12 School Closures
States across the country have decided to shut down all K-12 schools in hopes of containing the spread of the coronavirus. Maryland officials decided to close public schools for two weeks after a patient in his 60s outside Washington tested positive for the disease despite having no known exposure to travel or anyone infected.
While initially closed for two weeks, school leaders and health experts believe a longer shutdown is likely. Maryland State School Superintendent Karen Salmon has confirmed that she was looking into extending the closure beyond two weeks. The CDC now says two weeks will unlikely be able to stem the spread of the disease or prevent the impact on the health care system.
New CDC guidance suggests closing schools between 8 and 20 weeks may be more effective in slowing the spread of the disease. While most agree that schools will not reopen in two weeks, the argument continues as to how long they should remain closed.
Maryland State Education Association President Cheryl Bost said, “Closing schools for the rest of the year should be on the table.”
During the downtime, Maryland Public Schools will continue providing students with three meals a day and a snack. Maryland residents can visit https://mars.msde.maryland.gov/mars_sitesearch/ to find their closest distribution center as well as times for breakfast, lunch, and supper meals.
Beginning on Monday, March 16, Maryland state courts will close their doors. In a press release on Friday, Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera announced that courts would close to the public for three weeks due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The closure includes all courts in the Maryland Judiciary, administrative offices, court offices, Offices of the Clerks of the Circuit Courts, and units of the Judiciary.
These facilities will be closed for three weeks. All matters scheduled to be heard between March 16 and April have been postponed. Court personnel is being told to report to work as usual and courts will be staffed to handle emergency situations such as bail reviews, search warrants, domestic violence petitions, and juvenile detention hearings.
Judges have been given the authorization to use “remote electronic means” to conduct legal proceedings when necessary.
Marylanders can stay on top of the 2019 Coronavirus Disease Outbreak at the official Maryland Government website here.