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Officials: Harford County Coronavirus Patient Believed To Be First In World Related To Travel In Turkey Did Not Get It From Turkey, Embassy Says

BEL AIR, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland leaders are urging the public to stay calm and informed after two more coronavirus cases were confirmed in the state over the weekend.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced Sunday that a woman in her 80s living in Harford County had tested positive for the virus. He assured the public there appears to be no major concerns of exposure to the community in either case and there is no connection to the previous positive cases.

At a news conference Monday afternoon, Hogan said the 86-year-old woman got the virus while traveling overseas in Turkey. Her case was believed to be the first in the world associated with travel to Turkey, the governor said.

However, the Turkish Embassy in D.C. said Turkish border entry records reveal she didn't visit Turkey. She flew from Tirana, Albania, to Dulles International Airport on March 3, and stopped in Istanbul Airport where she spent her entire time in the transit lounge.

The woman said she went straight home from the airport, didn't leave her home and when she began to feel ill nearly a week later went straight to the hospital for evaluation and care.

Harford County Health Officer Dr. Russell Moy said the patient remains hospitalized. He declined to say where. He also declined to say which airport she used to fly into Maryland.


Moy said the patient became "fatigued and had a loss of appetite" and went to the hospital six days after being diagnosed.


Harford County Executive Barry Glassman also held a separate news conference Monday afternoon.

"Public safety is our highest priority, and my administration has been working closely with allied agencies to prepare for the coronavirus in our community," County Executive Glassman said. "With a case confirmed yesterday in Harford County, it is important for everyone to remain calm, continue to take precautions and avoid rumors. We will continue to share verified reports and timely updates provided by Governor Hogan and public health officials."

The second case officials announced over the weekend involved a man in his 60s from Montgomery County. Hogan said the man contracted coronavirus while traveling to Thailand and Egypt.

"He was briefly hospitalized and now is quarantined," the governor said.

Hogan said he will sign emergency legislation that passed in the General Assembly that will allow the state to spend $50 million from the state's rainy day fund to respond to COVID-19.

"We are continuing to hope for the best while we're also actively preparing for the worst," Hogan said.

No new cases were reported overnight into Monday. In total, 73 people have tested negative.

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