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Gov. Hogan Asks Older Residents To Avoid Large Crowds, Travel As Maryland Reports Its 9th Coronavirus Case

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — With new coronavirus cases announced in Maryland on Tuesday, Gov. Larry Hogan is asking older residents to avoid large crowds and traveling.

The newest case was announced on Tuesday evening, a woman in her 60s from Montgomery County. This case is connected to the same Egyptian cruise as five of the state's previous cases.

A couple in Prince George's County also tested positive for coronavirus, Gov. Hogan confirmed, bringing the total to nine confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state of Maryland.

"We are advising older people [and those with underlying health conditions] to avoid crowds and large gatherings and traveling, flying on planes as much as possible," Hogan said.

"Effective immediately, nursing homes should restrict access to visitors. facilities should make online methods of face to face communication and phone calls available to nursing home residents," Hogan added.

The couple from Prince Geoge's County had traveled internationally on a cruise line and are currently resting at home self-quarantined and in good condition.

As of Tuesday, 103 people have been tested for coronavirus in Maryland, according to the state health department. Nine of those have tested positive, with the others testing negative. The department is no longer reporting the number of pending tests.

A Prince George's County woman in her 50s was confirmed as a coronavirus patient Monday night. She had traveled to Boston between February 25-27 and received medical care before she self-quarantined at home. She's in good condition.

County officials said the patient did not come into contact with any children and her family members are self-quarantined as well. She also hasn't been to church since her symptoms appeared, they said.

"We know residents are concerned about a risk of exposure," said Prince George's County Executive Alsobrooks.

Alsobrooks added if someone has attended the Conservative Political Action Conference between Feb 27-March 1, they should take necessary precautions.

Hogan said the Maryland and New Jersey health departments are monitoring for cases linked to CPAC.


Across Maryland

Across the state, officials are asking that residents don't panic, but take precautions about coronavirus.

As more patients are tested, the positive test results will continue to rise, Hogan said Tuesday.

Hogan said the is recommending nursing homes around the state take extra precautions as the state's elderly residents are most at risk for coronavirus.

"We are advising older people [and those with underlying health conditions] to avoid crowds and large gatherings and traveling, flying on planes as much as possible," Hogan said.

Nursing homes and retirement communities are the areas of greatest concern, he added.

Referencing the situation in Washington State where 19 nursing home residents have died in Kirkland and 31 others tested positive for coronavirus, Hogan said, "we want to do everything possible to prevent a similar outbreak in our state."

The state health department issued the following recommendations to state nursing home facilities:

  • Effective immediately, nursing homes should restrict access to visitors and make available an online way for residents to have face-to-face conversations and phones available to residents.
  • All facility staff should be restricted from international travel and should be monitored if they traveled outside of the country in the last 14 days, have had contact with someone being tested for coronavirus or are showing signs of respiratory illness.
  • People with symptoms should not report to work.
  • Any staff that show signs or symptoms while working, should immediately stop working and put on a facemask and then isolate themselves at home.
  • They are also asking that nursing home provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer, tissues and facemasks at entries and properly clean and disinfect the facility and medical equipment.

Although older Marylanders are the most at-risk, Hogan said he's aware that some proactive measures should also be taken at schools and universities around the state.

Several universities are changing to online-only classes for several weeks as coronavirus concerns mount.

"This truly is an all hands on deck operation," Hogan said, "and it is going to get worse before it gets better."

Hogan also created a Maryland coronavirus response team, made up of the top doctors, which will be meeting for the first time Tuesday.

Across Prince George's County

Alsobrooks said the county government will be sending all of its employees helpful information, and are reviewing all their upcoming major events to determine if any of them need to be canceled or postponed.

The county has partially activated its emergency operations center, which allows its employees to work around the clock to fight the spread.

"By working together we are fully prepared and we are well equipped to handle this situation," Alsbrooks said.

Health officials in the county are working to learn if there could be an exposure risk for others in the county and are considering ways to teach kids from home if the schools need to be closed in the future.

There are about 800 churches in the Prince George's County area, and county officials are working

They also postponed the Women's History Month Luncheon and the county's block party as well this month.

Across the country, 12 Marylanders were aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship that had been sitting off the coast of California. The ship docked in Oakland, California on Monday, CBS San Francisco reported.

Those aboard were taken to military bases in Texas and Georgia, and none of them were showing symptoms, Governor Hogan said.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department's website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ's coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

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