Watch CBS News

Gov. Larry Hogan Submits Emergency Legislation To Advance Coronavirus Response

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) -- While there are no confirmed coronavirus cases in Maryland as of Wednesday, the race is on to prepare for a possible outbreak.

Governor Larry Hogan has called on state lawmakers to pass emergency legislation that allows for the transfer of up to $50 million from the state's rainy day fund. He will ask for $10 million more in a supplemental budget.

LATEST: 3 Cases Of Coronavirus Confirmed In Maryland, Health Officials Say

"Given the rapidly-evolving nature of this threat to public health, it is critical that we have the flexibility to immediately access these resources," the governor said.

Coronavirus Graphic

He also urged people not to panic but to remain vigilant.

"While we continue to hope for the best, we are also actively planning for the worst," Hogan said.

As of Wednesday, 21 people have been tested for coronavirus in Maryland so far. 11 of those results are pending. 10 people tested negative.

Dr. Clifford Mitchell, with the State Health Department, said many more who have traveled to highly impacted countries like China are being asked to self-quarantine.

Mitchell said the state gets lists of those travelers.

"There's a lot of international travel. It's not a small number," he said.


Dr. Mitchell also said the state tries to contact them all and answer their questions.

Also, Maryland now has federal approval to do its own testing. Results no longer have to be sent to the CDC in Atlanta and can be ready faster through a Baltimore lab.

"We can get them in as little as 24 hours," Maryland Health Secretary Robert Neall said.

Neall said the overall threat to public health "remains low" and cautioned the most vulnerable populations are the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.

In addition to state preparations, communities across Maryland are taking precautions.

In Howard County, 911 callers with possible coronavirus symptoms are being screened with questions that include their travel history. The school superintendent said schools are stocking up on hand sanitizer and soap.

"We are building on existing plans to ensure that our community is well prepared," said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball.

State health officials are also taking inventory of supplies at hospitals and other health care facilities across Maryland.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.