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Gov. Hogan Declares State of Emergency for Maryland Due to Three Confirmed Cases of Coronavirus, Health Dept. Says to Take Seriously, but “No Reason to Panic.”

Photo Credit: Center for Disease Control and Prevention

The Maryland Department of Heath confirmed on Thursday that three people in the state have tested positive for the Coronavirus.

Maryland’s State Public Health Laboratory in Baltimore confirmed the positive tests involving patients in Montgomery County, who contracted the virus while traveling overseas.

In preparation for an outbreak, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration introduced emergency legislation this week granting Hogan the authority to transfer resources from the state’s rainy day fund. Additionally, Hogan submitted a $10 million supplemental budget request for emergency coronavirus preparedness expenses.

“We are continuing to support and coordinate the State’s response to COVID-19,” said the Maryland Department of Health. “We encourage all Marylanders not to panic, but to take this seriously and to stay informed as we continue to provide updates.”

Gov. Larry Hogan said, “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. 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.”

But Hogan said, “While today’s news may seem overwhelming, this is not a reason to panic.” He said, Marylanders should continue to attend school and go to work on Friday.  But, he said, “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.”

Wondering what you can do to protect yourself and family from the virus? The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says there is currently no vaccine to prevent the virus, but says that the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed.

The CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of all respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

For information about handwashing, see CDC’s Handwashing website.

For information specific to healthcare, see CDC’s Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings

The CDC recommends the everyday habits that the center says can help prevent the spread of several viruses.

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