Annapolis – Acting with swiftness and pragmatism, Governor Larry Hogan today (March 5) announced the state’s first positive cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and declared a state of emergency to ramp up Maryland’s coordinated response across all levels of government.
Commenting on the emergency declaration, Governor Hogan said, “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.”
Earlier the same afternoon, Maryland’s State Public Health Laboratory in Baltimore had confirmed three positive cases in Montgomery County. The patients, who contracted the virus while traveling overseas, were stated to be “in good condition and in quarantine at their homes.”
Calming the frayed nerves of Marylanders, the governor said, “While today’s news may seem overwhelming, this is not a reason to panic,” adding, “Marylanders should go to work or go to school tomorrow just as they normally would.
“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,” Governor sounded optimistic.
Days ago, the Hogan administration introduced emergency legislation granting the governor the authority to transfer resources from the state’s rainy day fund for Maryland’s novel coronavirus response. Additionally, the governor submitted a supplemental budget today for Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) that requests $10 million for emergency coronavirus preparedness expenses.
The guidelines for the public note that there is no vaccine for COVID-19 yet and prevention measures list frequent hand-washing, covering coughs and sneezes, and separating people who have respiratory symptoms.