2020 coronavirus pandemic in Maryland
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Counties by number of positive cases in Maryland as of March 27:
100+ Confirmed cases
50–99 Confirmed cases
25–49 Confirmed cases
5–24 Confirmed cases
1–4 Confirmed cases
|Index case||Montgomery County|
|Arrival date||March 5, 2020|
The 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic was confirmed to have reached the U.S. state of Maryland in March 2020. The first three cases of the virus were reported in Montgomery County on March 5, 2020. As of March 29, 2020, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) reported 1,413 positive cases and 15 deaths in the state, with 43 patients released from isolation. Of the state's 23 counties, 21 counties have at least one coronavirus case, as well as the independent city of Baltimore.
In late January, Maryland hospitals began travel screening for coronavirus when taking in new patients entering the emergency room. State health officials announced on January 30 that the first person tested in Maryland for the novel coronavirus did not have the virus. The individual was at home in self isolation. Fran Phillips, deputy state health secretary for public health services, stated that the risk for Maryland residents of contracting the virus remained low. Maryland medical facilities, educational institutions, and businesses disseminated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Towson University sent a message to the campus community stating that a professor would not return to classes while a family member was tested.
The University of Maryland, College Park and Towson University suspended their study abroad programs in Italy after increases in CDC alert levels. College Park had 136 students and Towson had 9 students plus faculty members in Italy. Towson suspended upcoming travel to Japan but did not suspend its current programs. As of February 29, five people had been tested for coronavirus, with the first two testing negative.
On March 5, Governor Larry Hogan confirmed the first three cases of coronavirus in Montgomery County: one married couple in their 70s and an unrelated woman in her 50s. All three patients were on the same river cruise on the Nile River in Egypt. Upon their return, one of the patients traveled to suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, meeting with students. This prompted the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Bucks County Public Schools to temporarily close three schools in that district to undergo cleaning. Another patient visited The Village at Rockville retirement community for an event that had between 70 and 100 people. Attendees of the event were told to monitor their temperature and call their physician or the Maryland Emergency Management Agency if they began to exhibit symptoms. All three patients had fully recovered by March 12. Hogan declared a state of emergency after announcing the state's first positive tests.
The University of Maryland, College Park; University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Towson University; University of Maryland Eastern Shore; and Salisbury University all closed campuses early and moved to online classes after Spring Break.
On March 12, Karen Salmon, Maryland's Superintendent of Schools, announced that all public schools would be closed for two weeks beginning March 16. Hogan raised the state's emergency activation system to activate the Maryland National Guard and banned gatherings of more than 250 people. Hogan suspended visits to state prisons and stipulated hospitals to implement policies to limit visitors. Employees of the Government of Maryland were ordered to telework if they were capable of working from home. The National Guard was activated to a higher state of readiness.
Maryland had 12 confirmed cases of coronavirus; two patients remained hospitalized and three had recovered after a quarantine period. A Prince George's County resident is the first known occurrence of community transmission in the state. Hogan delegated routine state government operations to Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford so he could allocate more time to combating the virus.
Archbishop Wilton Daniel Gregory of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington announced that all archdiocesan parishes, missions, and campus ministries would be suspending public masses beginning Saturday, March 14. Weddings and funeral services for immediate family were permitted. Gregory also closed all Catholic schools in Washington, D.C. and Maryland suburbs. Similarly, Archbishop William E. Lori of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore announced that all Catholic schools in the archdiocese would close from March 16 through March 27, following the declaration of temporary public school closure from Governor Larry Hogan. In addition, the Archbishop announced that all Masses and church gatherings had to be limited to 250 people, also following the governor's orders.
On March 13, a spokesperson for Hogan reported there were six new cases overnight, bringing the total number of positive cases in Maryland to 18. This included the first confirmed case in Carroll County, Maryland. Later that evening, Prince George's County executive Angela Alsobrooks announced a man in his 50s tested positive, bringing the total number of cases to 19 in Maryland and 7 in Prince George's County.
Bishop W. Francis Malooly of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, which oversees the Catholic Church for Eastern Shore counties, announced that he had "dispensed the Catholic faithful of the Diocese of Wilmington from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass" but did not cancel masses. He also canceled all Catholic schools and religious education programs for two weeks beginning March 16.
Early on March 14, an official from the MDH announced that 7 more people tested positive, bringing the total number of cases to 26. It was also announced that 3 recoveries had been made, all of which were the original 3 cases in Maryland identified in Montgomery County. Later in the day, Harford County officials reported the second case of coronavirus in the county: a 69 year old family member of Harford County's first case. Also on March 14, Baltimore City Mayor Jack Young announced that a man in his 60s became the first coronavirus case in the city.
To help practice social distancing, five of six Maryland casinos, announced they would limit the number of persons in their facilities by half. The casinos also announced that chairs would be removed from slot machine areas and at tables, as well as restrictions on food and drink. The only casino that would not agree to the conditions set was the MGM National Harbor.
Archbishop William E. Lori of the Archdiocese of Baltimore announced that all public masses would be canceled following guidance from state leaders and other health officials.
Early on March 15, the MDH and Governor Larry Hogan's spokesperson Mike Ricci announced that 5 more people tested positive, bringing the new total to 31 for the state. In addition, the locations of the 7 people who tested positive on March 14 were announced.
Governor Hogan ordered all of the state's casinos, racetracks, and off-track betting to cease operations on March 15, with the shutdown beginning on March 16 at 12:01 am.
In the afternoon, the Howard County Health Department announced the county's first confirmed coronavirus case: an 82-year-old woman with an underlying condition who resided at the Lorien Elkridge, a nursing home in Elkridge. The MDH initiated the process of contacting and notifying all staff, residents, and family members about the possible exposure to COVID-19 in the nursing home. Six medics were exposed to the woman not knowing that she was a COVID-19 patient; all six medics went into self-quarantine, according to the Howard County fire chief. This case brings the total number of positive cases to 32 for the state.
The morning of March 16, the MDH formally announced 6 more positive cases, including the first Howard County case announced by local officials the previous day. Those cases brought the cumulative number of positive cases in the state to 37, to include the first on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, located in Talbot County.
Governor Hogan held a press conference in the late morning, where he announced an executive order that would require all bars, restaurants, gyms, and movie theaters in the state to close at 5:00 p.m. that day. The only exceptions were for restaurants that allow carry-out, drive-thru, or delivery services. In addition, following the recommendation from the CDC, Governor Hogan banned all gatherings over 50 people. The executive order additionally postponed evictions and all utilities could not be cut off or incur late fees.
During the afternoon, the Howard County government announced 3 new coronavirus cases: a man on dialysis in his 40s, a man in is 50s, and a woman in her 70s. Also that afternoon, Baltimore Mayor Jack Young announced the city's second coronavirus case: a woman in her 20s. These 4 new cases brought the cumulative number of coronavirus cases in Maryland to 41.
Due to "sharply reduced" ridership, the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) announced that all three MARC commuter rail lines would operate on the "R" special schedule, causing fewer trains to run throughout the day, beginning on March 17. At that time, the MTA did not announce how long the "R" schedule would be in effect for.
On the morning of March 17, the MDH confirmed 20 additional positive cases in the state, including the first case in Frederick County. Only two of the three cases announced by Howard County on March 16 were added to the MDH's total figure for the day. The additional case announced by Baltimore Mayor Jack Young was also not included in the totals. The official figure from the MDH was now 57.
Carroll County's Health Department announced their second case of coronavirus mid-day. They confirmed that the patient was a woman in her 30s who is related to the county's first case. The two patients in Carroll County traveled outside of the United States, where they contracted the virus.
Governor Hogan announced an executive order that postponed the Maryland primary elections, scheduled to be held April 28, until June 2, with early voting changed to May 21 through May 28. Although standard primary elections were postponed, the governor stated that the state's 7th Congressional District's special election, to fill the seat of former Representative Elijah Cummings, would remain on April 28, citing that it was "imperative that the people of the 7th Congressional District have a voice in the House of Representatives and that Maryland has a full delegation representing our state in Congress." It was announced, however, that the special election would be done through mail-in voting only. Maryland became the fifth state in the country after Louisiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and Georgia to postpone primary elections.
The afternoon of March 17, Governor Hogan announced that the Preakness Stakes, which take place at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, would be postponed until September 2020. This follows the postponing of the Kentucky Derby, which will now be held on September 5.
A series of restrictions and cuts surrounding transportation were also announced on March 17. Cashless tolling was enacted at all toll plazas in Maryland and the number people allowed at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport was reduced. The Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program (VEIP) was suspended in Maryland as their facilities were announced to be converted into drive-thru coronavirus testing centers. The MTA announced that weekday service on the Baltimore Light RailLink and Metro SubwayLink would begin to operate on a Saturday schedule. In addition, MTA Commuter Bus service was changed to the "S" schedule following a 30% reduction in ridership and the MARC commuter train service was announced to have a 70% reduction in ridership. MARC commuter trains were already in a special "R" schedule as announced on March 16. Initially, service on 23 MTA bus routes in the Baltimore area were to be suspended, but rider complaints and comments caused the MTA to delay that decision to "work with major employers to ensure core services are met."
Morgan State University in Baltimore announced that it would be suspending face-to-face instruction for the remainder of the semester on March 17. It was also announced that the spring commencement exercises would be postponed indefinitely and graduating seniors would receive their diplomas directly in the mail in May. Morgan State University President David Wilson announced that students would be issued pro-rated refunds for unused meal plans and on-campus housing.
On March 18, updated totals of the number of positive coronavirus cases were given by the MDH. The MDH announced an additional 28 cases in the state, bringing the state's total to 85. This total did not include the Carroll County woman who became the county's second case, and a fifth case in Baltimore City.
On March 19, totals of the number of positive coronavirus cases were given by the MDH. The MDH announced an additional 22 cases in the state, bringing the state's total to 107. One of those cases was a 5-year-old from Howard County — the first case of a child contracting the virus in Maryland.
During the afternoon of March 19, two more cases were confirmed in the state, increasing the total number of cases in Maryland to 109. The first case was a 37-year-old man in Wicomico County, who was not tested or treated in the county or the local Peninsula Regional Medical Center (PRMC) in Salisbury. He traveled out of the country and was recovering at home in quarantine. The second case involved a man in his 30s in Worcester County, who is also recovering at home. Prior to the Worcester County Health Department announcing the second case, the Bundles of Joy University daycare facility in Berlin sent a message to all parents stating that the family member of a child enrolled at the Berlin location tested positive. In response to this, the daycare closed early on March 19 and will reopen on March 30 following quarantine. The Worcester County Health Department could not confirm if the man in the second case and the man whose child was at the Bundles of Joy daycare facility are the same person.
On March 20, totals of the number of positive coronavirus cases were given by the MDH. The MDH announced an additional 42 cases in the state, bringing the state's total to 149. A 10-month-old baby has contracted the virus. The baby's case marks the first infant to contract the virus in the state. A 5-year-old girl and a teenager are the only other two individuals under the age of 18 with COVID-19 in Maryland, according to Governor Hogan. On the evening of March 20, Governor Hogan announced via twitter the second death in Maryland to COVID-19. The man that died was in his 60s, a resident of Baltimore County, and had been reported to have had underlying medical conditions.
On March 21, the MDH announced the addition of 40 cases in the state, bringing the total number of positive cases to 190. In addition, five more counties have reported their first cases of coronavirus: Caroline County, Queen Anne's County, St. Mary's County, Somerset County, and Washington County. These five county's numbers were announced in the afternoon, and thus were not reflected in the MDH's totals for the day.
It was announced on March 21 that a Montgomery County police officer had tested positive for the coronavirus. A part-time worker for the University of Maryland's University Health Center and Maryland Athletics has also confirmed positive according to the University of Maryland. In addition, it was also announced on March 21 that a civilian U.S. Naval Academy employee confirmed positive for coronavirus according to the U.S. Navy. A T. Rowe Price employee who worked in the Pratt Street building in downtown Baltimore was also confirmed to have tested positive for coronavirus on March 21.
Late on March 21, Governor Hogan announced that a Montgomery County woman in her 40s became the third coronavirus-related death in Maryland. The woman had underlying medical conditions.
On March 22, Ocean City closed the boardwalk and beaches. Residents are permitted to exercise, in accordance with social distancing rules. Charles County announced all county government buildings were to close to the public, effective the following day. County services continue to be provided through mail, online, and drop-box options.
On the morning of March 24, MDH reported an additional 61 cases, increasing the total number of cases in the state to 349. Another child under 18 tested positive for the virus, making them the fourth child in Maryland to contract coronavirus. In addition, Montgomery County became the first county in the state to have over 100 cases on March 24.
During the afternoon, state health officials announced the fourth coronavirus-related death in the state: a Prince George's County man in his 60's who had underlying conditions. He is the county's second death.
Trader Joe's announced that their store in Elkridge, located in Howard County, was temporarily closing after an employee was either receiving treatment for a suspected case of coronavirus or had tested positive for the virus. The store was being closed to be cleaned and sanitized, though the company did not announce for how long the closure would be in effect.
On March 25th, the number of confirmed cases in Maryland increased by 76 to a total of 423. This included the 5th confirmed case of COVID-19 in a minor.
In the early morning hours of March 25, the MTA suspended its eastern division bus route service after a driver tested positive for the virus.
Also, on March 25, the Maryland Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Karen B. Salmon, announced the extension of the Maryland school closure from March 30th to April 26th, adding on an extra 4 weeks to the school cancellation.
On March 26, an additional 157 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed, having the totals rise from 423 to 580. The epicenter of the disease began spreading to Frederick County, with an increase of 11 cases in a day. Prince George's County is the second highest county with over 100 cases. There were more than 1,200 confirmed cases in the National Capital Region at this time (Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia).
Mayor Jack Young of Baltimore announced on March 26 that three first responders – two EMS providers and one police officer – had tested positive for coronavirus in Baltimore City. The Baltimore City Health Department began to contact trace all three individuals to halt the spread of the virus; all three were quarantined at home.
The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation's Division of Unemployment released data on March 26 showing that unemployment insurance claims increased significantly following the closure of all seated restaurants and bars in the state. The number of new claims increased 984% from 3,852 during the week ending March 14 to 42,334 during the week ending March 21.
On March 27, the fifth death caused by COVID-19 was announced, an Anne Arundel County man in his 80's. The number of positive cases increased by 194 over a 24-hour period, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 774. Of the 774 total cases, the number of infected minors increased to 15, with 173 Marylanders hospitalized due to the virus. Governor Hogan stated that the number of cases in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. had quadrupled between March 20 and March 27, increasing to more than 1,500 between the three states.
On March 28, the numbers for COVID-19 cases in Maryland increased to 992. The amount of deaths in Maryland also increased on March 28 by five, a Prince George's County man in his 50s; a Charles County man in his 50s; a Wicomico County woman in her 60s; and two Baltimore women, one in her 60s and another in her 80s. The three women had underlying medical conditions, according to the state.  It was also announced by Governor Hogan that the Pleasant View Nursing Home in Mt. Airy, Carroll County, Maryland, had an outbreak of COVID-19, with 66 of the residents at the home testing positive for the disease.
On March 29, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Maryland continued to rise, reaching over 1,000. Deaths continued, including a man in his 90s who passed away at the Pleasant View Nursing Home in Carroll County; 11 other residents were subsequently taken to two local hospitals. Later that day, MDH reported the following 4 additional deaths: a Howard County man in his 70s with underlying medical conditions; a Prince George's County man in his 30s with underlying medical conditions; a Prince George's County woman is her 50s with underlying medical conditions; and a Prince George's County man is his 70s with underlying medical conditions.
On March 30, Larry Hogan issued a mandatory Stay-at-home order order effective that day at 20:00 EST and required all individuals who have traveled out of the state to self quarantine for 14 days. Violation of this order was punishable by up to one year in prison, $5000, or both. A wireless alert was also sent to all mobile devices in the state.
On March 5, Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency after the first three cases of coronavirus were confirmed in the state.
On March 12, Governor Hogan declared all Maryland public schools were to be closed from March 16 through March 27, gatherings of more than 250 people were banned, and the Maryland National Guard was activated to a higher state of readiness.
Starting on March 12, public libraries in Maryland began to announce an extended closing of all branches. By March 16, all 24 public library systems in the state were shut down for a two-week period. Following Governor Hogan's order to close all nonessential services issued March 23, the Baltimore County Public Library and the St. Mary's County Library were closed until further notice.
|Library System||Start of Closure||End of Closure||Reference|
|Allegany County Library System||March 14||Until further notice|||
|Anne Arundel County Public Library||March 13||May 3|||
|Baltimore County Public Library||March 16||Until further notice|||
|Enoch Pratt Free Library||March 13||Until further notice|||
|Calvert Library||March 16||Until further notice|||
|Caroline County Public Library||March 16||April 25|||
|Carroll County Public Library||March 14||April 13|||
|Cecil County Public Library||March 15||Until further notice|||
|Charles County Public Library||March 13||Until further notice|||
|Dorchester County Public Library||March 14||Until further notice|||
|Frederick County Public Library||March 16||Until further notice|||
|Ruth Enlow Library of Garrett County||March 16||May 15|||
|Harford County Public Library||March 15||Until further notice|||
|Howard County Library System||March 16||Until further notice|||
|Kent County Public Library||March 16||Until further notice|||
|Montgomery County Public Libraries||March 16||April 24|||
|Prince George's County Memorial Library System||March 16||Until further notice|||
|Queen Anne's County Library||March 15||Until further notice|||
|St. Mary's County Library||March 13||Until further notice|||
|Somerset County Library System||March 16||Until further notice|||
|Talbot County Free Library||March 16||April 12|||
|Washington County Free Library||March 13||April 13|||
|Wicomico Public Library||March 14||Until further notice|||
|Worcester County Library||March 14||Until further notice|||
On March 15, Governor Hogan ordered all Maryland casinos, racetracks, and off-track betting parlors to shut down to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. All casinos and racetracks would be required to close by 12:01 am on March 16, or they would be charged with a misdemeanor that carries a penalty of one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. In addition, Governor Hogan also warned in a statement that bars and restaurants are to follow the ban of gatherings of over 250 people in advance of St. Patrick's Day celebrations. He stated that if any bar or restaurant failed to comply with the restrictions set, they would be charged with a misdemeanor carrying a penalty of one year in jail and/or up to $5,000 in fines.
On March 15, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball declared a state of emergency in Howard County following the first confirmed case of coronavirus in the county. Using executive power, he ordered the closure of all movie theaters in the county, as well as The Mall in Columbia and the shops at Savage Mill for one week. Restaurants with outside external entrances at the Mall in Columbia are exempt from the order.
On March 16, Governor Hogan signed an executive order banning gatherings of over 50 people as recommended by the CDC. He also ordered all bars, restaurants, gyms, and movie theaters throughout the state to close to prevent further spreading of the coronavirus beginning at 5:00 p.m. the same day. In addition, all evictions and utility cut-offs are banned until further notice, and utilities cannot accrue late fees. Restaurants with delivery, drive-thru, and carry out services are exempt from closing completely.
At a press conference on March 17, Governor Hogan announced an executive order that would postpone the Maryland primary elections, including the Maryland Democratic presidential primary. Originally meant to be held on April 28, the governor moved the primaries to June 2. The special election of the 7th congressional district was still going to be held on April 28, but solely as a vote-by-mail election. In addition, the governor announced that the 2020 Preakness Stakes would be postponed until after Labor Day, following the decision to move the 2020 Kentucky Derby to Labor Day weekend. The governor also announced the closing and conversion of all emissions testing sites to coronavirus drive-thru testing sites. He further announced the reduction of MARC commuter rail service by 50%.
For the first time since the Civil War, the Maryland General Assembly's annual session ended early, due to coronavirus concerns. The session, which usually runs for 90 days, was ended three weeks earlier than normal on March 18. In the time before the session was hurriedly ended, many coronavirus legislation measures were passed, including the authorization to draw up to $100 million from the "rainy day" fund and extending temporary unemployment benefits for workers who are either quarantined or whose jobs are closed temporarily. The Assembly also passed legislation that make price gouging and firing workers for being quarantined illegal in the state. All legislation would have to be signed by Governor Hogan to be made law, but would take effect immediately.
On the morning of March 19, Governor Hogan announced that all shopping centers and entertainment venues were to close as of 5 p.m. that day, stating "This is a race against time" and he's doing everything he can to "avoid shutting down society". He also announced access to the BWI Airport terminals would be restricted to employees, ticketed passengers, and visitors assisting disabled passengers.
On March 23, Governor Larry Hogan ordered all non-essential businesses in the state to close effective at 5 p.m. Monday to prevent further spread of COVID-19. He also announced initiatives to provide relief to small businesses and employees.
On March 25, the Maryland Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Karen B. Salmon, announced an extended 4 week closure, until April 24th.Governor Hogan also stated that the additional 4-week closure was "aspirational" and they would reassess the situation in that time.
On March 30, the governor announced a stay at home order for the state of Maryland, meaning that no person could leave their homes unless for specific reasons and recommended anyone who traveled outside the greater DC region quarantine for 14 days.
Public health response
On Monday, March 23, 2020, Larry Hogan announced that the Baltimore Convention Center and adjacent city owned Hilton, in partnership with Johns Hopkins Hospital and the University of Maryland Medical System, would become a makeshift hospital. Approximately 100,000 of the 300,000 square foot convention center would be used for 250 additional beds and could expand up to 750 in an effort to increase the statewide hospital capacity by an additional 6,000 beds.
Impact on sports
Major League Baseball cancelled the remainder of spring training on that date, and on March 16, they announced that the season will be postponed indefinitely, after the recommendations from the CDC to restrict events of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks, affecting the Baltimore Orioles. In college sports, the National Collegiate Athletic Association cancelled all winter and spring tournaments, most notably the Division I men's and women's basketball tournaments, affecting colleges and universities statewide. On March 16, the National Junior College Athletic Association also canceled the remainder of the winter seasons as well as the spring seasons. The 2020 Preakness Stakes are postponed until after Labor Day.
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