A Prince George’s County man over 60 is the first Marylander to die of COVID-19, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Wednesday evening.
“Last night it was my sad duty to support the first death in Maryland as a result of the coronavirus pandemic,” Hogan said at his Thursday press conference. “Unfortunately it will not be the last.”
He said the man had no known travel history and had an underlying health condition.
Hogan also announced that Maryland’s first child to contract the disease is a five-year-old girl in Howard County.
Over the past two days, the Maryland Department of Health reported the number of positive cases in Maryland has grown by 88%, to 107 Thursday morning. In Baltimore City, the number of confirmed positive cases grew from five to eight. There are 12 positive cases in Baltimore County.
Very Little Testing
That said, those numbers are the product of only limited testing throughout the state. Maryland’s and Baltimore City’s health departments are not conducting tests or reporting how many tests have been conducted by other organizations.
Their leaders have said there are not enough tests available for people at low risk.
“Laboratories are working rapidly to increase the capacity to do testing,” an FAQ on the state’s coronavirus-specific site reads. “The availability of testing will expand as more testing supplies become available.”
Hogan took further action to “flatten the curve,” or slow the spread, of coronavirus, ordering that shopping malls and other retailers close at 5 p.m. today.
He said he is working to increase hospital capacity by 6,000 beds, and is using his leverage as chair of the National Governors Association to ask for more action from Congress and the Trump Administration.
“Despite all of our repeated warnings for weeks, and in spite of the rapid escalation of this crisis across our state, the nation, and the world, some people are treating this like a vacation or a spring break with parties, cookouts, and large gatherings,” Hogan said.
“Let me be very clear—if you are engaged in this type of activity, you are in violation of state law and you are endangering the lives of your fellow Marylanders,” he warned.
Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young on Wednesday declared a local state of emergency, allowing the city to spend money to combat the virus more easily.
In Baltimore, the library will be closed at least through March 30th, and all programming at rec and senior centers has been cancelled. Many rec centers are open with food from 2-7; many schools and rec centers are open 10-2 for students to pick up homework packets and free meals.