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Seven new coronavirus cases confirmed in Maryland, bringing total number to 19

Seven more people in Maryland have tested positive for the new coronavirus, bringing the state’s total number of confirmed cases to 19, officials said Friday.

The new cases were announced piecemeal with five announced Friday morning in a tweet from Mike Ricci, spokesman for Gov. Larry Hogan. They included a new case in Baltimore County, another in Anne Arundel County, two in Prince George’s County and one in Charles County

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Another was confirmed by Carroll County a few hours later. And Prince George’s County announced a third for the day Friday evening.

The news of the new cases followed Hogan’s announcement Thursday of a slew of measures in Maryland — including a two-week closure of schools that will affect nearly a million students — intended to contain the spread of COVID-19.

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The disease has sickened at least 130,000 people worldwide and killed more than 5,000. More than 1,200 people in the U.S. have been confirmed to have the disease, and that number is expected to increase as access to testing is expanded.

Friday marked a shift in how the cases are announced in Maryland. Previously, cases were announced by the governor’s office and state health officials. Now it appears local health departments will confirm positive tests.

Ricci and state health officials offered no further information about the cases he announced.

Baltimore County spokesman Sean Naron did not respond to requests for further details on the new Baltimore County case. The new case marks Baltimore County’s second, after a man in his 60s, who worked at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington, was diagnosed.

The Anne Arundel County case is its first, though a Montana woman who lives part-time in Anne Arundel was sickened and diagnosed in the county. Her case, however, is counted by Montana.

The new Anne Arundel patient, who is in their 60s, is believed to have contracted the virus while traveling abroad and is recovering at home, county officials said.

The person with the coronavirus in Charles County is a dependent of a military retiree who has been self-quarantined at home since testing positive Wednesday at a clinic on Joint Base Andrews, the U.S. Air Force’s 11th Wing announced Friday in a news release. The person had cold-like symptoms and had recently traveled to South Korea and the Philippines.

Ed Singer, the Carroll County health officer, said its case involves a man in his 40s who has “very mild symptoms" and is recovering at home. The man had not traveled abroad. County health officials are working with the state to trace his contacts and identify anyone he might have contacted.

The latest Prince George’s cases are all different. One is a man in his 40s, who was exposed to the county’s first patient, a woman who contracted COVID-19 while on a Nile River cruise in Egypt, according to a release from County Executive Angela Alsobrooks.

The other announced by Ricci earlier in the day is a female in her 30s and her case is currently under investigation, the county said. The case announced late Friday is a man in his 50s, who has a connection with that woman. He is currently hospitalized out-of-state, where he tested positive, officials said.

Due to federal health privacy laws, officials limit identifying information about patients.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, shortness of breath, and, in more severe cases, pneumonia. Most people who are infected show mild or moderate symptoms, and older people and those with preexisting medical conditions are at a greater risk for more serious illness.

To limit its spread, health officials are asking people to wash their hands often and practice “social distancing," keeping themselves at least 6 feet from one another. Officials also are discouraging travel and large gatherings.

Acting Thursday in the wake of Maryland’s first case of the virus spreading within the community rather than from travel, Hogan directed senior centers to close and prohibited gatherings of more than 250 people. The unprecedented school closure is leaving administrators rushing to prepare plans to feed and continue educating students.

Hogan also closed the cruise ship terminal at the Port of Baltimore, activated the National Guard, suspended visitors from state prisons and ordered nonessential state employees to telework, if possible.

Baltimore Sun Media’s Dan Rodricks, Mary Grace Keller and Olivia Sanchez contributed to this article.

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