Nearly two dozen Marylanders have now died from the new coronavirus, and Gov. Larry Hogan has issued an executive order requiring all residents to stay at home except for essential activities as the Capital Region braces for a wave of cases similar to the one in New York, where nearly 1,000 have died.
Outbreaks have been reported at a Carroll County nursing home and in the state’s prison system.
A lot of news happened over the weekend and early this week. To keep Marylanders up-to-date, here are five key points from The Baltimore Sun’s coronavirus coverage.
Stay-at-home order in effect; ‘quarantine parties’ lead to arrests
Gatherings of more than 10 people had already been banned, and schools, colleges, sit-down restaurants, malls, casinos, gyms, theaters and nonessential businesses already had been ordered closed over the past few weeks.
While the restrictions aren’t really different, the new order and its blunt language was meant to get the attention of residents who didn’t take earlier directives seriously.
Violating the order is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Two men have been charged with violating the order banning gatherings of more than 10 people — a Hughesville man who hosted a bonfire with 60 guests in Charles County, and a Lutherville man who hosted a party with 10 teenagers in a Carroll County hotel room, officials say. Maryland State Police said Tuesday that law enforcement officers across the state had responded to over 400 calls about people violating the order.
Deadly outbreak at the Pleasant View Nursing Home foreshadows possible issues in senior living
Five residents have died in a COVID-19 outbreak that infected at least 66 people at the Pleasant View Nursing Home in Mount Airy, Carroll County, over the weekend, officials said. Twenty-seven staff members are expected to be tested, Hogan said Monday.
A resident at a Baltimore County retirement community also tested positive Sunday, raising concerns that the coronavirus could be spreading among older people living closely together in Maryland, as it has in other states.
The Mount Airy nursing home received the lowest rating possible from Medicare, largely due to staffing, The Sun reported Monday.
COVID-19 death count now at 22; Hogan wants more testing
Twenty-two Marylanders have now died of the coronavirus.
Hogan, a Republican who chairs the National Governors Association, has pressed President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and others involved with the federal government’s response for more testing and more protective supplies for health care workers.
“Without the tests, we really are flying blind," Hogan said on CNN on Tuesday morning. “We are really guessing where the outbreaks are.”
Cases reported in psychiatric hospital, prison system, first responders
The Mount Airy nursing home isn’t the only Maryland institution hit by the pandemic.
An outbreak at the Clifton T. Perkins psychiatric hospital infected at least eight patients and one staff member at the state’s maximum-security psychiatric hospital in Jessup, officials said Monday.
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The state prison system has confirmed at least three COVID-19 cases — one involving an inmate and two involving non-correctional contract employees — have been found at two different facilities.
And first responders in Baltimore and Baltimore County have tested positive for the coronavirus. A West Baltimore fire station temporarily closed Friday after a Baltimore Police officer and two emergency medics tested positive for COVID-19. Dozens of police officers in the county were ordered to quarantine after two fellow officers tested positive.
More testing sites opening — but only for those with a doctor’s orders
Maryland will offer drive-through coronavirus testing at Motor Vehicle Administration vehicle-emissions testing sites in Bel Air, Glen Burnie and Waldorf, as well as at FedEx Field in Landover, Hogan said Monday.
But you can’t just drive up and get tested. Tests will be offered only to those patients referred for a COVID-19 test by their doctor.
State protocols say testing should be offered to hospitalized patients with symptoms, and symptomatic people outside the hospital who are considered high-risk, include those in nursing homes, in long-term care facilities or who have underlying health conditions.
Medical personnel, health care workers and first responders with symptoms also are being tested.
Those with mild symptoms are encouraged to call their doctor and, if possible, stay home.