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Baltimore County man in his 60s is Maryland’s second coronavirus death as officials confirm 42 new cases

A second Maryland resident who tested positive for coronavirus has died, Gov. Larry Hogan reported Friday night. The victim was a Baltimore County man in his 60s with underlying medical conditions, the governor said.

Neither the man’s identity nor his area of residence in the county was disclosed.

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“On behalf of our entire state, we send our heartfelt condolences to his family and to all those who loved him,” Hogan said in a statement.

It was the state’s second death from the virus in three days.

On Wednesday night, Hogan reported the state’s first death in the pandemic, a man in his 60s from Prince George’s County. Officials said the man had acquired the disease through spread within the community, not from travel. He, too, had underlying health problems, officials said.

Maryland officials confirmed 42 new cases of the coronavirus Friday, bringing the state’s count to at least 149. The new cases include two more children, an infant and teenager who tested positive, tweeted Mike Ricci, Hogan’s spokesman, who did not specify their ages.

A case involving a 5-year-old Howard County girl was confirmed Thursday.

None of the children was hospitalized, Ricci said.

Also Friday, the Naval Academy in Annapolis and T. Rowe Price Group confirmed they had cases among their employees.

The academy said in a statement Friday night that a civilian employee tested positive for the coronavirus and is being cared for in isolation in his home. State public health officials are investigating to determine whether any other personnel may have been exposed. Depending on the results of that investigation, additional precautionary measures may be taken.

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A T. Rowe Price spokesman said Friday that one of its Baltimore employees tested positive for the virus and efforts to sanitize its Pratt Street headquarters are underway. The company notified all of its employees of the case and is requiring all those who work near or who had been in direct contact with the employee to self-quarantine for 14 days, the spokesman said.

The state continued to implement emergency measures Friday to try to stem the spread of the disease. National Guard members and their vehicles started to appear in downtown Baltimore to assist with the response.

Hogan called on all students returning from spring break to self-quarantine for the next 14 days and avoid people over 60.

“This should not in any way be treated as an extension of spring break,” Hogan said on Twitter. “If you ignore this recommendation, you are endangering yourself and the health of others.”

State officials Friday also closed Motor Vehicle Administration branch offices statewide effective at 4:30 p.m. Friday.

The governor appealed to Congress for direct financial help to be sent to state governments and warned the elderly of scams.

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Hogan, who declared a state emergency on March 5, activated the National Guard a week later. More than 2,000 members of the Guard are expected to be called to duty statewide.

Ricci said Guard units will be engaged in transporting patients, conducting temperature screenings at state facilities, helping local hospitals set up triage tents, and supporting the State Emergency Operations Center and a pilot assessment location at FedEx Field in Prince George’s County.

Lt. Col. Wayde Minami said members of the Guard were being processed into service in small groups and heading out for various missions. While some guard members and their vehicles were spotted on the streets of Baltimore near Camden Yards and a downtown hotel Friday afternoon, no mission has yet been established in the city, Minami said.

Minami said the Guard was working already at the Strategic National Stockpile, a government repository of drugs and medical supplies near Washington.

Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young said he expected Guard units to help with meal distribution to children at city schools and with logistical support of the city’s hospitals.

“I am confident that the deployment of the National Guard will help ensure Baltimore City has everything it needs to fully address COVID-19,” Young said in a news release.

The state’s latest cases were found across nine Maryland counties and Baltimore City. Wicomico and Worcester made the list for the first time Friday, with one positive case each.

The majority of new cases, 18, were confirmed in Montgomery County. Prince George’s County also reported eight new cases. Combined, the two counties have accounted for more than half the state’s number of confirmed cases at 82 total.

The majority of Maryland cases have been reported in people between ages 18 and 64, officials said.

The virus, which has accounted for more than 11,000 deaths worldwide, is said to be more fatal to seniors and those with compromised immune systems.

The state updates the number of cases confirmed each day at 10 a.m. while counties and local jurisdictions may announce cases separate from those confirmed by the state.

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski issued a statement following the announcement of the first death in the county.

“This sad passing is a stark reminder of the seriousness of the crisis we face, nd it breaks my heart to know that this will not be the last life we lose to this pandemic,” he said. “That is why, even as we grieve, we also each need to do our part to reduce the spread and flatten the curve. Stay home. Practice social distancing. Those failing to do their part only add to the toll this crisis will take. We can save lives, but only if we take this seriously and continue to work together.”

On Friday, the governor’s office also released a COVID-19 resource guide listing the new coronavirus-related policies in place around the state.

Financial help

Hogan, in his role as chairman of the National Governors Association, appealed to Congress for direct financial help to be sent to state governments.

The governors need “at least $150 billion in immediate direct aid to the states, with maximum flexibility for governors’ COVID-19 efforts,” Hogan and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo wrote to Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress. Cuomo, a Democrat, is vice chairman of the governors’ association.

“Despite the uncertainty and rapidly-changing nature of this pandemic, governors are working tirelessly to ensure the health and safety of their residents,” Hogan and Cuomo wrote. “To meet this challenge, governors are asking for a new program that would provide unrestricted state fiscal support in addition to traditional funding streams.”

State governments already are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into the coronavirus response effort, they wrote. Having money from the federal government would help in paying unemployment benefits to laid-off workers, helping blunt the negative effects on shuttered businesses, providing education to children, providing child care and maintaining public transportation systems, among other needs, they wrote.

Hogan and Cuomo also asked Congress to increase the share of money that the federal government puts into Medicaid, the joint federal-state health insurance program for the poor and disabled.

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Meanwhile, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said in a Friday Facebook Live webcast that seniors ought to be on the lookout for phone, mail and internet-based scams. He said the office had been made aware of “a series of scams already” related to the coronavirus and emphasized that fraudsters tend to target the elderly.

Seniors usually have more money than younger people, he said, and thus should be on the lookout for any “grandparent scams,” or requests to wire money, purchase gift cards or write checks for people posing as family members in trouble.

“I can promise you, your grandson or granddaughter is not in jail Mexico,” he said. If a family member does happen to be on spring break or out of town, “ask them questions only your grandchild can answer" he said.

Frosh also asked Marylanders to report instances of price gouging, saying the office is "seeing it all over the place, all over the state.” Individuals harboring sanitizers, masks, toilet paper and cases of water have been jacking up the price and selling them for profit, he said. The office was made aware Friday of a case of water selling for $38, he said.

But new legislation passed in emergency fashion this week in the General Assembly provides the attorney general with broader authority to enforce price gouging laws. Hogan already signed the measure into law, which makes it effective immediately, Frosh said.

The law designates products and services for which price gouging is illegal, a list that includes food, fuel, cleaning supplies, medical equipment and medication. Violations can incur penalties of up to $10,000 per violation, Frosh said.

“Up until the day before yesterday, we were powerless to do anything,” he said. “Potential penalties are very high, but our office will do everything we can to aggressively enforce this law against price gouging.”

Those who wish to report instances of price gouging and other ongoing scams are encouraged to contact the attorney general’s office at 410-528-8662 or email photographs and details to consumer@attorneygeneral.gov.

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