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Baltimore officials: Services suspended at senior centers, large city events canceled

Baltimore will suspend services at its senior centers to proactively protect residents from the new coronavirus, officials announced Thursday, and will cancel all large city-permitted events through the end of March.

Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young confirmed in a news conference that there are still no known cases of COVID-19 in Baltimore, but with Maryland reporting its first case of the novel coronavirus unrelated to travel, Young said it’s time for a new phase of preparations.

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Senior centers will temporarily cancel their scheduled classes, events and other special services, but will still provide boxed meals for elderly residents to take home. About 10,000 people in Baltimore use these facilities.

Baltimore will also cancel all events of more than 250 people that require a city permit. Already, the St. Patrick Day Parade and other major celebrations have been called off. The mayor announced Wednesday he would postpone his State of the City address, originally scheduled for March 23 at Coppin State University.

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Young also issued guidance encouraging people to keep their distance from one another, wash their hands often and avoid touching their faces.

For people who still plan to hold private events, Young’s administration recommended they maintain a registration list. This will help health officials track people down if someone later develops COVID-19 after attending an event.

The Baltimore Health Department said Thursday it is not yet recommending the closure of schools or recreation centers.

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