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As Baltimore records third coronavirus death, police say they’re ready to enforce ‘stay-at-home’ order

A third Baltimore resident has died from the new coronavirus, officials announced Tuesday, as police work to enforce a statewide “stay-at-home” order.

Democratic Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young said the latest death, a woman in her 70s, is a “tragic reminder” of the dangers associated with the highly contagious respiratory illness caused by the virus. He urged residents to stay home and take the pandemic seriously.

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“This is our chance to save lives in our city,” Young said.

The news came less than 24 hours after Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s latest executive order went into effect, requiring residents to stay at home except for essential activities.

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Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said the department is prepared to enforce the order, although police have not been instructed to arbitrarily stop people on the street to do so.

“We want to encourage voluntary compliance,” he said. “When we find that people are not voluntarily complying, then the instructions will be to make a physical arrest. We are working very hard in a proactive way to get voluntary compliance."

Harrison said the department will investigate complaints about residents flouting the mandate.

Across the state, law enforcement officials have responded to more than 400 calls for individuals violating the order. Violators can face a $5,000 fine and a year in jail.

The commissioner also said that roughly 40 officers are self-quarantining for various reasons, including some who travelled internationally and others who may have been exposed to someone exhibiting symptoms. Only one officer has so far tested positive for COVID-19, Harrison said.

Two members of the Fire Department also contracted the illness. Fire Chief Niles Ford said Tuesday that nearly 20 department recruits are self-quarantining because one of their peers showed symptoms.

There are 187 confirmed cases in Baltimore City, and 1,660 across the state.

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