CommunityWilliam J. Ford

Hogan Ramps Up Coronavirus Restrictions, Announces State’s 1st Child Case: ‘Trying to Avoid Locking Down Society’

ANNAPOLIS — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Thursday the state currently has 107 confirmed novel coronavirus cases, including a 5-year-old girl in Howard County — the state’s first case of a child testing positive.

He issued an executive order to prohibit gatherings of 10 or more people, based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All shopping malls and entertainment venues must be closed by 5 p.m.

In addition, the state’s transportation department will limit entry into Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport to “ticketed passengers” and employees with badges only. People who are assisting disabled passengers will be allowed inside.

Essential travel on Amtrak and MARC trains and Metro’s trains and buses will be limited to emergency personnel, front-line health care providers, and essential employees.

Also, Morgan State and Johns Hopkins universities and McDaniel College all plan to complete the spring semesters through online or virtual learning. Hogan said he encourages the University of Maryland System to ask all colleges and universities to follow suit.

Approximately 900 new beds have been made immediately available for coronavirus patients with additional space at Mercy Hospital in Baltimore. Hogan said an additional 1,400 beds could be available by early next month in other hospitals and other facilities.

Maryland has been in a state of emergency for the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, since March 5. On Wednesday, state officials announced Maryland’s first coronavirus death, a Prince George’s County man in his 60s who had underlying health problems.

Messages were displayed on digital billboards Wednesday above southbound I-95 in Glenarden to discourage travel.

The first message stated, “Save lives now. Health.Maryland.Gov. #COVID19.” A second one said, “Save lives now. Stay home. #COVID19.”

However, Hogan said some people haven’t paid attention.

“Some people are treating this like a vacation, or a spring break with parties and cookouts and large gatherings at some of our parks,” he said. “If you are engaged in this type of activity, you are in violation of state law and you are endangering the lives of your fellow Marylanders.”

Hogan also issued two other executive orders: trucks to exceed weight limits so drivers can deliver supplies to hospitals; and allowing for delivery and carryout sales of alcohol by bars, restaurants, distilleries and wineries.

He said the state now has more than 350 sites where students can receive meals. Locally, about 36 are in Prince George’s County.

“We’re trying to avoid locking down society and we’re trying to keep things as normal as possible,” he said. “This truly is one of the most daunting challenges that our state has ever faced, but sometimes the worst times have a way of bringing out the very best in people. Marylanders are a shining example of that.”

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William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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