BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A third person that was being tested in Maryland for the coronavirus has tested negative, according to the state health department.

On Thursday, Gov. Larry Hogan confirmed two people who recently traveled to China were being tested for COVID-19, commonly known as coronavirus. That means a total of five people have been tested in Maryland for the virus as of Feb. 29. The first two people tested negative.

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Hogan also announced on Thursday state agencies are working to get ready for a possible spread across Maryland, and will set aside the $10 million for preparedness actions.

“I would encourage all Marylanders not to panic but to take this seriously and to continue to stay informed.” Gov. Hogan said.

He added local schools and daycares should be prepared with contingency plans for potential long-term closures, communities should prepare to cancel or postpone mass gatherings and local businesses should be ready to adjust for possible work-from-home scenarios.

“The public should be assured that our state’s preparedness builds on decades of planning, experience, and expertise gained from previous and ongoing public health events,” Gov. Hogan said.

State health officials said they’re ready to go for testing for the virus once the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gives them the resources and a green light.

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A number of local school districts, including Anne Arundel County Public Schools. have plans in place should the virus become widespread. A spokesperson from the Anne Arundel County district said their plans include having students learn from home using their online accounts should it become necessary.

Meanwhile, at the Port of Baltimore, hours will be cut starting Monday at the city’s Seagirt Marine Terminal. Due to a reduction in the global supply chain, hours at the other five terminals will remain the same.

Health officials stress now is the time to remind the public of safe habits.

“Wash your hands frequently, cover your coughs, if you’re sick please don’t come to work, do not send your children to school,” said Fran Phillips with the Maryland Department of Health.

Click here for more on the coronavirus. Below are tips from Gov. Hogan’s office:


What can Marylanders do to prepare? 

Though the public health threat here in Maryland and across the United States remains low, you can take very basic steps to help keep yourself and your loved ones healthy.

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  • Stay informed — Visit cdc.gov for the most recent general updates and health.maryland.gov for the latest information on COVID-19 in Maryland.
  • Practice everyday actions to promote good health and prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19:
    • Wash your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or soap and water
    • Cover your mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
    • If you are sick, stay home from work or school
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Build a preparedness kit for your home in case you are sick with any respiratory virus and need to stay at home. See health.maryland.gov for details. Examples include:
    • Pain relievers, fever reducers, decongestants, and cough drops
    • Alcohol–based hand sanitizer
    • Thermometer
    • Facial tissues, paper products
    • Nonperishable food
    • Extended supply of prescription medications
    • Diapers or pet supplies if needed
  • There is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, but you should get a flu shot — it’s not too late. It will not prevent COVID-19, but getting a flu shot will help keep you and your loved ones healthy as we continue to see widespread flu.

Visit health.maryland.gov/coronavirus for up-to-date information and resources, including the latest information on COVID-19 status in Maryland.

Paul Gessler