ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland has its first case of COVID-19 community transmission, according to Gov. Larry Hogan’s office.
The patient, whose case was first announced Wednesday night, is a Prince George’s County resident and had no known exposure to coronavirus through travel or an infected individual.
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The governor said this first case of community transmission in Maryland means the state is entering a new phase to mitigate and limit the spread of the pandemic.
“What we are seeing now is what we have been anticipating and preparing for over the last several weeks,” he said in a tweet Thursday.
As the coronavirus outbreak has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, the state of Maryland is under a state of emergency.
There are currently 12 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Maryland.
Deputy Maryland Health Secretary Fran Phillips said three of the patients who tested positive in Maryland are now “fully recovered” and past their quarantine period. Two patients remain hospitalized.
— Mike Hellgren (@HellgrenWJZ) March 12, 2020
One of the most recent patients is a Montgomery Country resident in his 20s who recently traveled to Spain. He is not hospitalized.
Another patient is a Baltimore County resident in his 60s who worked at the recent American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference in Washington D.C. He is not hospitalized.
Public schools in Maryland will close for two weeks starting Monday, just one of several unprecedented measures state officials are taking to stop the spread of COVID-19.
“The measures that I have announced today will be disruptive to your everyday lives. They may sound extreme. They may sound frightening. But they could be the difference in saving lives,” Hogan said at the State House Thursday afternoon.
State schools superintendent Dr. Karen Salmon said schools will be disinfected during that time.
“I am recommending that days for Spring Break be used for make-up days for the school closure,“ Dr. Salmon told reporters.
The governor also ordered Cruise Maryland to temporarily shut down, with an exception for two ships scheduled to dock in the coming days.
He severely restricted visits to nursing homes, hospitals and prisons. He also closed state buildings to the public.
This follows what the governor called a “new phase” of the coronavirus outbreak after Maryland reported its first case that was transmitted in the community, not by travel.
Maryland hospitals are preparing for an influx of patients as well, setting up triage tents to prepare for a potential increase in patients due to coronavirus.