COLUMBIA, Md. (WJZ) — Howard County officials announce their first coronavirus case in the county Sunday.

The patient is a woman in her 80s with underlying health conditions, and she is currently hospitalized. She is a resident at Lorien Elkridge, a nursing home facility in Howard County.

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The health department clarified that there are no cases at Lorien Columbia, Lorien Hall Assisted Living and Lorien Encore at Turf Valley in Howard County.

They said there is no additional risk to the public, as the woman hasn’t been out in the public recently. But they are encouraging people to continue the practice of social distancing.

County officials say a state of emergency is in place, and are asking the community to take this seriously.

“Follow the guidance, and stay home as much as possible.” County Executive Calvin Ball said.

At a press conference at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Ball signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency.

Ball announced a number of social distancing measures, including shutting down certain local businesses where large groups gather.

The mall in Columbia is being asked to shut down for the next seven days.

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The Shops at Savage Mill, Regal Snowden Square and AMC Columbia are also being closed down for the next seven days.

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“We have been preparing for this to happen and are following recommendations of the Health Department on how to further slow community spread,” said County Executive Calvin Ball. “Over the past week the State and County have taken significant proactive measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by encouraging social distancing, the cancellation of events, meetings and gatherings, the closing of schools, libraries, and our community college. We will continue to work as a united and unified Howard County government along with our stakeholder partners to ensure that all our residents remain safe, calm and informed.”


County officials are encouraging people to stay the course with social distancing.

Six members of the Howard County Fire Department responded to a medical incident call that was unrelated to coronavirus, and were exposed to the patient.

They are now self-quarantined.

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.