ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — A five-year-old girl is among the latest patients of coronavirus in Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan announced, just a day after the state reported its first death. It’s the first case of a child contracting COVID-19 in Maryland.
According to Howard County officials, the girl is at home recuperating. The school superintendent said the child was a student at Elkridge Elementary School. Officials said she did not contract the virus while in school, so she did not expose staff or other students.
“I was deeply saddened last night to hear of Maryland’s first death due to coronavirus,” Howard County Executive Calvin Ball said, asking for prayers for the man’s family. He then said he learned about the state’s first pediatric case this morning and confirmed it was a 5-year-old from Howard County.
“We are going to continue to see more cases and families impacted,” Ball said.
Howard County School Superintendent, Dr. Michael Martirano, said this incident hit close to home.
“It saddens me greatly to know that this pandemic has hit this close to home,” Martirano said.
Dr. Maura Rossman said the student was not an exposure risk to children or staff at the school.
“The child was evaluated and sent home to recuperate,” Rossman said. “Given the timeframe of onset, the child was not an exposure risk to children and staff at school.”
Howard County officials declared a state of emergency Sunday and closed malls and movie theaters. On Wednesday, officials closed public access to county buildings as well.
On Thursday, Ball announced that the county was closing all park gates to prevent large crowds, gatherings at the parks. He encouraged smaller groups of people to walk or play in the park, but they have closed also the playground equipment.
“This is the time to stay home,” the county health officer Dr. Maura J. Rossman said, after discussing the state’s first pediatric COVID-19 case.
The number of cases in the state has gone up by 88% in the past 48 hours. There are now more than 107 cases of coronavirus in the state. There are more than 220 cases of coronavirus in the DMV region and more than 9,000 cases across the country.
— Mike Hellgren (@HellgrenWJZ) March 19, 2020
Gov. Hogan also announced another round of sweeping measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Maryland, including travel restrictions, online instruction at universities, more hospital beds and a ban on gatherings of more than 10 people in all locations.
“Despite all of our repeated warnings for weeks and despite the rapid escalation of this virus across our state, the region, the nation and the world, some people are treating this like a vacation, or a spring break with parties and cookouts and large gatherings at some of our parks,” Hogan said. ” Let me be very clear: 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.”
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Hogan said the Prince George’s County man who died was in his 60s and he was infected with the virus via community transmission, meaning he did not travel abroad.
“I know all Marylanders join me in praying for his family and his loved ones,” the governor said. “Unfortunately we are only at the beginning of this crisis. And while this is the first death here in Maryland, unfortunately, it will not be the last.”
“That’s why here in Maryland I’m continuing to take whatever actions are necessary to protect the health of millions of Marylanders and to save thousands of lives,” Hogan said.
Officials have added signage to all modes of transportation across the state urging Marylanders to stay home.
“No one, no one should get on a MARC train, metro, Amtrak train or bus or any of our transportation assets unless you are emergency personnel, a front-line healthcare provider or your job is essential to the supply chain,” Hogan said.