By Mike Hellgren

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — More than 42,000 unemployment insurance claims were filed in Maryland last week as more companies have shut down or limited operations due to state orders to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Claims rose to 42,334 cases for the week ending March 21,  up almost 1,000 percent from the week before.

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Baltimore County had the most claims filed at more than 6,500; Baltimore City had 5,392 claims filed.

The week before when the state really began cracking down on non-essential businesses including restaurants and bars that depend on hourly workers, 3,852 claims were filed.

A majority of the claims were filed online.

Nationwide claims have soared to more than 3 million from 281,000 the previous week and well above the previous record of 695,000.


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Maryland’s Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson urged patience, particularly with slow connections to the federal website. She said people should try to file claims very early or late in the day.

“We understand the frustration of some Marylanders because systems are crashing,” she said. “We are receiving thousands of claims every single day right now.”

Gov. Larry Hogan ordered all bars, restaurants, movie theaters and gyms around Maryland to be shut down as more cases were reported across the state that week on Monday, March 16. By then, there were 42 positive cases of the coronavirus. Schools were also temporarily shut down until March 27- that closure has been extended to April 24.

Fast forward to almost two weeks later, there are now over 400 cases in Maryland.

On March 23, the governor ordered that all “non-essential businesses” had to be shut down by 5 p.m. that day. This includes jobs at salons, dry cleaners, entertainment venues, and more jobs that weren’t deemed to be essential reasons for leaving the house by the state.

For those trying to file an unemployment insurance claim, you can do so here.

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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.