ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Gov. Larry Hogan urged Marylanders Wednesday to take precautions as coronavirus cases surge across the country.

The governor spoke before the State Spending Board as concerns grow about a potential economic fallout as a result of the virus.

“With a potential fall and winter surge, which we hear a lot of our experts talking about, which could be devastating to the economy,” Gov. Hogan said. “Further devastation.”

CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE:

This comes one day after Maryland released a preliminary plan about who will get a coronavirus vaccine first as soon as it becomes available.

Healthcare workers and the vulnerable, like those in nursing homes, will be at the top of the list.

Everyone will be encouraged to pre-register online to find out when they can get vaccinated.

“Maryland is trying to plan and look ahead,” Maryland state treasurer Nancy Kopp said. “I just hope we have the opportunity to actually use a vaccine.”

Former Baltimore health commissioner, Dr. Leana Wen, said that the virus is going to get worse.

“We are on the verge of exponential explosive spread across the U.S.,” Dr. Wen said.

In Baltimore, the positivity rate is on the rise. The highest is in the 21209 zip code in the northwest part of the city.

“Anytime you leave your house, there is a risk,” Baltimore health commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa said. “But some situations are more risky than others.”

The economic concerns are urgent, too. Maryland state comptroller Peter Franchot said a staggering 30,000 small businesses have closed or will close soon.

“They all tell me one thing over and over again,” Franchot said. “We need help.”

Franchot urged Gov. Hogan to use some of the $500 million in the state’s reserve fund to help small businesses.

Gov. Hogan has asked federal lawmakers to put their differences aside and pass a stimulus bill.

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.

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