BALTIMORE (WJZ) — With coronavirus cases continuing to grow in Maryland, there’s a lot of information out there flooding social media.

So we’ve created a place where you can find all the information you may need in one place. So whether you need help, want to help or don’t know where to start we have what you need below.

 

CORONAVIRUS FACTS:

COVID-19, more commonly known as coronavirus, is a respiratory disease that emerged in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Symptoms include cough, fever and shortness of breath. In severe cases, people have died from the disease.

The new coronavirus spreads person-to-person and can only be detected with a lab test.

There is no vaccine for coronavirus. Instead, people are asked to wash their hands, cough into their sleeves or elbows and practice social distancing, staying six feet away from other people.

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CORONAVIRUS TESTING:

In Maryland, widespread COVID-19 testing is not available and there is a limited supply of tests. People who are not sick cannot get tested. If you’re showing symptoms or were in contact with a positive coronavirus patient, you’re first asked to call your primary care physician. PCPs will refer you to get tested, if needed. However, most PCPs are asking relatively healthy, younger patients to self-quarantine for 14 days and only call 911 if symptoms get worse or if you have trouble breathing.

Where to get tested: Right now most tests are being conducted at hospitals with patients who have severe symptoms and have been checked-in. However, several Maryland healthcare providers are also offering testing at a number of locations, list below.

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SMALL BUSINESSES:

Many small businesses and even corporations have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan ordered all non-essential businesses to close, only allowing restaurants and bars to offer carry-out, drive-thru or delivery as options. Banks, grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores, and big-box stores, like Target and Walmart, are open to customers. Many have started following their own safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Although the closures have caused businesses to lose money and in some cases layoff employees, there’s some good news: Maryland officials have grants and funds available to help businesses stay afloat, even paying employees’ salaries in the interim.

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UNEMPLOYMENT

Unfortunately, so many businesses have had to close their doors, they haven’t been able to keep employees. Gov. Hogan announced that anyone who’s lost hours, temporarily lost their job or was laid off can immediately apply for unemployment insurance. Pratt Libraries is also offering help for those searching for jobs.

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WHERE TO GET FREE MEALS OR FOOD ASSISTANCE

Every school-aged child can get a free meal at a number of locations around Maryland. As for adults and families, there are also several options for food assistance. Those in low-income households can apply for SNAP, more commonly known as food stamps. You can apply here based on your income. There’s also the Maryland Food Bank and many local groups are collecting food for distribution. If you need help, you can call 211 for information.

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WHAT’S OPEN, WHAT’S CLOSED

Essential businesses like grocery stores, pharmacies, pet supply stores, hardware stores, big box stores like Target and Walmart and even liquor stores are considered essential businesses. Gas stations and places like Wawa, Starbucks, 7-Eleven and Royal Farms also remain open, though they are stopping many grab-and-go options. Daycares, run by the state for those essential workers, are the only ones open. Veterinarians are also open in case of pet-related needs.

Restaurants and bars did have to close their dining rooms but are open for carry-out, delivery and drive-thru service only.

Salons, spas, gyms, yoga and dance studios, retail clothing and shoe stores, libraries, courthouses, county and state government buildings, movie theaters, entertainment and concert venues, state parks, beaches and other state or federally-owned facilities are all closed to the public. You should check your town or county website for details.

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SCHOOLS & UNIVERSITIES

Students in Maryland are also having to adjust during the pandemic. Colleges and universities moved to online learning, many already closing campus for the semester. Study abroad programs were also suspended.

As for K-12, after officials closed schools through March 27, they recently decided to extend the closure to April 24.

Although students with computer or tablet access have been able to do some learning with the help of teachers, students without access were given packets of work to complete. However, none of the assignments will be graded.

Every Maryland student does have access to free meals. A list of those meal pickup locations can be found here. 

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HOW TO HELP

Although officials are asking people to quarantine and stay away from large crowds there are still ways to help.

Gov. Hogan launched a site called Maryland Unites so that people could find organizations that need their help. The Maryland Medical Reserve Corps is looking for volunteers to help once the state opens coronavirus testing facilities. Meals on Wheels and the Red Cross also need help.

You can also support small businesses during their time in need by ordering food or other items online.

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