BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Maryland has reported tens of thousands of cases of coronavirus in the state and more than 3,600 deaths.
The state positivity rate has been under five percent for a little over two months, and under four percent for nearly a month, officials said.
Gov. Larry Hogan allowed the state to enter Phase Three of the Maryland Roadmap to Recovery Plan at 5 p.m. on Friday, September 4.
Movie theaters and live entertainment venues can open at 50 percent capacity, or up to 100 people at indoor venues, or 250 people at outdoor venues.
All retail stores, as well as churches and houses of worship, will be able to increase capacity from 50 percent to 75 percent.
Gov. Hogan said the law still empowers individual counties to make decisions that are more restricted regarding the timing of Stage 3 reopenings.
Gov. Hogan lifted the initial “stay at home” order that the state was under at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 15. He said Maryland saw a 14-day plateau and decline of hospitalizations, which led him to the decision to transition to a “safer at home” public health advisory.
Gov. Hogan, however, will let each jurisdiction decide the extent to which they reopen. WJZ has compiled a county-by-county breakdown of who is closed and who is open.
“The fight against this deadly disease is far from over. But because of the incredible courage you have shown and the extraordinary sacrifices you have made, Maryland and our nation can now at least begin to slowly recover,” Hogan said.
All 24 jurisdictions in Maryland have cases of coronavirus, although Garrett County has not reported any deaths. Half of the coronavirus deaths are linked to nursing homes in Maryland.
Here’s some background on how coronavirus spread in Maryland and how officials addressed it:
Many of the first people who contracted coronavirus in Maryland had traveled overseas, with several cases linked to an Egyptian cruise line. Since then, community transmission cases were reported, meaning people contracted COVID-19 without traveling abroad.
Gov. Hogan issued a stay home order on March 30, re-defining certain “essential” activities and businesses that can operate. On Wednesday, May 13, however, he issued a Safer at Home public health advisory, allowing for some business to reopen with certain restrictions in place.
All Maryland restaurants, bars, movie theaters and gyms closed at 5 p.m. Monday, March 16. Drive-thru, carry-out and food delivery services remain active.
On March 19, Gov. Hogan ordered all indoor shopping malls and entertainment venues in the state to close. Officials have prohibited visitors at prisons and jails, senior-living facilities and nursing homes. Hospitals have also limited visitors and changed visitor policies.
Certain “low-risk” outdoor activities were allowed again as of May 7, including golfing, tennis, boating, fishing, camping and other outdoor activities. The state also reopened its state parks and beaches, as well as playgrounds, as long as people comply with social distancing measures.
Outdoor dining services, youth camps, outdoor pools, low-contact sports practices and drive-in movie theaters reopened on Friday, March 29 at 5 p.m.
On Wednesday, June 3, Gov. Hogan announced that the state would move to Phase Two of Maryland’s Roadmap to Recovery Plan.
On Tuesday, September 1, Gov. Hogan announced that the state would move to Phase Three of Maryland’s Roadmap to Recovery Plan.
Maryland schools were closed through the rest of the 2019-2020 academic year.
Maryland universities shifted to online-only learning for the rest of the semester. Both high schools and colleges postponed commencement ceremonies or announced virtual ones. High schools canceled proms and senior activities through the end of the school year.
The Preakness has been also been rescheduled to October 3, making it the final leg in the Triple Crown for the first time.
State and local officials are working hard to stop the spread of COVID-19.
- All hospitals across the state must follow more restrictive visitor policies — no visitors under the age of 18; they will be screened for illness before visiting and one adult visitor per patient. Several hospitals have made major changes to their visitor policies.
- Visits to state prisons have also been halted.
- The state has set up resources for the furloughed or laid-off employees to get unemployment.
- There are also grants and funds available to help small business owners.
- 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.
NURSING HOMES OUTBREAK:
Gov. Larry Hogan reported that there are cases or clusters of cases at 278 long-term care facilities and nursing homes in Maryland. Visitors are prohibited at nursing homes, so officials believe that caretakers and staff brought the virus into centers.
To address it, Hogan set up strike teams to help combat the spread.
These strike teams will help treat and test patients at staff at the homes, make sure the homes have the resources and supplies needed and more.
Additionally, he set up bridge teams to provide emergency clinical staffing.
On April 29, he also issued an executive order requiring all staff and residents in all nursing homes and long-term care facilities be tested for COVID-19.
On June 19, Hogan announced that limited outdoor visitation could be allowed at some nursing homes in Maryland.
SCHOOLS & UNIVERSITIES:
- Maryland Public Schools closed through the remainder of of the academic year.
- Universities and colleges moved to online-only classes through the end of the semester. Many have also announced they will open partially this fall with some classes remaining online.
- Some schools have made decisions to stay online for Fall 2020, but some are still waiting to make their decisions.
- Same for universities, many will remain online for Fall 2020.
HOW 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.
WHAT ABOUT TREATMENT OR A VACCINE:
- Several organizations like NIH and private laboratories are working on a coronavirus vaccine.
- Maryland biotech company Novavax says its COVID-19 vaccine trials are showing promise.
- University Of Maryland School Of Medicine COVID-19 vaccine trials will advance to Phase 3