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Gov. Hogan activates National Guard, closes Maryland public schools for 2 weeks

As part of state's drastic COVID-19 response, Maryland schools are closing for 2 weeks (ABC7)
As part of state's drastic COVID-19 response, Maryland schools are closing for 2 weeks (ABC7)
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All public schools in Maryland will be closed between March 16 and March 27 as part of the state's drastic response to COVID-19.

This was announced by state officials at a Thursday afternoon press conference.

Gov. Larry Hogan announced earlier on Thursday that the first case of community transmission of the coronavirus in Maryland had been reported.

The Prince George’s County resident had no known exposure through travel or an infected person, he said.

“The first case of COVID-19 community transmission in Maryland means we are entering a new phase of working to mitigate and limit the spread of this pandemic,” Hogan said in a statement. “What we are seeing now is what we have been anticipating and preparing for over the last several weeks.”

There were 12 confirmed cases in Maryland at the time of Hogan's 4 p.m. Thursday, March 12 press conference.

"We should expect the number of cases to dramatically and rapidly rise," Hogan said at that conference. Hogan says he's taken these steps to prevent further spread of COVID-19:

  • All schools closed between March 16 and March 27
  • Directed the Maryland Emergency Management Agency to move to its highest activation level
  • Enacted an executive order to activate the National Guard
  • All non-essential state employees who are approved to telework will be required to do so
  • Public access to state buildings restricted
  • Executive order prohibiting social, community, religious, recreational or sports gatherings or events of more than 250 people
  • Cruise ship terminal at Port of Baltimore closed (except for two ships scheduled to return in the coming days)
  • Maryland prisons will not allow visitors

Maryland hospitals have started setting up triage tents to prepare for a potential increase in patients.

John Lazarou, a spokesman for the Greater Baltimore Medical Center, wrote in an email that tents have been deployed, though the medical center is still in preparation stages.

The University of Maryland Medical System’s COVID-19 Incident Command leadership has suggested that hospitals consider setting up their triage tents as an exercise, so staff could refresh their skills around the tent operation in case of a surge in patient volume, Michael Schwartzberg, a spokesman for the system, wrote in an email.

For most people, the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more serve illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.

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The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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