UNDATED — Information on COVID-19, the novel corona virus that erupted in Wuhan Province China at the start of 2020, has shown itself to be a fast-moving, highly contagious disease.
As scientists and medical experts learn more the information evolves quickly. However thanks to social media the wrong information spreads just as fast as the virus itself. With almost 40 confirmed cases in Maryland officials at every level have been scrambling to shut down schools, offices, public entertainment and other venues to quell the spread.
The most important message is this one: If you have flu like symptoms: cough, fever over 100.4, respiratory distress: seek medial care. Call your doctor for guidance. There are 9,000 hospital beds available now with another 6,000 being added for acute care. Social distancing and self-isolation are also important practices for personal and public health. Experts and CDC officials have warned those who are high-risk populations, including the elderly and those with immunocompromised systems. These people should consider self-isolating and social distancing at this time.
Gov. Larry Hogan and county and other officials have so far made the following decisions, as of March 16 at 3 p.m.:
-Gatherings of 50 or more people are prohibited. This includes recreation, religious, and sports gatherings.
- All evictions from rental properties in the state are suspended for as long we are under a state of emergency.
- Utilities, including electric, gas, water, Cable/TV/Internet providers, and cell phone providers are prohibited from disconnecting service during state of emergency and may not charge late fees.
- All bars, restaurants, movie theaters, and gyms were to close by 5pm Monday. Carry out, drive-thru, and delivery services may remain open, but sit-down dining is not allowed.
- Essential services such as grocery stores, banks, pharmacies, and gas stations will remain open.
- Students who normally receive free or reduced-fee school lunches may now receive 3 meals and a snack each day from one of the locations in Cecil County: Cecilton and Cecil Manor Elementary, Elkton High School, Holly Hall Elementary, Janes United Methodist Church and North East, Perryville and Thomson Estates Elementary Schools have pick ups from 11 a.m. until noon Monday through Friday.
- All Cecil and Harford County Library locations will be closed and all programs cancelled through March 30.
- Maryland officials are in talks on how to hold a mail-in only election for the April 28 primary, should it become necessary.
- All jury trials in the Maryland state court system will be suspended beginning until at least Friday, April 3.
- All federal court jury trials through April 24 are postponed.
- Maryland's Health Benefits Exchange is beginning a special enrollment period, specifically for the coronavirus.
-250 State Troopers have been activated for emergency service, along with 400 Army and Air National Guard already activated, 1000 more MD National Guard activated today. Another 1200 Maryland guardsmen are on enhanced readiness status and are ready to respond.
- Maryland Department of Health has been ordered to open all closed hospitals to increase the number of beds available for 6,000 patients. Some 700 Maryland Medical Reservists will be activated to provide care. Any out of state medical professionals can now practice in Maryland to assist with medical care.