A third Baltimorean dies from COVID-19, Young urges residents to stay home

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Mayor Young speaks outside City Hall on March 31. Image via the mayor’s office.

A third Baltimore resident has died from coronavirus, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young announced Tuesday afternoon.

The woman was in her 70s. On Saturday, the Maryland Department of Health announced a Baltimore woman in her 60s and another in her 80s, both of whom had underlying conditions, were the first in the city to die from the virus.

City officials urged residents to follow Gov. Larry Hogan’s “stay at home” order and, if making an essential trip, to follow social distancing guidelines to maintain six feet of space while in public to slow the spread of the disease.

“This is a tragic reminder of the dangers associated with COVID-19, and it’s why we all must take the social distancing order seriously,” Young said.

The order allows for trips to get food and booze (including at restaurants and bars), pick up medicine or visit a doctor–and it even allows for regular exercising outside so long as people socially distance.

But Young was more stern, saying any trip outside could harm family members, loved ones and roommates, as well as anyone people come into contact with outside.

“We really need everyone to stay home, period,” he said.

As of this morning, Baltimore has 187 confirmed cases of COVID-19, up 146 confirmed cases over the last week, Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa said.

By self-isolating inside, Baltimoreans can slow the spread of the disease and keep the local health system from getting overwhelmed, Young said.

Dzirasa also once again advised residents to wash their hands with warm water and soap, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer, cough or sneeze into a tissue and to clean high-touch points around the home.

Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison also offered a few details about how the department would enforce the order, saying officers have used a recorded audio message to disperse crowds.

Both he and Young said they’ve driven around the city and seen very few people congregating in public. And anyone who’s been asked to follow the order has done so voluntarily, Harrison said.

The commissioner said the department has not advised officers on patrol to stop people on the street to make sure their trip is essential. Instead, police have been focusing on complaints. There were reportedly 400 calls to report a violation statewide.

“We are not just stopping to check just yet,” Harrison said.

Harrison said the BPD is developing a comprehensive plan to tell residents how they’ll enforce the order. The department is working to increase visibility in the streets, he said.

The commissioner also stressed that police will continue to enforce the law, pointing to the fatal shooting of an armed man in Broadway East on Monday night. Officers were responding to an alert from ShotSpotter and saw the man who officers believed “had been firing that weapon in this block,” Harrison told The Sun.

The newspaper identified the shooting officer as Sgt. Joe Wiczulis and reported this was the fifth time he had shot and killed someone in the last decade.

A relative of the man who was shot and killed, Etonne Tanzymore, told the paper he was running for safety along with relatives.

Brandon Weigel


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