Six new Maryland confirmed coronavirus cases bring state total to 18

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This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), depicts the exterior structure of the coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19. Image courtesy of CDC.

Maryland health officials have confirmed six more cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the state to 18.

Following the announcement Thursday the state identified its first case of community transmission of COVID-19, Gov. Larry Hogan said today officials have “moved on from testing” and are now focused on treating people who contract the virus and slowing the spread of the disease through social distancing.

“Quite frankly, at some point, we’re not going to be arguing about testing. We’re going to be taking care of sick people,” Hogan said during an interview on MSNBC on Friday.

Hogan said the United States is “behind” on testing for the coronavirus.

“Everybody’s trying to work on it, but I don’t believe they can ramp up fast enough,” he added.

Now, Hogan said officials are looking at how to increase hospital capacities and treat a growing number of people who contract the virus.

Hogan, who is chairman of the National Governors Association, also spoke out against finger-pointing and talking about what various officials and agencies could have done better.

“The reality is, yes, we have a problem,” he said. “There’s not enough tests. We’re dealing with that crisis right now in every single one of our states and we’re trying to fix it, and it’s not something we’re going to fix overnight. But I do believe that people are aware of it, they’re trying to address it.”

Hogan added that he believes the federal government “has done an excellent job of reaching out to the states.”

“While they haven’t been able to meet every request or meet every need, just like we’re not able to, they’ve been in communication,” he said.

Hogan joined U.S. Vice President Mike Pence at the White House for a conference call with the nation’s governors Thursday.

Among the new coronavirus cases confirmed in Maryland on Friday, there are two in Prince George’s County, one in Charles County, one in Anne Arundel County, and one in Baltimore County, according to Hogan’s spokesperson Mike Ricci.

Carroll County health officer Ed Singer also announced one confirmed case in that county on Friday.

In total, there have been six confirmed cases in Montgomery County, six in Prince George’s County, two in Baltimore County, and one each in Harford, Anne Arundel, Charles and Carroll counties, since Maryland confirmed its first three coronavirus cases just over a week ago on March 5.

Health officials confirmed the first case of community transmission of the coronavirus in Maryland on Thursday in a Prince George’s County patient, whose case was first announced the previous night.

Before that patient, all individuals who had tested positive for the coronavirus in Maryland had contracted the virus through travel or contact with a known infected person.

That first case of community transmission signaled “a new phase of this crisis in our state,” said Gov. Larry Hogan in a press briefing Thursday afternoon. He said Marylanders should expect the number cases to “dramatically and rapidly rise”

In that briefing, Hogan announced a series of actions his administration was taking to slow the spread of the virus within the state.

His administration closed public schools for two weeks, activated the Maryland National Guard, prohibited gatherings of more than 250 people, closed cruise ship access to the Port of Baltimore, suspended visitation at state prisons and recommended stricter visitation policies at Maryland hospitals. Hogan also delegated day-to-day operations of all non-essential, non-crisis functions of state government to Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford.

Nationwide, there have been at least 1,268 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, including at least 33 deaths and six recoveries, as of 5:20 p.m. Friday, according to a real-time dashboard created by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

Marcus Dieterle

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