Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said he is working on slowing the spread of the coronavirus and counteracting the economic ramifications. As of Friday, there are 2,758 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the state, and 42 people have died.
Positive cases have tripled in the last week, with cases in every county. Hogan also said 159 people have recovered and been released from isolation. Half of the cases are people under the age of 50 including five infants.
"We simply don't know just how bad things are going to get or exactly how long this is going to last," Hogan said.
Health officials are recommending that Marylanders wear masks to limit the spread of the virus. Those on the front lines in hospitals should be using N-95 masks and anyone else can be using surgical or cloth masks to stop droplets carrying disease from spreading.
Health officials are also working to equip hospitals with the necessary supplies to treat patients.
"We are scouring this state for all the possible ventilators we can put into use," said Fran Phillips the deputy secretary of the Maryland Department of Health.
Hogan said he signed emergency legislation to expand telehealth across the state. Patients can communicate with their doctors via phone, video call or email.
On Monday, drive-thru testing sites in Glen Burnie, Waldorf and Bel Air opened at emissions inspections stations. Additional facilities are open at White Oak in Montgomery County.
Secretary of Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services Robert Green said individuals in correctional facilities across the state are working on making personal protective equipment. They have made 4,000 masks and 5,000 face shields so far. They also just finalized the formula to make 41 cases of hand sanitizer.
The state is now requiring that all people working in nursing homes and assisted living facilities wear personal protective equipment if they are in direct contact with patients. The state has 60 nursing homes with at least one confirmed case.
Citizens across the states are stepping up to combat the spread of the virus. More than 4,000 people have signed up to volunteer through the medical reserve corps.
Hogan announced an executive order Friday that would prohibit mortgage lenders from initiating foreclosures and provide additional flexibility to borrowers agreed to by banks and lenders. All executive state agencies will suspend debt collection. This is all part of a $175 million business relief program.
Additionally, commercial and industrial evictions are now prohibited, cars trucks and mobile homes cannot be repossessed.
Hogan also said the deadline for income and property taxes has been extended to July 15.
Hogan announced a stay-at-home order Monday, urging all Maryland residents to only travel outside their home for essential reasons such as getting food, seeking medical care and exercising.