Maryland governor issues ‘stay at home’ directive

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued a “stay-at-home” directive Monday in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Hogan said the region around the nation’s capital, which includes Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, has reached “a critical turning point in the fight to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.” The stay-at-home order was going into effect at 8 p.m. Monday.

“No Maryland resident should be leaving their home unless it is for an essential job or for an essential reason, such as obtaining food or medicine, seeking urgent medical attention or for other necessary purposes,” Hogan said at a news conference.

Maryland has had at least 1,413 confirmed cases of the virus. Hogan said confirmed cases have increased 397% in the past week in Maryland. Also, he said the number of deaths tripled from five to 15 over the weekend.

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Hogan said the new order doesn’t mean people are “locked in their homes,” but he said people should use common sense and stay home “except for essential and necessary things.”

“You should be able to get outside for your own physical and mental well-being and go for a walk and take your dog for a walk,” Hogan said.

Maryland’s corrections department reported its first confirmed cases of the coronavirus, including an inmate and two noncorrectional contract employees, the department said. The three are associated with correctional facilities in Baltimore and Jessup, Maryland.

Hogan noted an outbreak at the Pleasant View Nursing Home, where 67 residents have tested positive and a man in his 90s has died. The governor said 27 members of the Mount Airy facility’s staff were experiencing symptoms. The facility was rated “much below average” by Medicare, largely because of staffing.

Hogan said there were smaller outbreaks at other nursing homes, as well as at senior centers, hospitals, and other “sensitive locations.”

The governor also noted an outbreak at the Clifton T. Perkins psychiatric hospital in Howard County.

Meanwhile, the Maryland State Police charged Ryan Serra, 26, of Lutherville, Maryland, both with violating a previous executive order of the governor’s relating to gatherings and providing alcohol to teens during a party he hosted Sunday at a hotel in Carroll County, the department said in a news release.

Hogan, who chairs the National Governors Association, said governors would continue pressing for scarce supplies to fight the virus, such as personal protective gear.

“I spent the weekend talking to people at the federal level, also pushing to get some of these supplies everywhere we can find them on the open market and around the world, not just here domestically, but there simply are not enough of all of these things, which is the greatest tragedy of this crisis,” Hogan said.

Hogan also said he would continue pressing the federal government to designate the region around the nation’s capital as a priority location for a federally supported virus testing site.

“The Washington region is where national leaders are actually fighting this battle for the nation, and this region is about to be hit with the virus in the same way that some other major metropolitan areas have been,” Hogan said.

While it took nearly three weeks for the region to go from zero to 1,000 cases, Hogan said it took just three days for the region to more than double from 1,000 to more than 2,500 cases.

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Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.

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