ANNAPOLIS (WJZ) — Maryland state lawmakers and health officials are readying themselves for a potential outbreak of the coronavirus. Three people are currently being tested but there are no cases confirmed in the state.
Governor Larry Hogan assured the state that they are ready for any confirmed cases.
“While we are hoping for the best, we are also actively planning for the worst.” Gov. Hogan said.
Emergency room Dr. Jesse Irwin says people should avoid hand-to-hand contact and that masks may not be the way to protect yourself.
“As far as the wearing a regular over-the-counter one of those light blue masks as a precaution, I don’t think there’s much utility to that.” Dr. Irwin said.
Health officials insist the state is still at low risk for the coronavirus, but doctors do advise taking precautions.
“This is the virus there is no specific treatment or cure at this point and so really common sense things like hand washing or staying home from work when you’re sick are really the best things you can do.” Dr. Irwin said.
Local universities are taking precautions as well, suspending their travel abroad programs. Towson University is recalling all faculty, staff and students in Italy and asking them to self-quarantine.
University of Maryland is suspending their programs in China and South Korea.
“The way that this new coronavirus is spread is exactly the way the influenza is spread.” said Fran Phillips, with Maryland Public Health Services.
A flu outbreak sickened 82 people onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship that returned to Baltimore last week, prompting the cruise line to isolate them. None of them, however, met the criteria for the coronavirus.
President Trump said he plans on meeting with pharmaceutical companies Monday to discuss creating a vaccine, and while Maryland officials stress they don’t want anyone to panic, they do want people to get informed and prepared.