Coronavirus update: Md. Gov. Larry Hogan issues ‘stay at home’ order; FEMA grants DC disaster declaration

Coronavirus update: Md. Gov. Larry Hogan issues ‘stay at home’ order; FEMA grants DC disaster declaration

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has issued a “stay at home” order, directing Maryland residents not to leave their homes unless it’s for an “essential” purpose, such as getting food or medicine or going to work at a job that’s been deemed essential.

The latest

  • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has issued a “stay at home” order, directing Maryland residents not to leave their homes unless it’s for an “essential” purpose, such as getting food or medicine or reporting for work that is deemed essential.
  • Coronavirus cases in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia hit more than 2,800 — more than quadrupling over the past week.
  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency has granted D.C. a major disaster declaration in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • A new screening site set up by the Maryland National Guard opens at FedEx Field in Prince George’s County. The new site is by appointment only.
  • The organizers of D.C.’s LGBTQ pride celebration in June say the annual event will be postponed. A statement from the board of director of the Capital Pride Alliance says new dates for the event “if applicable” will be announced in the coming weeks.

Md. Gov. Larry Hogan orders residents to stay at home

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has issued a “stay at home” order, directing Maryland residents not to leave their homes unless it’s for an “essential” purpose, such as getting food or medicine or going to work at a job that’s been deemed essential.

“This is a public health crisis. We are no longer asking or suggesting that Marylanders stay at home. We are directing them to do so,” Hogan said at a Monday news conference.

The stay at home order goes into effect at 8 p.m. Monday, Hogan said. A wireless emergency alert will be sent to the cellphones of Maryland residents on Monday about the stay-at-home order, Hogan said.

Hogan made the announcement amid a continuing dramatic spike in the number of coronavirus cases in the broader D.C. region — more than 2,800 as Monday morning. Positive cases increased by more than 1,000 over the weekend, alone.

Speaking at the news conference Monday, Hogan said; “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 medical attention or for other necessary purposes.”

The text of the governor’s order lays out the parameters of the directive. Among the essential activities listed in the order include traveling for work that has been deemed essential (which includes restaurant delivery and pickup) and traveling to care for a family member, friend or even pet at another household or location.

Also allowed is engaging in outdoor exercise activities, such as walking, hiking, running or biking. However, people exercising outdoors should maintain social distancing practices and, even outdoors, gatherings of 10 or more people are prohibited.

Read:What’s allowed under Hogan’s stay at home order”

“People are not locked in their homes,” Hogan said at the news conference. “We’re just telling people that they need to stay in their homes except for essential and necessary things.”

He added: “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. You should not be going out with a crowd of 100 people congregating in a park somewhere … If your plumbing is leaking all over your house and you have to go out and do something about fixing that — that’s probably a necessary function. But you shouldn’t be out shopping for new carpets or cabinets or, you know, buying furniture or clothing. You should be buying the necessary things you need to survive.”

Failure to comply with the order is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail or a $5,000 fine or both, Hogan said.

Earlier this month, Hogan ordered nonessential businesses to close and banned public gatherings of 10 people or more.

Speaking Monday, Hogan said even businesses that are deemed essential and that are remaining open “must also make every effort to scale down their operations in order to reduce the number of required staff to limit in person interaction with customers as much as they are able to, and to institute telework for as much of the workforce as is practical.”

Hogan said he has already directed state and local law enforcement to step up enforcement of the ban on large gatherings. Last week, a Charles County man who hosted a bonfire for about 60 people was arrested after he refused to break up the party.

FEMA grants DC disaster declaration

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has granted D.C. a major disaster declaration in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chris Rodriguez, the District’s director of homeland security and emergency management, said at a Monday briefing.

Mayor Muriel Bowser explained that the declaration increases the share of D.C.’s response expenses that they can request from the federal government in reimbursement. Rodriguez called it “a critical part” of the District’s efforts to respond to the health crisis.

Bowser also said that drive-through and walkup testing sites, for people whose doctors have prescribed a test, will be set up by the end of the week at the United Medical Center, and that registration information is coming.

Bowser also said a testing site for first responders — police officers, firefighters and correctional officers — will open Monday. First responders will be told when and where the testing is being done when they receive referrals from their doctors.

Kevin Donahue, the deputy mayor for public safety, gave the numbers for D.C. first responders and inmates:

  • Fire and EMS: 14 members of the D.C. Fire and EMS Department have tested positive; 177 are self-quarantining.
  • Police: 5 officers are positive; 161 are self-quarantining.
  • Department of Corrections: 1 officer has tested positive and 71 are quarantining, while four D.C. Jail inmates positive and 83 are quarantined.

The District has had 401 cases of COVID-19 with nine deaths as of Monday morning. “We haven’t seen the peak of the spread of the infection” or of deaths, Bowser said, adding that five members of her staff are self-quarantining after having had close contact with George Valentine, the deputy director of Bowser’s Office of Legal Counsel, who died last week of the virus.

Rodriguez also said that residential street sweeping and sweeping-related ticket enforcement; rush-hour ticketing (from 7-9 a.m. and 4-6 p.m.); tickets for expired license plates and inspection stickers, and booting and towing related to parking enforcement are all suspended.

He said that restaurant pickup and drop-off zones are being set up in 20 locations across the District, and that parking enforcement is in effect for those zones.

Bowser also called on Jackie Reyes-Yanes, the director of her Office of Latino Affairs, to tell residents in English and Spanish that D.C. first responders will not ask about immigration status when they deal with a possible COVID-19 patient. She said that people with the symptoms — fever, cough and shortness of breath — should call their doctors, and if they don’t have one, to call Mary’s Center at 844-796-2797.

The mayor said the federal aid is not a substitute for the money D.C. was hoping to see from the federal government in the relief bill passed last week, which helps states and localities with the economic impacts of the public health emergency.

Coronavirus cases quadruple in region

The number of coronavirus cases in D.C., Maryland and Virginia continues to rise, hitting more than 2,800 Monday morning. That’s an increase of more than 1,000 new cases since Friday.

The number of coronavirus cases in the region overall has more than quadrupled from this time a week ago when there were 650 cases.

Maryland has reported the highest number of coronavirus cases in the region — 1,413 as of Monday morning. Montgomery County and Prince George’s County have reported the highest number of cases in the state.

Adding to the state’s total are dozens of new cases stemming form a COVID-19 outbreak in a nursing home in Mt. Airy, Maryland. More than half of the Carroll County nursing home’s residents — 67 people — tested positive for the virus, one has died and 11 others were hospitalized. In addition, staff members at the Pleasant View nursing home are experiencing coronavirus symptoms, authorities said.

During the news conference Monday, Hogan called Pleasant View outbreak potentially a “worst-case scenario” because of the sheer number of cases, but he said there are smaller outbreaks at senior centers and nursing home across the state.

On Monday, Virginia reported 130 more COVID-19 cases, bringing the state’s total to 1,020.
Of them, 225 cases are in the Fairfax County area; 86 in Arlington County; 61 in Loudoun County; and 87 in the Prince William County area

More Coronavirus News

D.C. on Sunday recorded 59 new positive cases Sunday, bringing the city’s new total to 401.

The number of deaths across the region has also more than quadrupled — from 11 at this time last week to 49.

The rapid increase in the number of positive cases comes in part as more people are being tested. Overall, nearly 30,000 people in the region have been tested for the coronavirus, according to health department data — about 14,700 in Maryland; 12,000 in Virginia and 3,000 in D.C.

FedEx Field testing site opens

In Prince George’s County, a new COVID-19 screening site set up by the National Guard opens Monday at FedEx Field. The screening site is by appointment only. It’s designed to alleviate the pressure on primary care doctors and hospitals as more people are expected to fall ill and seek testing.

People who are experiencing coronavirus symptoms need to call the Prince George’s County Health Department’s COVID-19 hotline at 301-883-6627 to first receive an initial telehealth screening. If callers meet CDC criteria, they’ll be assigned an appointment time to arrive at FedEx Field.

The screening site is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The FedEx Field site is opening on schedule even after a member of the Maryland National Guard tested positive for COVID-19 last week.

“The Maryland National Guard took the appropriate steps to care for their personnel and we feel confident in moving forward with our partners to open the site,” a news release from Prince George’s County stated. “In addition, the site was cleaned over the weekend using industrial cleaning solutions.”

In addition, Hogan announced Monday that three Maryland motor vehicle emissions inspection stations have been repurposed as drive-thru testing sites and opened Monday.

The drive-thru test sites are at three VEIP locations in Glen Burnie, Waldorf and Bel Air.

“This is for at-risk people with symptoms of the disease, who will not be tested in emergency rooms or in crowded physicians’ offices,” said Dr. Fran Phillips, deputy secretary for public health services in Maryland. “The point of these test sites is to pull people away from those health care facilities to spare the emergency rooms and to allow for testing in an alternative site. This is not for everyone.”

WTOP’s Rick Massimo contributed to this report. 

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2020 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

Source link