A dozen patients in Maryland, Virginia waiting on coronavirus test results

A total of 11 patients in Maryland are now awaiting test results for possible coronavirus, while another 10 people who were previously tested have been cleared of having the virus, according to state health officials.

No one in Maryland — or in the broader D.C. area — has tested positive for the virus, which has infected more than 94,000 worldwide and killed more than 3,200.

The updated number of people awaiting test results in Maryland comes as Gov. Larry Hogan discussed state efforts to respond the potential public health threat.

“While we continue to hope for the best, we are also actively planning for the worst,” Hogan said at a Board of Public Works meeting on Wednesday morning.

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Hogan also announced that he is introducing emergency legislation to allow Maryland to use money from its “rainy day fund” for response efforts.

The governor’s office is already submitting a $10 million in supplemental budget request for emergency coronavirus preparedness funding.

“Given the rapidly evolving nature of this threat to public health, it is critical that we have flexibility to immediately access these resources,” Hogan said.

Hogan also said the Maryland Emergency Management Agency is raising its “activation” level to “enhanced, which would allow state officials to mobilize more resources.”

Recently, public health labs in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia were all cleared to perform their own COVID-19 testing, which is expected to speed up the process. Previously, the three jurisdictions had to send samples to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

In Virginia, a total of 17 people have been tested for the virus, with 14 testing negative. Results for another three patients — including one patient in Northern Virginia — are still pending as of Wednesday morning.

“Virginia will have the resources we need to respond,” said Gov. Ralph Northam during a news conference Wednesday morning, discussing the state’s preparation efforts.

That includes $3.6 million over the next 90 days — already in Virginia’s budget — for staffing, communications and protective equipment for health care workers. Another $6.5 million is available if need, state officials said.

In D.C., a total of six people have been tested for the virus, and all have tested negative.

The D.C. public school system said in a letter to students and families on Wednesday that the system has canceled all school-sponsored international travel through May 1.

Chancellor Lewis Ferebee said in the letter that DCPS was following guidance form the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in making the decision, adding that “We know that students were looking forward to this memorial opportunity.”

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said during a news conference Tuesday that she has authorized the use of $500,000 from the District’s contingency cash reserve fund to order protective equipment and other supplies for health care workers.

Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined WTOP.com as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at Nextgov.com, part of Government Executive Media Group.

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