Gov. Hogan: Patients with coronavirus had ‘concerning’ public interactions

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan spoke Friday night about the state’s efforts after three patients tested positive for coronavirus in Montgomery County.

Hogan said the three patients were passengers on a cruise ship in Egypt.

Two of the patients had at least two instances of public interaction that Hogan said were concerning.

One of the patients attended a public event with some 70 to 100 people at the Village at Rockville, a retirement community, on Feb. 28 between noon and 6 p.m.

Hogan said people who were at the event should call their health care provider or the Maryland Emergency Management Agency at 410-517-3720.

They should monitor themselves for symptoms — respiratory infection including fever, cold-like symptoms, cough, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath — until March 13. They should also stay at home until they get instructions from their doctor or the health department.

Another patient attended an event in Philadelphia, where there was contact with school children. Five schools in the Central Bucks School District were closed Friday in response.

“Since declaring a state of emergency last night, we have continued to ramp up our response to COVID-19 and investigate the three positive cases in Montgomery County,” Hogan said in a statement ahead of the news conference.

Hogan said he directed the Maryland Insurance Commissioner to require all state health insurers to waive any cost-sharing, co-payments, coinsurance or deductibles associated with testing for the coronavirus.

He also asked to remove all prior authorization requirements by any health carrier for COVID-19 testing that are related to medical necessity.

“It is critical that anyone who is experiencing symptoms and meets the criteria for testing is able to do so right way, without having any concerns whatsoever about the costs associated with it,” Hogan said.

As of Friday night, 374 people are being monitored by the state health department for indirect contact. These people have not met the criteria and are not showing symptoms, Hogan said.

Forty-four people in Maryland have met the criteria and have been tested — 33 came back negative, three positive and eight are still pending.

He said he also spoke to U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and met with state House Speaker Adrienne Jones and Senate President Bill Ferguson.

“This is a rapidly evolving situation, and all levels of government are working together to address this public health threat and provide the most up-to-date information to Marylanders,” Hogan said.

Watch his news conference below:

Teta Alim

Teta Alim is a Digital Editor at WTOP. Teta's interest in journalism started in music and moved to digital media.

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

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