Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has declared a state of emergency after three Montgomery County residents tested positive for coronavirus.
A state lab in Baltimore confirmed the first three positive cases of coronavirus in the state.
The patients contracted the virus while overseas and they are in good condition, Hogan said during a news conference Thursday night at the Maryland State House.
The patients include a married couple in their 70s and a woman in her 50s, Hogan said.
Officials are aware of the patients’ travel histories but didn’t disclose them Thursday evening, citing privacy concerns.
Watch Hogan’s remarks in the video below.
LIVE: COVID-19 Update – March 5, 2020https://t.co/vrpBO8qiD8
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) March 6, 2020
Vice President Mike Pence and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been notified about the cases in Maryland’s largest county, Hogan said.
“When they were notified that they had a possibility of exposure, they brought themselves to a hospital,” said Fran Phillips, deputy secretary for public health services in Maryland. “They were not severely ill. They were not hospitalized. They stayed at home and brought themselves to a hospital in order to be tested.”
Maryland’s Department of Health advises anyone who has traveled to an area that has confirmed cases of coronavirus, or has come in contact with someone who has contracted the novel virus, to take the following steps:
- Call your doctor or emergency room before you go.
- Tell them about recent travel and close contacts (such as people in your household).
- Wear a mask, if one is available.
“While this news is serious, I want to again remind everyone that this is exactly what our state has been actively and aggressively been preparing for, for many weeks now,” Hogan said.
Montgomery County Public Schools will remain open, the school system said in a news release. “As we move forward, we are preparing for the possibility of school closures in the future should this become necessary,” the school system said.
- More coronavirus news
- Coronavirus FAQ: What you need to know
- How many cases are there in Md., DC and Va.?
- Montgomery Co. schools plan to remain open after county residents test positive for coronavirus
Earlier Thursday, Hogan said he submitted a proposed supplemental budget that included $10 million for emergency coronavirus preparedness expenses.
“While today’s news may seem overwhelming, this is not a reason to panic,” Hogan said. “Marylanders should go to work or go to school as they normally do. At the same time, I want to continue to remind everyone to prepare themselves and to continue to stay informed.”
Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich will provide an update on the confirmed cases Friday morning.
The CDC released a step-by-step guide about how households should handle a potential outbreak of coronavirus in their community. For more information on the coronavirus outbreak in Maryland, visit the Maryland Department of Health’s website.
WTOP’s Zeke Hartner contributed to this report.