Fourth Montgomery County resident tests positive for coronavirus; state has five cases

Fourth Montgomery County resident tests positive for coronavirus; state has five cases

Montgomery County man in his 60s, Harford County woman in her 80s contracted virus overseas

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Coronavirus image

Via CDC

Two more Marylanders — including a Montgomery County man — have tested positive for coronavirus disease, giving the state five cases, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Sunday.

The Montgomery County patient is a man in his 60s who traveled overseas and was briefly hospitalized, according to a press release from Hogan’s office.

A Harford County woman in her 80s also was diagnosed with the disease — which is known as COVID-19 — while traveling overseas and is currently hospitalized, according to Hogan’s office.

As of Sunday evening, five Maryland residents have contracted the coronavirus disease, including three who tested positive after traveling on an Egyptian cruise on the Nile River.

The press release on Sunday says the new cases are not related to the first three Montgomery cases and “there appear to be no major concerns over exposure risk to the community” in either of the most recent cases.

Hogan’s office wrote that he contacted Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich.

“Our state health department team has been working seamlessly with local health departments, and our emergency management teams are engaged with our local and federal partners to limit the spread of COVID-19,” Hogan said in the press release.

Elrich could not immediately be reached for comment Sunday night.

Hogan plans to hold a press conference at 3:30 p.m. Monday to share the latest information.

Hogan previously declared a state of emergency for Maryland.

In a supplemental budget plan, he requested $10 million for emergency coronavirus preparedness expenses. On Sunday, Hogan said in a press release that he was preparing to sign legislation that would authorize the state to tap into its rainy day fund to provide additional resources.

Symptoms of coronavirus disease include fever, coughing and shortness of breath. The disease can cause death in the most serious cases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says older adults are among the most at-risk, along with people who have chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung disease.

There is no vaccine to prevent the spread of coronavirus yet. Federal officials said Friday that they expect it will take another 12 to 18 months to have one.

The CDC recommends thorough hand washing as one of the best defenses against the disease.

The new strain of coronavirus was first reported in Wuhan, China. As of Sunday evening, there were more than 106,000 confirmed cases worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

In the United States, there were 164 confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. on Saturday, and 11 people have died, according to the CDC.

Maryland has had 62 people test negative, Hogan wrote.

This weekend, the state stopped reporting on the number of pending tests, since commercial labs are now involved in testing, too. They will report results to the Department of Health. Immediate updates will be given on positive tests.

Hogan announced on Thursday the first three confirmed cases of coronavirus disease in Maryland — a couple in their 70s and a woman in her 50’s, all from Montgomery County. He said on Friday that they had been passengers on an Egyptian cruise along the Nile River. The woman is not related to the couple.

Officials have declined to share more specific identifying information about any of the patients, including where in the county they live.

One of the three patients who contracted the disease on the cruise ship attended an event at The Village at Rockville retirement community on Feb. 28, which 70 to 100 people attended, Hogan said on Friday.

According to Montgomery County Public Schools, “members of the school community” visited The Village at Rockville after the Feb. 28 event, but “are not at risk of contracting the virus.”

On Sunday afternoon, MCPS posted on social media that schools would remain open on Monday.

By Monday morning, more than 3,300 people had signed an online petition urging MCPS to close schools in response to the coronavirus. It asks MCPS to either move up spring break, scheduled for early April, or close schools and make the days up in the summer.

Another of the initial three Montgomery County patients attended an event in the Philadelphia area and had contact with students and staff from the Central Bucks School District, according to Hogan.

At least two other cases in the region announced on Saturday have connections to Maryland.

One is a man who traveled through Washington, D.C., and was tested at a Maryland hospital. That case is considered under the jurisdiction of D.C.

The first coronavirus disease patient in Virginia, a U.S. Marine stationed at Fort Belvoir, tested positive for the virus at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda. That case is considered under the jurisdiction of Virginia.

Coronavirus: a timeline

Managing Editor Andrew Schotz and staff writer Caitlynn Peetz contributed to this story.

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