ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland Governor Larry Hogan on Friday provided an update on the state's response to the coronavirus outbreak.
On top of three already in operation, two additional VEIP locations in Columbia and White Oak will open as drive-up testing sites.
Initial construction has been completed at the Baltimore Convention Center to act as a field reserve hospital for an influx of patients testing postitive.
The Governor prohibited all mortgage lenders from initiating the foreclosure process and to give tenants a 90-day period of forbearance and deferral on mortgages.
Hogan also halted cars, truck, and mobile home repossessions as well as home, commercial and industrial property evictions.
Currently Hogan says 60 nursing homes in the state have positive cases of COVID-19. There are 99 cases alone at Pleasant View in Mt Airy, including five deaths. In 46 of the homes one to four cases have been reported while in 12 others, between 7 to 10 cases were confirmed. The criteria for an outbreak in a nursing home setting is only one case, health officials say.
As result the Maryland Department of Health will require any nursing home and assisted living staff who has contact with patients to wear masks throughout their entire shift.
State Health Secretary Fran Phillips says the masks aren't intended to prevent the person wearing it from contracting the virus, but rather to prevent staff from spreading any symptoms they may unknowingly have.
Hogan confirmed as of Friday out of 2,578 positive cases, 416 Marylanders are hospitalized, with 43 percent of them in intensive care. Meanwhile 159 patients have recovered from the virus and have been released the hospital and isolation.
Of all the cases in Maryland, half of the patients are under age 50. Five victims are infants including a one-month-old.
“Winston Churchill once said if you’re going through hell, keep going. And that’s what we’re all going to have to do, "said Hogan.
The Governor has also called for a state-wide moment of prayer and reflection at noon on Sunday, for those who lost their lives and are sick from the virus, and all the essential employees working around the clock.
For more on COVID-19 read our full coverage here.