ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Governor Larry Hogan on Wednesday along with Dr. Karen Salmon of the State Department of Education announced that all Maryland Public Schools will be closed through at least April 24.
Schools were originally supposed to re-open on Monday, March 30 following an initial two-week closure.
Officials say they're unsire when schools will be able to re-open but options such as an extended school year and summer school are an option. Right now schools are looking to provide continuity of learning working, while prioritizing educational services to students with disabilities.
While childcare facilities can remain open, the state is making child care options for essential personnel available for up to1200 kids at places like the YMCA, Maryland School for the Blind, public libraries, Parks and Recreation buildings, and the Boys and Girls clubs. The program is called Locate and a nearest location can be found by calling 1877-261-0060. Essential workers are eligible to apply right away.
During a Wednesday news conference, Hogan went over a detailed timeline of actions his administration has taken since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state confirmed its first three cases of COVID-19, 20 days ago. The patients were passengers on an Egyptian Nile river cruise, prompting Hogan to declare a state of emergency and submit a supplemental budget and emergency legislation to transfer money from rainy day fund.
A day later Hogan ordered the Maryland Insurance Commission to waive any cost sharing and deductibles associated with coronavirus treatment.
Three days after the state had five confirmed cases. The emergency legislation requested by Hogan was officially signed into law. Hogan also closed all state buildings to the public.
A day later cases nearly doubled to nine.
Two weeks ago the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. That caused Hogan to order the MVA to allow visitors by appointment only. The Maryland Health Benefits exchange was also re-opened for a new enrollment period.
The first community transmitted case was discovered in Maryland a day later, resulting in MEMA to move to its highest activation level. The Maryland National Guard was also activated. Hogan also ordered state workers to work from home, while also closing Baltimore's cruise ship terminal and closing prisons to visitors.
Just nine days ago the state jumped to 37 cases, prompting all bars, restaurants, movie theaters, and gyms to close. The Governor also ordered gatherings to be limited to just 50 people. Hogan also deployed 250 Maryland State Police troopers to check and enforce those limits. Also, 6000 hospital beds were made available with Hogan clearing the way for any medical practitioner with a valid out of state or expired medical license to practice and assist in Maryland. Hogan also activated 2200 members of the National Guards and ordered utility companies to halt any service shutoffs and landlords to postpone evictions.
A day later the situation worsened and increased to 57 cases. In response, Hogan ordered the postponement of the April 28 primary election with exception to the 7th Congressional District race which will be done by mail in ballot. The Governor also switched all tolls to cashless and ordered the reduction in all MARC, MTA, and Metro service.
One week ago, Maryland reported its first COVID-19 related. As result, Hogan requested the federal government send it emergency equipment and funding such as ventilators and personal prtoection equipment.
A day later Hogan went further and restricted terminal access at BWI to everyone but workers and ticketed passengers. Restrictions on crowd capacity was reduced to just 10 people, while indoor shopping malls and entertainment venues were forced to close.
Hogan also made mention of his order to close non essential businesses two days ago that also came with the authorization of a $175 million relief package for workers and small businesses.
Currently Maryland has 423 cases, with 74 new cases in the past 24 hours, the largest one day rise to date. There are confirmed cases in 22 out of 24 jurisdictions. On Tuesday, Maryland's Health Department announced the death of a Prince George's County man in his 60s. He became the fourth person to die in connection to the virus. Among those diagnosed are two U.S. Navy midshipmen, a state employee, and individuals within the UMBC, UMD, and Anne Arundel County Community College communities.
Hogan say 217 case in Maryland are patients between 20 and 50-years-old with the vast majority being in their 40s and the youngest at 10-months.
On Wednesday, Hogan also said any Marylander returning from New York would be required to self quarantine in place for 14 days.
Right now Hogan says 900 additional hospital beds beds have been made available with a goal to eventually get to 2400 beds. The Medical Reserve Corps has 7300 volunteers ready to assit with the virus. Hogan also announced $4 million in federal funding for home meals for the elderly. The Governor also said Maryland is the first to gave a free program where someone will make a call to check in with a senior citizen daily. That number is 1866-50-check.