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Howard County confirms first case of coronavirus

Posted at 2:26 PM, Mar 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 07:27:12-04

HOWARD COUNTY, Md. — Howard County has confirmed its first case of the coronavirus.

The Howard County Health Department (HCHD) announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Howard County on Sunday.

“We have been preparing for this to happen and are following recommendations of the Health Department on how to further slow community spread,” said County Executive Calvin Ball. “Over the past week the State and County have taken significant proactive measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by encouraging social distancing, the cancellation of events, meetings and gatherings, the closing of schools, libraries, and our community college. We will continue to work as a united and unified Howard County government along with our stakeholder partners to ensure that all our residents remain safe, calm and informed.”

County Executive Calvin Ball said it's a 82-year-old woman with underlying health conditions. The woman is currently in the hospital.

He also declared a state of emergency for Howard County beginning at midnight.

Ball ordered the Mall in Columbia to close at midnight for seven days and ordered all movie theaters in Columbia to close.

According to the Columbia Association, they will close all facilities starting Sunday at 6:00 p.m. All of the association's public programs, classes and events are canceled effective immediately through Sunday, March 29, 2020.

Howard County Fire Chief said six first responders responded to a medical incident unrelated to COVID-19 and were exposed to the patient. He said those crew members are being self-quarantined and are in relatively "good spirits," despite the circumstances.

Ball held a press conference Sunday to address the rapidly shifting situation around coronavirus.

This is the 32nd confirmed case in Maryland.