Maryland governor issues 'stay at home' directive

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued a “stay-at-home” directive in response to the coronavirus effect on Monday.

Hogan said the region around the nation's capital, which includes Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, has reached "a critical turning point in the fight to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The stay-at-home order will be effective at 8 p.m. Monday.

“No Maryland resident should be leaving their home unless it is for an essential job or for an essential reason, such as obtaining food or medicine, seeking urgent medical attention or for other necessary purposes,” Hogan said at a news conference on the Maryland State House lawn.

Maryland has had at least 1,413 confirmed cases of the virus. Fifteen deaths also have been attributed to the virus in the state.

“In addition, only essential businesses are allowed to remain open in Maryland and those businesses must also make every effort to scale down their operations in order to reduce the number of required staff, to limit in-person interaction with customers as much as they are able to and to institute telework for as much of the workforce as is practical,” Hogan said.

The governor also said residents should reschedule all nonessential appointments.

“We are no longer asking or suggesting that Marylanders stay home," Hogan said. We are directing them to do so.”

Hogan also noted an outbreak at the Pleasant View Nursing Home, where 67 residents have tested positive and a man in his 90s has died. The governor said 27 members of the Mount Airy facility's staff are experiencing symptoms. The facility was rated “much below average” by Medicare largely due to staffing.

“The most frightening one today is this nursing home situation in Carroll County, because we've got 67 positives, but there are smaller outbreaks in a number of places around the state that are of concern that are in senior centers or nursing homes or with staff at hospitals or people in sensitive locations,” Hogan said.

The governor also noted an outbreak at the at the Clifton T. Perkins psychiatric hospital in Howard County.

Hogan, who chairs the National Governors Association, also said he will be holding a teleconference call with the White House and other governors around the nation. He said governors will continue pressing for scarce supplies to fight the virus, such as personal protective gear.

“I spent the weekend talking to people at the federal level, also pushing to get some of these supplies everywhere we can find them on the open market and around the world not just here domestically, but there simply are not enough of all of these things, which is the greatest tragedy of this crisis,” Hogan said.

Hogan also said he will continue pressing the federal government to designate the region around the nation's capital as a priority location for a federally supported virus testing site.

"The Washington region is where national leaders are actually fighting this battle for the nation, and this region is about to be hit with the virus in the same way that some other major metropolitan areas have been,” Hogan said.