Gov. Larry Hogan on 4-3-20

Gov. Larry Hogan

ANNAPOLIS — Five infants are among Maryland's positive cases of COVID-19, and there are clusters of the disease at 60 nursing homes and long-term care facilities across the state, Gov. Larry Hogan said during a press conference on Friday.

As of Friday morning, Maryland had 2,758 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 416 residents who tested positive for the disease were hospitalized with 43% of them in intensive care.

"In the past 16 days, 42 Marylanders have died from this deadly virus," Hogan said. "Fifty percent of the confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our state are patients younger than 50 years old."

More than a quarter of the state's patients hospitalized for the disease are also under age 50.

"This disease does not discriminate, and no one is immune," Hogan said.

The number of the state's positive cases tripled in less than a week.

"We now have widespread community transmission," he said. "This virus is everywhere."

Earlier in the day, Hogan signed legislation that expands Marylanders’ access to telehealth services.

He talked of ways to help state residents suffering financially as result of the pandemic.

Prohibitions on residential evictions are expanded to include commercial and industrial evictions.

"Marylanders are eligible for immediate relief, including a 90-day period of forbearance or deferral for mortgage payments during which no late fees will be charged and no negative information will be reported to credit bureaus," he said.

Repossession of cars, trucks and mobile homes is also prohibited.

Hogan said he continues "to push" White House officials to help states across the country who have significant needs to fight spread of the disease.

"It's very frustrating," he said.

Hogan asked residents to conduct a moment of prayer, or reflection, at noon Sunday for people that have died from COVID-19, as well as health care workers and first responders that are fighting the disease.

Fran Phillips, deputy secretary of the Maryland Department of Health, called for "universal masking" for health care workers at nursing and assisted living homes across the state.

"Masks are to protect everyone around you," she said. "This virus is here and it's in our communities."

Nursing and assisted living homes should send COVID-19 test specimens directly to the state laboratory, Phillips said.

"Do not use one of the labs that requires mail order specimens," she said. "Maryland government is reserving lab capacity to do these urgent kinds of lab testing. We can turn around a lab test far faster than any of these remote, commercial laboratories."

Karen Salmon, state superintendent of schools, talked of remote learning for students across the state.

"School systems have distributed thousands of devices to students and families to provide them with these online capabilities and secured platforms for delivering instruction and an interface between teachers and students," she said. "Many systems are also distributing educational materials through mailings and pick up at food distribution sites."

Every state jurisdiction has resumed instructional activities.

"We are working with local superintendents on a daily basis," Salmon said.

Robert Green, secretary of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, provided an update on the COVID-19 situation at correctional facilities across the state.

Video visitation has been made available, as well as a 24-hour hotline (410-769-6419) for family members that are concerned about an inmate.

Maryland officials have been updating COVID-19 case information every morning, while Allegany and Garrett counties report their latest numbers on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The Allegany County Health Department on Friday said of 367 residents tested for COVID-19, four were positive, 305 negative and 58 results were pending.

The fourth case, which was reported Friday morning, is a female in her 50s who has not traveled out of the region, health officials said. She has underlying medical conditions and was hospitalized.

The Garrett County Health Department on Friday reported that 139 COVID-19 specimens had been processed, three were positive, 66 negative and 70 were pending results.

Two Garrett residents recovered from the virus and were released from isolation, and one person in the county remained hospitalized.

Teresa McMinn is the digital editor at Cumberland Times-News. Email her at tmcminn@times-news.com, call/text her at 304-639-2371 and follow her on Twitter.

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