ANNAPOLIS — A 5-year-old girl in Howard County has tested positive for COVID-19, Gov. Larry Hogan said Thursday and referred to the fight against the virus as "a race against time."
The girl is the first child to get the disease in the state, which, as of Thursday morning, had 107 cases of the virus. That marked an 88% increase over the previous 48 hours.
"Unfortunately we are only at the beginning of this crisis," he said.
There are more than 220 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Washington D.C. region, 9,500 across the country, and 220,000 around the world, Hogan said.
In following the latest Centers For Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, any events of more than 10 people in close proximity are prohibited.
All shopping malls and entertainment venues were closed effective 5 p.m. Thursday.
Despite warnings, "Some people are treating this like a vacation ... with parties and cookouts and large gatherings," Hogan said. Folks engaging in such behavior "are in violation of state law and you are endangering the lives of your fellow Marylanders."
Hogan will ask the University of Maryland to encourage students to take courses online for the rest of the semester.
Hogan said bars, distilleries, wineries and restaurants, subject to local laws, will be permitted to provide delivery and carry out alcohol sales "to help small businesses and restaurants."
He also urged people to "be responsible (and) avoid large crowds in stores."
Hogan also talked of the need for blood donations.
Nine-hundred beds have been made available at hospitals across the state for COVID-19 patients.
“By early April, we expect to have an additional 1,400 beds open, as we … continue to open closed floors and hospital facilities across the state,” Hogan said.
Trucks will be permitted to exceed legal weight limits to deliver urgently needed equipment and supplies, he said.
Hogan directed the Maryland Department of Transportation to restrict access to BWI Airport to ticketed passengers, and badged airport employees.
“Exceptions will be made for those visitors who are assisting disabled passengers,” Hogan said.
Transit assets will be used for essential travel only, he said.
“No one should get on a MARC Train, Metro, Amtrak train or bus,” Hogan said.
Governors across the state on Thursday planned to request of the federal government:
• A push for dedicating at least 50% of Phase 3 Supplemental funding to the states.
• Increase access, production and supply of personal protection and medical equipment including test kits and ventilators.
• Authorize Title 32 to give governors maximum flexibility for the use of the National Guard.
• Request guidance on how the Defense Production Act will be implemented.
• Request a delay or greater flexibility for the completion of the 2020 Census and transition to REAL ID.
"We need all levels of government working together," Hogan said. "Stay home" to help state officials slow the spread of the virus.
In other COVID-19 news:
• UPMC Western Maryland closed its main hospital lobby entrance to include only pick up of exiting discharged patients. There will be no parking “in the loop.” Patients will enter through the Medical Arts Center Hospital Entrance sliding doors. Patients and visitors will be greeted and screened at temporary check-in areas. The Cancer Center Entrance is modified to include a check-in area for only cancer patients and their support person.
• The Allegany County Health Department on Facebook Thursday morning posted, "At this time there are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Allegany County ... our nurses are available by phone at 301-759-5000 to answer your questions about COVID-19."
Check back at times-news.com for updates.