Three people are now being tested for the coronavirus in Maryland.
Charlie Gischlar, a spokesperson for the Maryland Department of Health, said the third possible case was announced this morning by state Deputy Secretary of Public Health Services Fran Phillips.
The first two patients were announced by Gov. Hogan at a press conference yesterday. Hogan said the patients met the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) criteria for the coronavirus, and recently traveled to China. Gischlar said the health department is not sure of the latest patient’s travel history.
Thank you @GovLarryHogan, appreciate your leadership & support. While the threat of Coronavirus to the American public remains low, we will continue to bring the full resources of the federal government & work closely with state & local leaders to respond to this virus in the US. https://t.co/32HV6vyRC3
— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) February 28, 2020
As of now, there are no confirmed cases. Testing for the virus takes two to three days, and Gischlar said the health department will update the public with the results when they come in.
Phillips said the testing samples are flown to a CDC lab in Atlanta, Georgia. She said there’s a public health lab in Baltimore that plans to do coronavirus testing of its own once it gets clearance and materials from the CDC. She hopes that will happen next week.
Hogan said his administration is taking coronavirus concerns very seriously. He said state health officials are collaborating with the CDC, National Institutes of Health (NIH), local health departments and hospitals, and other agencies to work on a response in case the virus spreads to Maryland. Local hospitals have developed surge plans in the event they have to house a larger volume of patients. The state is checking in with every hospital in Maryland to make sure they have enough supplies for staff and patients, and top health officials have daily briefings with the CDC.
The governor said state preparedness builds on decades of dealing with previous public health crises.
“While we are hoping for the best, we are also actively planning for the worst,” he said.
Hogan said his administration will submit a $10 million supplemental budget for emergency coronavirus expenses.
At this time, there are no confirmed cases of #COVID19 in Maryland.@MDHealthDept will communicate with the public as the situation develops, providing updates and accurate information about how to protect yourself and your family.
— Maryland Department of Health (@MDHealthDept) February 28, 2020