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Governor asks Marylanders to remain at home, but embrace hope -

by Judith Hruz

Editor

Two weeks after he ordered that all Marylanders stay home unless they are traveling to and from an essential job or completing an essential task, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy or seeking medical care, Gov. Larry Hogan said people complying with the mandate was making “a huge difference” in managing the spread of the coronavirus.

He cautioned, however, that “only time will tell how much of a difference it will make,” and urged Marylanders to stay the course.

The number of positive cases of COVID-19 continued to rise the day of his April 10 press conference — the number in the state was 6,968, with 171 deaths; the number of Montgomery County was 1,388 cases, with 34 deaths — but Hogan issued a message filled with hope.

He also urged Marylanders, no matter their faith, to “reflect on the spirit of hope” that comes with the Easter holiday, which was two days after his press conference.

Earlier that week, Hogan said that after repeatedly sounding the alarm with the president, the vice president and many other top officials, he had succeeded in convincing the Trump administration to designate the Greater Baltimore-Washington corridor as a priority in the fight against COVID-19.

During a press conference at the new field hospital set up at the Baltimore Convention Center, Hogan said in addition to the number or coronavirus cases and deaths in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia — nearly 9,000 cases and 189 deaths on April 7 — the area is home to 400,000 of federal employees, many of whom work for agencies at the forefront of the battle, such as the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration and the National Security Agency.

Just looking at the numbers of cases justified the priority status for the metropolitan area, the governor said, but the value of the region added to the urgency.

On April 6, during a conversation with the nation’s governors, Vice President Mike Pence agreed that “Maryland is a priority,” Hogan said.

Hogan said the vice president had committed to sending 200 ventilators to Maryland.

He had warned that the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area could “look like New York” in two weeks in terms of the number of coronavirus cases when he issued the stay-at-home order on March 30.

He was followed later that day by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and D.C. mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D, who issued similar orders prohibiting people from leaving their homes except for essential tasks.

The number of cases was 1,413 on the day Hogan issued the stay-at-home order, and he called it “a critical turning point” in the effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

 

The community pitches in

 

As county, state and federal officials work to stem the spread of the virus, local residents and businesses are pitching in to ease the challenges caused by the pandemic.

From making masks for county hospitals and nursing home (see story on page 8) and making music to help return the sense of community (see stories on pages 5 and 6), the community is doing its part to help.

At St. John’s Episcopal Church in Olney, members of the community may help themselves to a canned good if they need one or leave one for others to take.

Ashton resident Tammy Fox has organized an online fundraiser to provide meals for frontline responders at MedStar Montgomery General Hospital.

When she learned that other communities were providing meals for Shady Grove Adventist and Suburban hospitals, she “wanted to make sure our local hospital didn’t get left behind.”

Each time donations reach $1,000, a different local restaurant gets the money and prepares and delivers boxed meals to the hospital.

So far, restaurants have include Bean Bag Deli, which provided meals on April 7, and Relish Catering, which provided meals on April 9. Next up is Full On Crafts Eats & Drinks, which is expected to deliver meals on April 21.

“This is a way to support our local restaurants and to provide meals to the hospital staff,” Fox said.

Donations can be made at https://tinyurl.com/tpcdas9.

All monetary donations go directly to the participating businesses to feed hospital workers.

Elsewhere around the community, residents are erecting encouraging signs, drawing happy images on their driveways and sidewalks, and putting bears and other stuffed animals in their windows.

While families take walks or drive around the neighborhood, children are encouraged to “hunt” for bears or other animals.

Bears have been spotted in several communities, including Olney Oaks, Lake Hallowell, Norbeck Grove and Olney Mill.

 

    For more on COVID-19, visit:

    Montgomery County, https://montgomerycountymd.gov/hhs/rightnav/coronavirus.html or call 311

    State of Maryland, www.health.maryland.gov/coronavirus

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), www.cdc.gov

    National Institutes of health (NIH), www.nih.gov

    World Health Organization, www.WHO.int

    Small Business Administration, www.sba.gov

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