20 Coronavirus cases now reported in Wicomico

Wicomico County now has 20 confirmed cases of coronavirus, state health officials reported Sunday.

Additional cases have also been confirmed in Worcester County, which now reports nine people as having Covid-19. The count in Somerset remains at four cases, which makes for a total of 34 cases in the Lower Shore counties.

Officials concede there are likely more cases in the communities, as many virus victims have not been tested.

Statewide in Maryland, 3,609 cases have been confirmed, with 67 deaths reported. The hospitalization totals of people with the virus stands at 936. One death has been reported in Wicomico County, and that occurred last weekend at Peninsula Regional Medical Center.

Additional restrictions take effect Monday

Salisbury Mayor Jake Day on Saturday took further steps to help stop the spread of the coronavirus by limiting the number of customers at stores and requiring them to enforce 6-foot separations between customers.

There have been reports locally of long lines and overcrowding at some stores as people try to stock up on groceries and other needs.

“The Lower Shore needs to be even more cautious than the western shore,” Day said during a news conference on the steps of the closed Government Office Building. “There are higher rates of diabetes, COPD and heart disease here.”

Underlying health conditions in people who contract Covid-19 have been responsible for higher death rates from the disease. So far in Wicomico County, there have been seven confirmed cases with one death.

The mayor’s executive order includes the following requirements for stores effective Monday, April 6:

  • 75,000 square feet of space or more, such as Walmart or Target, must limit customers to 250;
  • 30,000 to 75,000 square feet, such as a grocery store, is limited to 150 customers;
  • 15,000 to 30,000 square feet limited to 75 customers;
  • 3,000 to 15,000 square feet limited to 40 customers;
  • 3,000 square feet or less limited to 10 customers;
  • Self-serve foods and product samplings are prohibited until further notice.

The executive order also recommends other practices for stores:

  • Setting aside one or two hours per day for senior citizens and others at high risk;
  • Grocery stores not already offering delivery or curbside pickup options are urged to start;
  • Stores are encouraged to use 6-foot markings and use ropes or other devices to direct customers safely, both inside and outside;
  • Stores are urged to reduce the number of employees working closer than 6 feet whenever possible;
  • Increased cleaning of surfaces is recommended.

City Fire Marshal Eric Kramer said he will be notifying businesses of the changes that become effective Monday. Anyone violating the order will be subject to a fine or misdemeanor charges, he said.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has put in effect some of the strictest social distancing requirements in the country in an effort to slow the spread of Covid-19. Essential businesses, including grocery stores, pharmacies, banks and gas stations are allowed to stay open, but most other businesses providing services, including barbershops have been forced to close. Since March 30, Maryland also has been under a stay-at-home order except for essential workers.

Day said he supports all of Hogan’s actions.

“The actions taken so far are almost unprecedented and have up-ended the lives of many people, but they represent the highest function of government which is to preserve human life,” he said.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Maryland Department of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage

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