Most day-care centers ordered to close Friday

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday announced that he is requesting a presidential disaster declaration for the state of Maryland because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

President Trump was expected to approve the disaster declaration late Thursday.

“People are looking for certainty, but the truth is, we simply don’t know yet how bad it’s going to get, how long it’s going to last, or how successful these social distancing actions are going to be in flattening the curve,” Hogan said.

“What we do know is that this will not be over in a matter of days or weeks. As I have been saying over and over since day one, the number of cases will continue to rapidly and dramatically rise,” he said. “It is critically important that every single person remains vigilant and continues doing their part by staying in place, in their homes, as much as possible so that we can break the back of this virus.”

Five cases now in Wicomico

As of mid-day Thursday, Maryland had 580 confirmed cases of COVID-19 — an increase of 157 new cases, which is by far the largest one-day increase to date.

There are five confirmed cases thus far in Wicomico County, with two of those coronavirus patients undergoing treatment in the Intensive Care Unit of Peninsula Regional Medical Center.

Meanwhile. a day after Hogan and state Schools Superintendent Dr. Karen Salmon announced that Maryland public schools will remain closed through April 24, officials ordered most child-care centers to close by the end of the day Friday.

The order essentially prohibits nonessential workers from having their children in a day-care center or program. Care that is provided by friends, family and neighbors is still allowed if there are fewer than five children.

Licensed centers can reopen as early as Monday if they gain approval from the state, serve only the children of essential workers and conduct a thorough cleaning of their facilities. At least six children under the age of 18 have tested positive for coronavirus, including a 10-month-old and a 5-year-old.

Hogan announced that 2,400 beds have been made available through the state’s hospital surge plan, which is weeks ahead of schedule. On Wednesday, the governor toured a field hospital and alternate care site at the Baltimore Convention Center.

Meanwhile in Salisbury, the city, Wicomico Health Department and county governments have created, a repository of useful information and links to important news and developments.

Curbside recycling in the city of Salisbury has also been suspended until further notice.

Courts closed through April

With limited exceptions, including certain emergency matters, the Maryland state courts will remain closed to the public through May 1. 

Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera issued the Administrative Order Extending the Length of Statewide Judiciary Restricted Operations Due to the COVID-19 Emergency.

The new order replaces the order issued on March 16 that closed the courts to the public, reduced staffing in courthouses, and authorized essential court staff to process emergency court matters.

Courts throughout the state will continue to conduct remote proceedings using various communication platforms consistent with the Administrative Order on the Implementation of Remote Electronic Participation in Judicial Proceedings and the Administrative Order on Remote Hearings Held During the COVID-19 Emergency.

All non-emergency matters scheduled for a court hearing or proceeding, including jury trials, scheduled to begin March 17 through May 1 will be postponed, unless otherwise noted. Scheduling orders issued in civil and family law matters will be addressed by motion on a case-by-case basis.

Additionally, the Administrative Order on Suspension of Foreclosures and Evictions During the COVID-19 Emergency issued on March 18 has been rescinded and replaced by a new administrative order.

Foreclosures of residential property, foreclosures of the right to redeem residential property sold in a tax sale, residential evictions, and executions on residential real property under levy or lien are stayed and new or pending types of these actions will be accepted but not processed during this time.

Emergency matters include, but are not limited to, domestic violence petitions, peace order petitions, family law emergencies, extreme risk protective orders, bail reviews, juvenile detention hearings, and search warrants. These matters will continue to be handled by the courts, which are staffed on a reduced basis, through May 1.

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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