Maryland Governor orders nursing homes to fight coronavirus

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan issues executive order directing nursing homes to adopt procedures to fight spread of coronavirus.

Ben Ariel ,

COVID-19 coronavirus
COVID-19 coronavirus

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan on Sunday issued an executive order directing nursing homes in the state to adopt procedures to fight the spread of coronavirus, including the establishment of quarantine wards for infected residents, The Hill report.

Hogan stressed in a news release that criminal penalties would be levied against nursing home staff or facilities that disobeyed the order, which also directs all staffers to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and gloves.

“As we have been saying for several weeks, older Marylanders and those with underlying health conditions are more vulnerable and at a significantly higher risk of contracting, getting more severely ill, and dying from this disease,” said Hogan.

“Of major concern is that we currently have cases or clusters of cases at 81 nursing homes and long-term care facilities across the state. Our highest priority is keeping Marylanders safe, and we will use every tool at our disposal to protect the most vulnerable among us," he added.

Nursing homes in Maryland have become minor hotspots for the disease, including one in Mt. Airy, where nine patients have died and at least 99 others including staff have tested positive for coronavirus, according to The Washington Post.

Those found to have knowingly violated the order will be subject to prosecution for a misdemeanor offense with a penalty of up to 1 year in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Maryland health officials have confirmed just over 3,600 cases of the virus and 67 deaths from the disease.

US Surgeon General Jerome Adams warned earlier on Sunday that the next two weeks will be the "hardest and saddest" for America as the coronavirus crisis reaches its peak.

"This is going to be the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans' lives, quite frankly," he told Fox News.

“This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment – only it's not going to be localized, it's going to be happening all over the country. And I want America to understand that,” added Adams.

US President Donald Trump said Saturday that the US is heading into what could be its toughest weeks as coronavirus cases rise nationwide.

The number of cases of coronavirus in the US has continued to grow in recent days. As of Saturday night, there were at least 8,376 deaths and at least 308,533 cases of infection.