54 NEW COVID-19 POSITIVES: Fifty-four cases of coronavirus were reported in Maryland on Sunday, bringing the state’s total to at least 244. Three people have died, the Sun’s Yvonne Wenger and Phil Davis report.
- A woman in her 40s is the first Montgomery County resident to die from coronavirus and the third Marylander, the state Department of Health announced late Saturday night, according to Bethesda Beat. Of the states 244 cases, 83 are in Montgomery.
- The second Marylander who died as a result of COVID-19 was a Baltimore County man in his 60s who suffered from underlying medical conditions. Gov. Larry Hogan announced the death Friday night in a statement, Bryan Sears of the Daily Record reports.
- House Speaker Adrienne Jones’ office alerted members of the General Assembly Sunday afternoon that a committee staff member has tested positive for the new coronavirus. Reports Yvonne Wenger for the Sun.
- A second Frederick County resident tested positive for COVID-19, according to a health department spokesperson. The case was found in a man in his 20s. This is Frederick County’s second confirmed case of COVID-19, Allen Etzler of the Frederick News-Post reports.
- In the Virginia, Maryland and D.C. area, the number of people who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus climbed to 568 as of Sunday morning, as officials in the region announced their biggest single-day increases in cases so far, writes Jenna Portnoy for the Post.
- The Sun’s Hallie Miller and Meredith Cohn offer some tips on dealing with all but the most severe cases of the illness, and it sounds a lot like what mom used to prescribe: rest, fluids and, most of all, chicken soup.
HOGAN URGES SOCIAL DISTANCING: Kelsey Kushner of WJZ-TV reports that Gov. Larry Hogan said Sunday that he is aggravated by people failing to heed warnings about the necessity of social distancing to blunt the spread of the new coronavirus and called for stricter enforcement.
- Hogan is expected to address the issue of social distancing at 11 a.m. today, WBFF-TV reports. He will follow a 10 a.m. Health Department update.
STATE WORKER PAY HIKES END: The Sun’s Phil Davis reports that Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration has halted pay increases for state employees working during the coronavirus outbreak, saying the state has “taken every reasonable and appropriate measure to protect employees and control the spread of this disease in our facilities.”
FIX DIES FOR COMPENSATION TO WRONGFULLY CONVICTED: Heather Cobun of the Daily Record reports that the Maryland General Assembly failed to pass legislation that would streamline the process for the wrongfully convicted to receive compensation and other benefits, frustrating advocates who hoped that years of work would finally pay off.
BILLS TO CURB ROAD WIDENING FAIL: For the second year a row, legislation to place restraints on Gov. Larry Hogan’s effort to widen I-495 and I-270 has failed in the General Assembly, Louis Peck of Bethesda Beat reports.
OPINION: SAVING DEMOCRACY: “In Maryland, a special election to replace the late Rep. Elijah Cummings will be conducted entirely by mail.” Other states also are holding mail-in only elections, Nick Corasaniti and Stephanie Saul write in the New York Times op-ed pages. “As the coronavirus outbreak upends daily life and tears at the social fabric of the country, states are rapidly searching for ways to protect the most sacred institution in a democracy: voting.”
- In a column for Maryland Matters, Howard Lee Gorrell also addresses the issue of vote by mail, defending it as a secure method of voting.
CORONAVIRUS FALLOUT: LOCAL GOVTs CHALLENGED BY BUDGETING: As local governments in Maryland race to contain the spread of coronavirus, they know another enormous challenge is just around the corner — balancing their budgets amid an economic and health crisis, Alison Knezevich writes in the Sun.
CRAB INDUSTRY IN LIMBO ON FOREIGN WORKERS: While the federal government announced March 5 that it would release an additional 35,000 temporary visas for foreign workers for the region’s crab industry, the sweeping coronavirus pandemic has thrown doubt on when and if the additional 35,000 workers will arrive, said Amanda Wright, CEO of Virginia-based Phoenix Labor Consultants. She said releasing those visas “is not even being talked about now” at the federal government, Jeremy Cox writes in a Bay Journal story reprinted in Maryland Reporter.
RANKING POLITICIANS’ RESPONSE: Post reporter Robert McCartney rates local leaders in their responses to the coronavirus. Oddly enough, he writes, physician-turned-politician Ralph Northam, governor of Virginia, comes in third while businessman-turned-politician Larry Hogan, governor of Maryland, ranks No. 1.
- Luke Broadwater and Jeff Barker of the Sun write that “While Trump dithered in denial – and infections and deaths from the pandemic rose – a different style of leadership was taking place in Annapolis. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican like Trump, was becoming increasingly alarmed by the spread of the virus.”
- And no surprises here, Brian Griffiths of the Republican Red Maryland blog calls for Senate President Bill Ferguson and House Speaker Adrienne Jones to resign for what he calls dereliction of duty. (On March 12, he called for them to shut the GA down when he thought they would run through April 6. They did shut down on March 18.)
SEARCH TO REPLACE DEL. CAIN: The Anne Arundel County Democratic Central Committee has begun the search for a new state delegate from Annapolis following the resignation Wednesday of Del. Alice Cain, Olivia Sanchez of the Sun reports.
OCEAN CITY CLOSES BEACH, BOARDWALK: Phil Davis of the Sun reports that Ocean City is closing its beach and boardwalk to visitors as officials look to keep people away from the Eastern Shore resort town amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
GARRETT UNDER STATE OF EMERGENCY: In light of the first two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Garrett County, the board of commissioners declared a state of emergency, effective at 5 p.m. Sunday, reports Joseph Hauger of the Garrett County Republican.
NATIONAL GUARD IN B’MORE: The Maryland National Guard on Friday evening began setting up operations in Baltimore City to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, Brandon Weigel of Baltimore Fishbowl is reporting.
- It was an unnerving sight, writes Fern Shen for Baltimore Brew.
STATE LOSING GROUND: Maryland has made strides in upgrading some of its infrastructure but has lost ground in other areas, a report card from a national group of civil engineers concluded last week, Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters reports.
GUN SALES ON RISE: Many gun buyers seem worried that the exponential spread of Covid-19 will lead to a season of hard-to-find essentials — of illness-related disruptions in the grocery supply chain — with angry have-nots out to steal from the haves, Paul Duggan and Rachel Weinerreport in a Post story on the rise in local gun and ammo sales.
SBA OFFERS PANDEMIC-RELATED SMALL BIZ LOANS: The U.S. Small Business Administration has issued a “declaration of economic injury” for Maryland in response to the coronavirus pandemic. That makes the state’s small businesses eligible for low-interest loans of up to $2 million, Jeff Barker of the Sun writes.
DISTILLERIES SWITCH TO CREATING HAND SANITIZERS: The Sun’s Sameer Rao reports that in a move that echoes efforts across the nation, from Vermont to California, at least five Baltimore and Maryland liquor distilleries have started making another high-demand product — hand sanitizer.
LIQUOR SALES UP TOO: As the coronavirus outbreak has caused an economic hardship across Maryland since many small businesses have been ordered to close their doors, one particular type of business has thrived: liquor stores, Steve Bohnel reports in the Frederick News-Post.
OPINION: DEFENDING NONPROFITS: In a column for Maryland Matters, 18-year-old Lintaro Donovan of Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring implores U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin to defend the financial stability of nonprofits, which help so many people, during the coronavirus pandemic.
ALSOBROOKS EMPLOYEE CHARGED WITH ATTEMPTED MURDER: An employee in the office of Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (D) has been charged with attempted first- and second-degree murder, Rachel Chason of the Post reports. The person has been fired.