State Roundup: Trump declares disaster, gives Maryland more money

State Roundup: Trump declares disaster, gives Maryland more money

The State House in Annapolis ( file photo)

TRUMP DECLARES MARYLAND DISASTER: After a phone call with Gov. Larry Hogan, President Donald Trump released more funding to Maryland on Thursday night and declared that a major disaster exists in the state amid the coronavirus outbreak, McKenna Oxenden for the Sun reports.

  • The entire Maryland congressional delegation has announced $1.2 million in federal funding through the Department of Health to help community health centers through the COVID-19 outbreak, Kelly Broderick for WMAR reports.
  • And on Thursday, for the third straight day, Maryland’s total of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus climbed by a record amount, Nathan Ruiz for the Sun writes. It surpassed 100 new cases in a day for the first time with a total of 580.
  • Frederick County’s state and local leaders from both sides of the aisle praised Gov. Larry Hogan’s and other state officials’ actions to keep the state’s residents safe, Steve Bohnel of the Frederick News-Post notes.
  • A coronavirus testing site at FedEx Field in Landover, Prince George’s County, is expected to start testing at the beginning of next week, Mike Murillo for WTOP reports.

UNEMPLOYMENT HITS RECORD HIGH: A record 3.3 million Americans, including 42,000 Marylanders, filed for jobless benefits last week, overwhelming the country’s unemployment system and creating a backlog for processing the unprecedented surge of claims, Scott Dance for the Sun reports.

  • Restaurant workers constitute a large portion of the more than 42,300 Maryland residents who filed first-time unemployment claims this week, Adam Bednar for The Daily Record reports.
  • Initial unemployment claims for Montgomery County increased 1,500% in a week, Briana Adhikusuma for Bethesda Beat reports.
  • In Washington County, the total jumped to 1,238, up from 95, Mike Lewis for the Herald-Mail reports. Meanwhile, because of increased demand brought on by the pandemic, groceries, convenience stores and some other businesses announced that they are expanding and hiring.
  • At least 102,000 D.C.-area residents have lost their jobs amid the coronavirus-related shutdowns, “a worrisome glimpse of the economic damage being wrought as the area’s caseload continues to surge,” Antonio Olivo, Fenit Nirappil and Laura Vozzella of the Post write.
  • The Allegany County Board of Commissioners announced Thursday the creation of a fund to award grants to small businesses impacted by the crisis, Greg Larry for the Cumberland Times-News reports. The county will award $2,500 grants to qualifying small businesses with no repayment.
  • Bus contractors serving over 110,000 public school students in Baltimore County will not be paid during the school system’s coronavirus shutdown, Wilborn Nobles for the Sun reports.
  • Nicolas Straut for the Baltimore Post-Examiner lists five ways for Maryland businesses to adapt during the coronavirus outbreak.

DAY CARE CENTERS CLOSING: The state will close all child care centers, except those serving essential personnel, at the end of the day Friday, Heather Mongillio for the Frederick News-Post reports.

  • Kelly Powers of the Salisbury Daily Times explores what the closures mean for parents.

HUGE STIMULUS PLAN ON THE WAY TO PASSAGE: Jeff Barker for the Sun examines what a $2.2 trillion economic relief package would mean to Maryland after the Senate passed it. The measure now moves to the House.

  • Longtime federal watchdog Earl Devaney, who led such a federal stimulus effort in the past, said fraudsters will undoubtedly try to game the system, Robin Bravender for Maryland Matters writes.

VACCINE WILL TAKE TIME: Doctors say vaccine is still a year or more away, Bryan Renbaum for reports.

BALTIMORE FIRST RESPONDERS INFECTED: Three first responders in Baltimore have tested positive for COVID-19, Rachel Menitoff for WJZ reports.

HOSPITAL ADMINISTRATOR TALKS PLANNING: How are hospitals doing? Maryland Matters reporter Bruce DePuyt interviewed Maryland Hospitals Association CEO Bob Atlas on Thursday.

MARYLAND WON’T HAVE IN-PERSON ELECTIONS: The Maryland Board of Elections is planning to do away with polling stations for the state’s already delayed primary and voters would instead be required to mail in or drop off their ballots in an effort to limit coronavirus infections, the Associated Press reports.

MAYORAL ELECTIONS AMID COVID-19: The novel coronavirus pandemic may have shut down the city and postponed the mayoral primary, but inevitably Baltimore will have to choose a new mayor and the crisis is impacting that race, Stephen Janis and Taya Graham write for the Afro.

CONGRESS WORKING REMOTELY EXCEPT FOR VOTES: The Capitol is closed to the public because of the coronavirus outbreak, and except for votes, many representatives, senators and their staffs are working from home or other locations to try to stay out of harm’s way, Jeff Barker for the Sun reports.

MEALS DURING UNCERTAIN TIMES: The Howard County Public School System is ramping up its free meals program and is now providing food items at 12 sites across the county and will be providing weekend meals in April, Jess Nocera for Baltimore Sun Media writes.

  • The St. Mary’s Caring Soup Kitchen in Great Mills will remain open for take-and-go meals even after closing its sit-down dining March 16, Madison Bateman reports for the St. Mary’s Enterprise.

UB LAW PROFESSOR RECOVERING: John Bessler, the husband of U.S. Sen. Amy Klobluchar, has been released from a hospital where he was being treated for low oxygen and pneumonia as a result of the coronavirus, Amy Forliti of the AP reports. Bessler is a University of Baltimore law professor.

COULD MARYLAND CASES PEAK IN JULY? Maryland’s outbreak of the new coronavirus is on pace to peak around July 4, Emily Opilo and Meredith Cohn write for the Sun. A state Health Department official told the expected peak to members of the Maryland elections board, although outside health experts cautioned against predictions involving a certain date because a lot is unknown or could change.

HOTEL ROOMS FOR HEALTH WORKERS: Montgomery County might help fund hotel rooms for medical employees, first responders and other frontline staff to rest between long shifts, Briana Adhikusuma writes for Bethesda Beat.

GARRETT CLOSES RENTALS FOR VISITORS: The Garrett County Health Officer has ordered all transient rentals in Garrett County to be closed effective Friday at 5 p.m. including AirBnBs and rentals through management companies, Public Information Officer Diane Lee reports.

SPREADING CHEER: Jodi Beder’s daily 30-minute cello concert in Mount Rainier is one of hundreds of kind gestures being made by people across the nation to combat the dislocation and isolation brought on by the novel coronavirus, reports Michael E. Ruane for the Post.

PLEXIGLASS COMING TO A STORE NEAR YOU: Grocers, including all 155 of Giant’s pharmacies, are installing plexiglass barrier screens between customers and the payment station, Lisa Robinson for WBAL reports.

LANDFILLS IN DEMAND: While more people have been staying home, Carroll County landfills have experienced a recent influx of visitors, raising concerns about how to provide an essential service while limiting potential exposure to the coronavirus, Mary Grace Keller for the Carroll County Times reports.

About The Author

Meg Tully

Contributing Editor Meg Tully has been covering Maryland politics for more than five years. She has worked for The Frederick News-Post, where she reported during the General Assembly session in Annapolis. She has also worked for The (Hanover) Evening Sun and interned at Baltimore Magazine. Meg has won awards from the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association for her state and county writing, and a Keystone Press Award for feature writing from the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association. She is a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. If you have additional questions or comments contact Meg at:

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