STATE BEGINS PLANNING FOR REOPENING: Gov. Larry Hogan said on Wednesday that the battle against the coronavirus has progressed to a point at which plans to gradually reopen Maryland’s economy are being formulated, Bryan Renbaum of Maryland Reporter reports.
- But the heavy emphasis was on safety, as Hogan told residents not to get too excited, Heather Mongilio writes for the Frederick News-Post. The state is not reopening yet. The worst thing the state could do is stop following the measures it took to slow the spread of the disease, he said.
- Hogan said hospitalization rates are beginning to stabilize because of the “early and aggressive actions, and because of the extraordinary sacrifice of Marylanders.” Consequently, he said, plans for rolling back executive orders would begin to be revealed next week, the Sun’s McKenna Oxenden reports.
- Maryland is still “headed up the curve,” Hogan said, noting that Monday and Tuesday, which saw a combined 87 deaths, amounted to the state’s deadliest 48-hour period so far. But the governor also pointed to positive signs, Jessica Iannetta of the Baltimore Business Journal reports.
- “We’re now in a position to move from containment and mitigation to plan the gradual rollout of our recovery phase,” Hogan said, but cautioned how much further the state has to go, Nathan Ruiz writes for the Sun.
HOGAN MANDATES FACE MASKS: Gov. Larry Hogan is requiring masks or face coverings to be worn in stores and on public transit beginning Saturday, as Maryland continues to face the coronavirus pandemic, Nathan Ruiz, Emily Opilo and Pamela Wood report in the Sun.
- Dave McMillion of the Hagerstown Herald-Mail writes that customers and workers must use masks or face coverings in businesses such as grocery stores, pharmacies and convenience stores. For children ages 2 to 9, customers shall use “reasonable efforts” to have children use face coverings. Retail staff also must wear face coverings, as well as food service workers who interact with customers.
- Frederick County businesses will have a few more days to prepare for a requirement that employees and customers cover their faces while in their establishments, after the governor issued his executive order Wednesday afternoon, Ryan Marshall of the Frederick News-Post is reporting. Frederick’s mandate to wear masks was to take effect today.
- In addition to the mask requirement, Hogan said retail establishments, such as grocery stores, pharmacies and convenience stores, will need to implement “appropriate social distancing measures,” Hogan said, Marcus Dieterle of Baltimore Fishbowl reports.
B’MORE RESIDENTS ENCOURAGED TO WEAR MASKS: Two days after the Baltimore City Council recommended it and a few minutes before Gov. Larry Hogan issued a similar mandate, Baltimore Mayor Jack Young asked city residents to wear cloth masks or other facial coverings “as much as possible” when outside their homes, Mark Reutter of Baltimore Brew reports.
FACE MASKS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Colin Campbell of the Sun explains what you need to know about making, finding and wearing face coverings in public — including why they are required and what the penalties are for not wearing one.
TASERED FOR KEEPING FACE MASK ON? Jess Nocera reports in the Howard County Times that when a Howard County man refused to remove his protective face covering when entering the LA Mart grocery store in Columbia earlier this month, he was allegedly tasered by a security guard, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
ERRORS IN MAIL-IN BALLOT DIRECTIONS: As Maryland undertakes its first election held primarily via mail, an early problem emerged this week as ballots landed in voters’ mailboxes: Some of the instructions are wrong, Emily Opilo reports for the Sun.
12 HOSPITALS GET OK FOR MORE BEDS: Twelve Maryland hospitals and two nursing homes have gained emergency clearance to add more than 900 new hospital beds to the state’s collective capacity, in preparation for an expected surge of COVID-19 patients in need of acute care, Morgan Eichensehr is reporting for the Baltimore Business Journal.
SHORE HOSPITALS SEEK MED PERSONNEL: As hospitals throughout Maryland scramble to secure the medical equipment their providers need to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic, facilities across the rural Eastern Shore face a different shortage: a shallow pool of medically qualified personnel, Candace Spector reports in the Easton Start Democrat.
B’MORE NURSING HOME SUFFERS MAJOR OUTBREAK: In one of the largest known coronavirus outbreaks in the country, 129 residents and 41 staffers at a Northwest Baltimore nursing home have tested positive for COVID-19 infection, officials with the city and the facility’s operator confirmed Wednesday to Scott Dance of the Sun.
MO CO CASES UP 78% IN A WEEK: The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Montgomery County increased 78% in the past week, Caitlynn Peetz reports in Bethesda Beat.
- However, Montgomery County’s health officers say a peak of the county’s coronavirus cases could happen as early as this weekend, or it could occur days later, Briana Adhikusuma reports in Bethesda Beat.
CORRECTIONS WING SET UP FOR ILL INMATES: A deactivated wing of the Maryland Correctional Institution-Hagerstown is being converted to a field hospital for inmates who test positive for the novel coronavirus, Melody Simmons of the Baltimore Business Journal reports.
CARROLL SCHOOL CAMPUS USED FOR HOMELESS: On Wednesday afternoon, Carroll County saw the first clients for a new temporary medical respite center on the Westminster campus of East Middle School that aims to support homeless people threatened by the coronavirus, Jon Kelvey of the Carroll County Times is reporting.
MIXED REVIEWS ON WA CO’s DISTANCE LEARNING: As of Wednesday, 155 comments have been posted on the Washington County school district’s Facebook page — some praising the experience and the dedication of teachers, and others expressing frustration with the amount of work and difficulties in keeping their children focused, Sherry Greenfield reports for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.
EDGAR FEINGOLD, 92, KNOWN FOR ACLU WORK: Edgar Lee Feingold, a retired public relations executive who was active in the American Civil Liberties Union, died of respiratory failure April 6 at his Tuscany-Canterbury home. He was 92, Jacques Kelly writes for the Sun.