Hogan wrote on Twitter Thursday that the state’s Public Health Laboratory in Baltimore confirmed the patients—a married couple in their 70s as well as a woman in her 50s in Montgomery County—had contracted COVID-19 while traveling overseas.
They are in “good condition,” he said, without elaborating on where they may have traveled.
Following the three cases, Hogan told a news conference he is declaring an emergency, following similar declarations made in Florida, Washington state, California, and Hawaii in recent days after those states respectively confirmed their first coronavirus cases. The emergency was declared to mobilize more resources, and the governor also authorized the state emergency agency and Department of Health to coordinate the COVID-19 response.
“A thorough investigation is underway to determine their recent interactions with the public,” he said of the couple. “This news is serious,” but “this is exactly what our state has been actively and aggressively preparing for many weeks now,” Hogan said. “I encourage all Marylanders not to panic, but to take this seriously and to stay informed as we continue to provide updates.”
Maryland Deputy Health Secretary Fran Phillips told the news conference that the patients came back to the United States on Feb. 20 and were tested on March 3 after state officials learned of their symptoms.
So far, about a dozen other states have confirmed cases of COVID-19. Officials in Colorado on Thursday night also confirmed the state’s first case, according to the state’s health agency, which said the patient is a male in his 30s who isn’t from Colorado and was visiting Summit County.
“The department is working with the local public health agencies to identify any close contacts who may have been exposed while the person was infectious. Public health practitioners will attempt to contact anyone who may have been exposed and monitor them for signs and symptoms of COVID-19,” Colorado health officials said.
Tennessee on Thursday also confirmed the state’s first patient, who is being quarantined in Williamson County, said Gov. Bill Lee in a news conference.
So far, more than 150 cases and 12 deaths have been reported by the CDC and various state health agencies across the U.S. as of Thursday evening. The majority of the deaths have occurred in King County, Washington.