Here in Maryland, the message remains loud and clear.
We don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but Gov. Larry Hogan continues to tell Marylanders the same thing just about every day — like stay home and avoid large crowds —but apparently those messages have been ignored by some, and more importantly, the situation has become more dire.
We’ve hit another critical point in the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and, for that reason, the governor announced that he was enacting a stay-at-home order beginning 8 p.m. Monday.
What does that mean? It seems that not a lot actually changes. You can still go to work if you are deemed an essential employee, you can still go to the grocery store and pharmacy, you can still go for a walk (just avoid crowds on this one) and you can still live your lives.
What does change is that if you don’t have a reason to leave your home — don’t.
“We are no longer asking or suggesting that Marylanders stay home, we are directing them to do so,” Hogan said Monday.
He added that state and local law enforcement will begin enforcing these and other directives the state has already announced.
Life has changed exponentially in just three weeks — the number of confirmed cases continues to rise, the number of deaths is likewise growing.
Just how much has it grown? According to the governor, the number of positive cases increased by 397 percent in the state in the past week and the number of deaths tripled from five to 15 over the weekend.
On Saturday night, we learned of an outbreak at a nursing home just across the Carroll County border in Mount Airy — with more than 65 residents testing positive. One of them, a man in his 90s, has now died. On Monday, we heard from Hogan that more than 25 members of the staff there are now experiencing symptoms.
We send our positive thoughts to these and all who have been exposed. We hope they recover soon.
We also send our hope for everyone else to heed Hogan’s words.
Maryland’s stay-at-home mandate just makes sense. You can’t spread a virus if you are not coming into contact with other people. And if you are limiting your outdoor trips, you are then limiting your chance for exposure.
We urge you to use common sense in the coming weeks and make sure to keep your distance, avoid going outside unless necessary and just do what you can to help your family, friends and neighbors slow this virus.
“We are only at the beginning of this crisis and it is going to get considerably worse before it gets better,” Hogan said.
The pandemic may already seem to be at its worse given the daily growth in confirmed cases, and the around-the-clock news about the coronavirus, but don’t be fooled.
Here in Maryland, it is far from over and will not get any closer to slowing until we take these common-sense steps.
So stay home, be safe and know that we are all in this together. Life will return to normal, but it will take much longer if we continue to ignore the state mandates.