By The Associated Press
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland received a federal disaster declaration in response to the coronavirus, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Thursday night.
“This declaration will help provide much-needed funding for state and local governments and nonprofits, and it will be another important step in Maryland’s aggressive and coordinated response to COVID-19,” Hogan said in a news release.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan talks about the state’s response to the new coronavirus during a news conference on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in Annapolis, Md. Maryland schools will be closed another four weeks through April 24. Hogan said he has made a formal request for a presidential disaster declaration to help provide funding for state and local governments as well as nonprofits. (AP Photo/Brian Witte)
Maryland received more than 42,000 unemployment insurance claims last week, and the state is closing child care programs in response to the coronavirus, state officials announced earlier in the day.
The 42,334 unemployment claims as businesses closed in response to the virus breaks the previous record for a week set in 1982. A record-shattering 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits in a single week.
Meanwhile, all child care programs in the state are to be closed by the end of the day Friday, Karen Salmon announced on the state board of education’s website. Salmon noted that the state has established child care programs to serve only designated essential personnel. The announcement comes a day after she announced that Maryland was extending school closings for four weeks through April 24.
Maryland announced the state has confirmed at least 580 cases of the virus. That’s 157 more cases than the day before, the highest one-day total increase yet. Maryland has had at least four deaths due to the virus.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
On Wednesday, the Maryland Board of Elections announced it is planning to do away with polling stations for the state’s already delayed primary. Voters would instead be required to mail in or drop off their ballots in an effort to limit coronavirus infections.
If approved, the move would eliminate any need for Maryland’s more than 4 million registered voters to cast their ballots in person on June 2, according to a draft presented by elections officials at their Wednesday meeting, held by teleconference.
The state’s primary was originally scheduled for April 28. Gov. Larry Hogan postponed it by executive order on March 17.
Ballots, with clear instructions explaining how to return them, would likely need to be mailed to all registered voters by the end of April, Nikki Charlson, deputy administrator for the Board of Elections, said during Wednesday’s meeting.