HOWARD COUNTY, MD — Maryland’s first child to test positive for the new coronavirus is a 5-year-old from Howard County who attended Elkridge Elementary School. The state has 107 confirmed cases, up from 85 on Wednesday, the same day the state reported its first coronavirus death, a Prince George’s County man in his 60s with underlying health issues.
“We have our first pediatric case of coronavirus. Coronavirus, as we know, does not discriminate … we are going to continue to see more confirmed cases. We must do our part to flatten the curve and ultimately save lives,” Howard County Executive Calvin Ball said at a Thursday afternoon press conference. “Avoid group gatherings, playdates and visitors to your home. Do not congregate in any public private spaces. This means walking trails, basketball courts, playgrounds and more.”
Howard County Health Officer Dr. Maura Rossman said the child was evaluated by medical professionals and sent home to recuperate. They do not believe she shared the virus at school. All schools in Maryland are tentatively closed through March 27.
“Given the timeframe of onset, the child was not an exposure risk to children and staff at school. While this is the first coronavirus case in a child in Maryland, we know that children, teens and young adults are all able to get the virus. It does not discriminate,” Rossman said. “Anyone can get sick regardless of what country and what state and what county they live in and what age they are. We must recognize when children or anyone is sick with the virus that a larger concern is they pass the disease along to seniors or those with underlying health issues. They are the groups more adversely effected and may require hospitalization — and may not recover.”
Rossman emphasized that “now is the time to stay home.”
“In capital letters, STAY HOME. As difficult as it may be, staying home the next couple of weeks will help flatten the curve, slow the virus and save lives,” she said.
People must re-evaluate how they live their lives, Rossman said.
“If you must go out into public, use social distancing … continue to wash your hands and do it frequently. We know this is the single most effective way to prevent getting sick,” she said.