Dozens of people have tested positive for coronavirus at a nursing home in the suburbs west of Baltimore, Maryland's governor announced late Saturday as the state's death toll from the virus has doubled.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said the state has experienced a "tragic coronavirus outbreak" at Pleasant View Nursing Home in Mount Airy, about 30 miles west of downtown Baltimore.
"As we have been warning for weeks, older Marylanders and those with underlying health conditions are more vulnerable and at a significantly higher risk of contracting this disease," Hogan said in a statement.
A total of 66 Pleasant View residents have tested positive for COVID-19, with 11 currently hospitalized.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Saturday the state has experienced a "tragic coronavirus outbreak" at the Pleasant View Nursing Home in Mount Airy, Md. (AP Photo/Brian Witte)
Hogan said multiple state agencies are on the scene, working closing with the local health department and the facility to take "urgent steps" to protect additional residents and staff who may have been exposed to the virus.
“I want to thank all of the doctors, nurses and first responders all across our state who are working around the clock to respond to this pandemic," the governor said.
Officials also announced five more deaths as of Saturday night, doubling the state's coronavirus toll.
“It took nearly three weeks for the National Capital Region to go from 0 to 1,000 cases of COVID-19. It took three days for the region to go from 1,000 to 2,000 cases in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia," Hogan said. "This is a rapidly evolving and escalating emergency, which is now surrounding the nation’s capital."
The governor called on residents to stay home -- except for essential reasons -- in order to help stop the spread of the virus.
The National Guard sets up tents to be used for coronavirus testing, Saturday, March 21, 2020, in a parking lot for FedEx Field in Landover, Md., outside of Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
“We are leveraging the full arsenal of public health and government, but defeating this invisible enemy will require a unity of effort and spirit like nothing we have ever faced," Hogan said.
Nursing homes have emerged as a focus of heightened concern as coronavirus cases spike amid a global pandemic.
About 1.4 million patients are cared for in nursing homes across the U.S., including severely disabled people.
As the virus has spread, nursing homes around the country have cut off visitors and taken steps to isolate residents from one another by ending common activities and serving meals in individual rooms.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.