ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A new cornonavirus testing site has been launched at Perdue Stadium on Maryland's Eastern Shore in response to poultry plant outbreaks, Gov. Larry Hogan said Friday.

The site at the stadium named after the founder of Perdue Farms in Salisbury, Maryland, in Wicomico County opens as 279 cases of coronavirus have been associated with poultry workers, the governor said. There are a total of 425 virus cases confirmed in the county.

“The case rate in Wicomico County is now the fourth-highest in the state, higher than both Baltimore City and Baltimore County,” Hogan said in a news release. "These outbreaks are not only a serious public health concern, they are also a potential threat to Maryland’s leading agricultural industry and to our nation’s essential food supply chain.

Counties that neighbor Wicomico have significantly fewer cases of the virus. For example, Dorchester County has 51 cases, while Worcester has 65 and Somerset 26.

The governor said a community testing site has been mobilized in Caroline County, where the state says 74 virus cases have been confirmed. Hogan also said a Delmarva Poultry Production Task Force meeting has convened between Maryland, Delaware and Virginia as part of a response with multiple states and agencies.

Hogan said a field team from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has arrived to work with state and local health officials on a comprehensive health plan for the Eastern Shore poultry industry.

“This remains a rapidly evolving situation, and we will continue to keep Eastern Shore residents informed about these outbreaks in their area,” Hogan said.

State officials have said the number of cases is expected to rise as testing becomes more available, and the number of confirmed cases rose by the highest amount yet between Thursday and Friday. Maryland reported at least 23,472 cases in the state as of Friday morning. That is an increase of 1,730 cases from Thursday.

There have been 1,098 confirmed deaths from the virus as of Friday morning, an increase of 51 from the previous day. There have been 97,511 negative tests. There are now 1,668 people in the state who are hospitalized due to the virus, a decrease of 43 from Thursday.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the highly contagious virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal.


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