As Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Rise, So Does Unemployment

    Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr (R) announced the largest increase in overnight confirmed COVID-19 infections in Maryland Thursday — from 423 infections to 580.

    “We are only at the beginning of this crisis, in our state, in the National Capital Region, and in America,” Hogan said in a statement. “As I have repeatedly stressed, we should continue to expect the number of cases to dramatically and rapidly rise.”

    Maryland accounts for just under half of the 1,200 confirmed cases in the Maryland, D.C. and Virginia area.

    As the number of confirmed cases rises, so does unemployment.

    According to the State Department of Labor, 42,334 Marylanders applied for unemployment insurance last week.

    The week before saw only 3,852 claims.

    “This battle is going to be much harder, take much longer, and be much worse than almost anyone comprehends,” Hogan said.

    The governor has taken a number of steps to protect workers in the state in the face of the public health crisis.

    On Wednesday, he officially requested a disaster declaration for the state from President Trump, which would allow people who don’t currently qualify for state unemployment insurance to receive benefits through disaster unemployment assistance. On Thursday evening, the federal government accepted Hogan’s request.

    At a news conference earlier this week, administration officials unveiled the COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund — a grant program to help small businesses maintain their staffs through the state of emergency.

    At the close of the abridged legislative session last week, Hogan enacted legislation to expand unemployment benefits for workers who may temporarily lose their jobs or find themselves in a situation where they may need to self-isolate or quarantine — the only bill he has signed since the session’s close.

    “I want Marylanders to know that if we continue to lead and work together — if we rely on and help each other — together we will get through this crisis,” Hogan said.

    Here is a county-by-county breakdown of unemployment claims last week, according to the Maryland Department of Labor:

    Claim Filed By Residents of: TelephoneInternet
    Anne Arundel3294188
    Baltimore City8124580
    Baltimore County5916172
    Prince George’s4793313
    Queen Anne’s34421
    St. Mary’s56491
    Totals by Type:4,38137,953
    Total Claims: 42,334


    [email protected]

    Hannah Gaskill
    Hannah Gaskill received her master’s of journalism degree in December 2019 from the University of Maryland. She previously worked on the print layout design team at The Diamondback, reported on criminal justice in Maryland for Capital News Service and served as a production assistant for The Confluence — the daily news magazine on 90.5 WESA, Pittsburgh’s NPR member station. Gaskill has had bylines in The Baltimore Sun, The Washington Post and The Chicago Tribune, among other publications.Before pursuing journalism, she received her bachelor’s of fine art degree from Carnegie Mellon University in 2016. She grew up in Ocean City.