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COVID-19 Joint Information Center Update: January 26, 2021

COVID-19 Joint Information Center Update: January 26, 2021

The Washington County, Maryland Joint Information Center (JIC) provides the following update regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Please visit www.washco-md.net/coronavirus-info for the latest numbers on Washington County’s COVID-19 dashboard.’
 
COVID-19 Joint Information Daily Briefings will be released ONLY on Tuesdays and Fridays.
 
**The dashboard is updated Monday-Friday**
 
EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER
 
If you’re in phase 1A, 1B, or 1C, have completed a vaccination registration form, and are waiting for a vaccination appointment:
 
What’s next?
 
  1. PLEASE BE PATIENT. Over 14,000 individuals have completed a Vaccine Appointment Request form either through Meritus Health or the Washington County Health Department. We are incredibly encouraged by the amount of Washington County residents wanting to get the vaccine! However, the volume of completed forms greatly exceeds the current amount of vaccinations available in Washington County. It will take several weeks to receive a call to schedule your vaccination appointment.
  2. PLEASE REFRAIN FROM CALLING MERITUS OR THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT TO SEE IF YOU ARE ON THE LIST. If you have completed a form on the Meritus Health website, through MyChart, or on the Health Department’s website, you are on the list. Please be patient and wait for a call. As stated above, it will take weeks to get to everyone.
 
Those aged 65 and older can complete the form below to be contacted for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. You will be contacted to schedule your vaccine appointment in the order in which your request has been received.
 
The Washington County Health Department has created an interest form in order to create lists for each priority group moving forward. If you are interested in receiving a vaccine and are in the priority groups identified in Phase 1A, 1B, & 1C (other than 65+) please fill out the form below. 
 
While many are waiting to get vaccinated, please continue to follow all of the recommended guidelines to keep yourself safe. Wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose while out in public or when you are around others outside of your household, wash your hands often, social distance, and avoid gatherings with people outside of your household.
 
If you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms or have been around others that have tested positive, PLEASE STAY HOME. Monitor your health closely and get tested.
 
Please continue to follow the guidelines put forth by the CDC and Maryland Department of Health:
 
  • WEAR A MASK that covers your nose and mouth
  • WASH YOUR HANDS
  • WATCH YOUR DISTANCE
 
***Timelines are subject to change depending on multiple factors, including vaccine availability***
 
COUNTY STATUS: PHASE 1C
 
It is important that those who qualify in each phase wait to be notified of when and how to schedule a vaccine appointment. As phases open up and vaccine supply is received locally, more people will be notified.
 
At this time, phone calls for more information or to ask questions are placing a burden on the systems. The goal of everyone responding to the COVID-19 pandemic is to get everyone in Washington County vaccinated as quickly and safely as possible. We thank you for your patience as we work through vaccinating those in Phase 1A and 1B.
 
PILOT PROGRAM WITH GIANT AND WALMART PHARMACIES
The State of Maryland has launched a pilot program for COVID-19 vaccines to be administered at Giant and Walmart pharmacies. There are two Martin’s locations in Washington County that are part of this program. Please visit https://martinsfoods.com/pages/tgc-vaccines to learn more about this program.
 
If you or a loved one is struggling with anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide, or substance use, please dial 2-1-1. For a more in-depth look at resources available in Washington County, please visit www.washcohope.com.
 
 
To partner with the community for this outreach campaign, golden thread bracelets will be given to businesses and community organizations across Washington County who would like to be a Threads of Hope partner. All partners are asked to hand out bracelets to anyone who may need encouragement during this season. If you are a business or organization in Washington County that would like to get involved, please sign-up at www.washcohope.com. Scroll to the bottom of the page to complete the form.
 
The County recognizes that nothing about this year has been normal. As we enter into the winter months, staying connected may become more difficult. It is okay to reach out for help. Citizens are encouraged to check on your friends and family members. Find creative ways to connect virtually or send cards of encouragement in the mail. We will get through this is together.
 
COVID-19 TESTING SITES IN WASHINGTON COUNTY, MD
 
  • Meritus Screening Drive Thru Center is located at 13620 Crayton Blvd. The drive-thru screening center is open Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m and Saturday from 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
  • Health Department Winter Testing Site: located at 13 West Lee Street, Hagerstown, MD. The site is open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  • CVS Drive Thru Testing Site located at 1503 Potomac Ave, Hagerstown MD 21742. Please visit https://www.cvs.com/minuteclinic/covid-19-testing to see if you qualify for testing at this site and to schedule an appointment.
  • CVS Drive Thru Testing Site located at 10 E Wilson Blvd, Hagerstown MD 21740. Please visit https://www.cvs.com/minuteclinic/covid-19-testing to see if you qualify for testing at this site and to schedule an appointment.
  • U.N.I. Urgent Care Center located at 11236 Robinwood Drive, Suite 101 Hagerstown, MD 21742. Appointment required and patients are charged with copay. Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.; 240-313-4242
  • U.N.I. Urgent Care Center located at 18721 N Pointe Drive Hagerstown, MD 21742. Appointment required and patients are charged with copay. Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.; Saturday 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.; 301-733-8313
 
WASHINGTON COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT
 
The Washington County Health Department is continuing to hire interested individuals to assist us in our local COVID-19 efforts. Anyone interested in becoming a contact tracer or working at our COVID-19 testing site, please email your resume to Jessica Delmotte at jessicaa.delmotte1@maryland.gov.
 
COVID-19 TESTING
 
Mobile Testing Sites: Closed for the winter months.
 
Winter Testing Site: Our drive-thru and walk-up COVID-19 test site is located at one place during the winter months. Please go to the entrance at 13 West Lee Street and follow all traffic directions to be tested.
 
Hagerstown Housing Authority
13 West Lee Street, Hagerstown
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays
9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
 
PSA- Fraudulent Calls Claiming to be Contact Tracers:
We have seen an increased number of reports of people receiving phone calls from individuals claiming to be from the “health department”. These individuals are then asking Washington County residents for personal and financial information. Please be cautious and aware that contact tracers will NEVER ask for your:
 
  • Social security number
  • Financial or bank account information
  • Money or payment
  • Immigration status
  • Passwords
  • Personal details unrelated to COVID-19
 
You should never give out personal information without being sure of who you are talking to directly. Contact tracers will only ask you questions regarding:
  • To verify your name, date of birth and address
  • About your health and symptoms
  • Locations you have been during a specific period of time
  • Names and contact information for any household and casual contacts (we do not disclose your name to anyone, only that they may have come into contact with an infected individual)
 
For more information about contact tracing please visit https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/pages/contact-tracing   
CONTACT TRACING UPDATE
Due to significant increases in the daily volume of COVID-19 positive individuals in our county, the Washington County Health Department is working diligently alongside NORC call center to notify all positive cases and their contacts in a timely manner.
 
Currently NORC call center is making all first contact attempts for COVID-19 positive individuals in Washington County. When you see “MD COVID” or (240) 466-4488 on your phone, please answer the call. If NORC is unable to reach the individual, Washington County Health Department is notified and attempts to reach the COVID-19 positive individual.
 
The key things to know if you test positive but don’t get a call are to isolate (please see the FAQs about Isolation and Quarantine) and to tell your close contacts* of their exposure.
 
We urge Washington County residents to cooperate and help contact tracer by answering all the questions they ask. Your honest answers and the information you provide will help us in slowing the spread of COVID-19. Your cooperation in contact tracing efforts plays a crucial role in keeping our community healthy.
 
* Close contact is described by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as being within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated. Cumulative total can be determined by adding individual exposures over a 24-hour period (e.g., three 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes)
 
For more information of contact tracing please go to https://covidlink.maryland.gov/content/faqs/#faqCT
 
Maryland Department of Health launches MD COVID Alert
Marylanders can now use MD COVID Alert to receive COVID-19 exposure notifications on smartphones The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) today announced the launch of MD COVID Alert, the official COVID-19 Exposure Notifications Express system of Maryland. MD COVID Alert uses Bluetooth Low Energy technology to quickly notify users who might have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 with the goal of reducing infections in Maryland.
Exposure Notifications System: Helping Health Authorities fight COVID-19
 
The Maryland Department of the Environment is offering Free Radon Test Kits to Maryland residents. To learn more about Radon and how to request your free kit go to https://washcohealth.org/free-radon-test-kits-available/
 
MERITUS HEALTH
 
MERITUS HEALTH DRIVE-THRU SCREENING CENTER
The drive-thru screening center for COVID-19 testing is open weekdays from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
 
The screening center is located behind Meritus Medical Plaza at 13620 Crayton Blvd., in Hagerstown. Testing is available for anyone, including those who do not currently have symptoms of the coronavirus, but suspect or are concerned that they have been exposed. No appointments or referrals are needed to be tested. Due to the current volume of cars coming through the line daily, results can take more than five days to be available through a patient’s My Chart account or primary care provider.
Essential Workers
 
Seasonal Illness Care Clinics – SIC Clinics
Meritus Health has established Seasonal Illness Care Clinics or SIC Clinics to safely accommodate patients with symptoms of COVID-19 or flu. Once a patient has been cared for by his/her provider via video or phone, the provider may refer said patient to one of the SIC Clinics. This would be for those individuals who need to be seen in person, but have COVID or flu-like symptoms preventing them from having an in-practice appointment. Symptoms that would be present to visit a SIC Clinic could include:
  • Upper respiratory illness
  • Body aches
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of sense of smell or taste
  • Ear pain
  • Shortness of breath/wheezing
  • Generalized body aches/joint pain/muscle pain/fatigue
  • Chills
  • Nasal congestion/runny nose/sinus pain and pressure, postnasal drip
  • You’ve tested positive for COVID and have worsening symptoms
  • You have known COVID exposure and feel ill
 
SIC Clinic – North (located at Meritus Medical Plaza, 13620 Crayton Blvd.)
Hours of operation: Monday–Sunday from 8 a.m.–4 p.m. including holidays
 
SIC Clinic – Smithsburg – by appointment only (located beside Meritus Pediatric & Adult Medicine – Smithsburg, 22911 Jefferson Blvd.)
Hours of operations: Monday–Thursday 10:00 a.m.-7:30 p.m., Friday 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday 8:30-11:30 a.m
 
UPDATED MERITUSHEALTH.COM COVID-19 RESOURCE PAGE
Please visit the recently updated MeritusHealth.com website for additional COVID-19 resources and information including:
  • Infusion treatment now available in our community
  • E-Visits and free telehealth visits with providers
  • COVID-19 vaccine information
  • Current hospital visitor restrictions
  • How to make a donation to Meritus Health Care Heroes
 
WASHINGTON COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
WCPS intends to resume in-person classes starting Feb 16th, 2021. In addition, WCPS planS to enter Stage 4 on this date, which means that all students who would like to return to school – may do so.
 
WASHINGTON COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Visit www.washcorises.net for constantly updated resources and information to help you reopen your business.
SBA has reopened the #PaycheckProtection Program loan portal to PPP-eligible lenders with $1 billion or less in assets for First and Second Draw applications.
 
Early last week, SBA granted dedicated PPP access to Community Financial Institutions which include Community Development Financial Institutions, Minority Depository Institutions, Certified Development Companies, and Microloan Intermediaries as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to reach underserved and minority small businesses.
 
SBA will continue its emphasis on reaching smaller lenders and businesses by opening to approximately 5,000 more lenders, including community banks, credit unions, and farm credit institutions. Moreover, the agency also plans to have dedicated service hours for these smaller lenders after the portal fully re-opens next week.
 
First Draw PPP Loans are for those borrowers who have not received a PPP loan before August 8, 2020. The first round of the PPP, which ran from March to August 2020.
 
Second Draw PPP Loans are for eligible small businesses with 300 employees or less, that previously received a First Draw PPP Loan and will use or have used the full amount only for authorized uses, and that can demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020.
 
Read the full press release here.
 
For updated PPP Lender forms, guidance, and resources go to https://www.sba.gov/ppp
 
FEEDBACK NEEDED FROM BUSINESS COMMUNITY
Over the last several weeks, the Chamber has been contacted by numerous members and other stakeholders regarding the role of the business community in Maryland’s mass vaccination efforts.
 
To support the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) in their efforts moving forward, it is critically important that you submit your feedback via the two surveys linked below.
 
Please note that responses to these surveys do not entitle the entity to immediate vaccine deliveries. The next phases of vaccine distribution will depend on vaccines that are allocated to Maryland through the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed program. The intent of this effort is to gather feedback and information to better assist in Maryland’s mass vaccination planning for future phases.
 
For more information and assistance on the Stakeholder COVID-19 Mass Vaccination Operations & Logistics Capabilities Support, please contact psector@maryland.gov.
 
Please visit the covidlink.maryland.gov website for more updated information on the COVID-19 Mass Vaccination in the State of Maryland. For additional information and assistance on Mass Vaccination General Inquiries email secretary.commerce@maryland.gov
 
PLEASE FILL OUT THE SURVEYS BELOW ON BEHALF OF YOUR ORGANIZATION
 
Please input your feedback in order for the State to improve the communication resources and tools provided to support your industry in the COVID-19 Mass Vaccination effort.
 
Please fill out the following survey below to provide the State your capability to support Mass Vaccination Operations and Logistics.*
 
*Please know that the beginning of these next phases will depend on when vaccines are allocated to Maryland through the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed program. The intent of this document is to gather feedback in order to assist our mass vaccination plan. Responses to this survey will be used for continued vaccination distribution planning as Maryland moves through Phase 1 into Phase 2 and so forth. Responses to this survey do not entitle the entity to immediate vaccine deliveries.
 
For questions, please contact Ashley Duckman, Vice President of Government Affairs, at aduckman@mdchamber.org or 410-269-0642, ext. 1112.
 
HOTEL AND LODGING GRANT APPLICATION – DUE TOMORROW!
The Washington County Department of Business Development reminds those in the hotel and lodging industry that tomorrow is the last day to submit your application for the Hotel and Lodging Grant. The application can be accessed by clicking the link below.
 
 
Applications will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, January 27, 2021, or until funds have been exhausted. Applications will be accepted electronically and can be downloaded at www.washcorises.net. Details for submission are stated on the application. The website also provides guidelines, application instructions, and answers frequently asked questions.
 
The Hotel and Lodging Grant program will award a total of $581,461. The award amount will be determined based on the hotel room capacity. Criteria of grant qualifications include a minimum requirement of 10 sleeping rooms for a hotel establishment (hotel, motel, inn, lodging business) or a minimum of 5 sleeping rooms for a Bed and Breakfast. Hotel and lodging owners who have previously received a Washington County Rise Up Business Stabilization Grant are still eligible for the Hotel and Lodging Grant.
 
Applicants are strongly encouraged to email their completed application to riseup@washco-md.net or to drop it off at the County Administration Building. Please be sure the application is fully complete, as only completed applications will be accepted and reviewed.
 
For specifics on terms and conditions of the grant program, please visit the Economic Recovery section at www.washcorises.net.
 
Please note any financial information shared as part of this application will remain confidential, but the names of businesses receiving grants and the amount they receive are public information.
 
For questions regarding eligibility criteria or required documentation, please email riseup@washco-md.net.
 
SDAT Reminds Businesses to Verify Good Standing Status, Prepares for 2021 Filing Season
 
The Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) encourages business owners to look up their business’ status on Maryland Business Express to ensure they are in Good Standing with the state, and if not, to follow the steps in this Good Standing Checklist to avoid being forfeited. The Department also announced that its free 2021 Annual Report Extension System is live, which allows businesses to extend their filing deadline from April 15 to June 15, 2021.
 
UPCOMING WEBINARS
 
Wednesday, January 27, 12:00 p.m.
Free Webinar from NFIB – Employee Retention Tax Credit + PPP: The CPAs tell you what to know for your business
Join NFIB’s next COVID-19 webinar for an in-depth discussion with small business experts from Anders CPAs on the expanded Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) and PPP updates.
 
This will be a 45-minute webinar followed by 30 minutes of live Q&A.
Anders expert CPAs and financial consults will cover the following important topics:
  1. Who is eligible for the ERTC?
  2. How much can you claim for the ERTC?
  3. How are the credits claimed?
  4. How to maximize PPP forgiveness and ERTC eligibility? (Yes, you can claim both!)
 
Can’t make this webinar? Don’t worry! Register now and we’ll email you an on-demand version! All of NFIB’s recorded webinars as well as additional COVID-19 resources are available here. Please submit your questions ahead of the webinar so we can make sure to answer them.
 
Wednesday, January 27, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Key Census Program and Tools for Entrepreneurs and Business Owners: A Strategic Approach
Presented by: Andrew Hait, Economic Management Division, U.S. Census Bureau
This webinar will provide an overview of key Census (and non-Census) demographic and business data programs that entrepreneurs and business owners can use to better understand their markets from the start-up phase to expansion considerations. Tune in for the interactive, live demo of the free Census Business Builder data tool that businesses can use to access these data.
 
Wednesday, January 27, 1-2:15 p.m.
Getting the Most from Your Web Presence and Development
Presented by: Ali Stamathis, Business Sustainability Center, Maryland SBDC
Join this session to gather helpful marketing tips to assess your digital footprint. We will identify what your web presence needs in order to be accessible and searchable to an online customer base. We will cover issues on how to identify your business needs on the web, and what you need to do to create next steps to achieve your digital goals. Ideas will assist you in thinking like a customer and making the most of your online efforts!
 
Thursday, January 28, 1-2:30 p.m.
Business Model Design Success in Uncertain Times
Presented by: Dr. Winsome Leslie, President and Ceo of DevSolutions Consulting
Entrepreneurs in the face of COVID19 must be agile to adapt and pivot in a situation of uncertainty. This presentation will describe these methods, with their emphasis on the client and on constant improvement and show participants how these tools are relevant in the current environment.
 
FREE NFIB Webinar: What You Need to Know on Applying for A Second (or initial) PPP Loan!
Don’t miss NFIB’s PPP and COVID-19 experts, Beth Milito and Holly Wade, as they go step-by-step on how to apply for a PPP loan:
 
  • Who’s eligible?
  • Where to apply?
  • New application form
  • How to calculate loan amount
  • And more!
 
Please submit your questions ahead of the webinar so we can make sure to answer them.
(If you have EIDL or Covid paid sick leave questions, we welcome them as well!)
 
NFIB’s On-Demand Webinars are available online, anytime. Browse our online library of free small business Webinars, from legal and tax advice to operations information, to help you run your business better.
 
 
WESTERN MARYLAND RETAIL RESILIENCY TRAINING SERIES
Below is information for the upcoming webinar series in January that the Maryland Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is offering to businesses.
 
Important information below from SBDC’s Financial Specialist Team if you or your business as received a PPP loan: 
 
As a PPP borrower – and with 2020 tax preparation season now in swing – the Maryland SBDC Financial Specialists Team wants to remind you about tax implications related to PPP forgiveness. Although the SBDC does NOT provide tax advice, they wanted to make you aware of a potentially KEY issue. Per IRS Notice 2020-32, expenses paid using FORGIVEN PPP funds are NOT tax-deductible expenses. This means that if your application for forgiveness is APPROVED in 2020, the expenses you paid with those “forgiven” PPP funds WILL NOT be deductible on your 2020 tax return. This could have significant “2020 income tax due” implications when you file the return. If you delay the “Forgiveness” request/get approval until 2021, that would allow time for tax planning related to the 2021 tax filing when those “forgiven” related expenses still cannot be deducted. STEPS TO TAKE: SBDC encourages you to connect ASAP with your tax preparer to consider strategies and options. Certainly, if you have any questions or want additional insights, please feel free to contact your Maryland SBDC Business Consultant, go to the www.marylandsbdc.org website to get connected with a Consultant and/or refer to our COVID19 Small Business Survival Guide.
 
Help Us Continue on Our Path to Keep Washington County Open – Please ensure your business and customers continue to follow the recommended CDC guidelines as we reopen businesses and other activities across Washington County. Wearing masks inside, social distancing, regular hand washing, and expanded cleaning is still a critical part of keeping infection rates low. By taking on these minor inconveniences, we can prevent a spike in infections which could force officials to slow down or even reverse the reopening process. The coronavirus has not gone away and we must stay vigilant until a vaccine is created. We all have a responsibility to do our part to help our economy reopen so that our many local businesses can survive and provide jobs for our citizens.
The purpose of this page is to help the public distinguish between rumors and facts regarding the response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Rumors can easily circulate within communities during a crisis. Do your part to the stop the spread of disinformation by doing 3 easy things; don’t believe the rumors, don’t pass them along and go to trusted sources of information to get the facts about the state of Maryland’s (COVID-19) response. 
 
COMMUNITY RESOURCES, INFO & EVENTS
 
EMERGENCY SHELTER & EVICTION ASSISTANCE IN WASHINGTON COUNTY
If you or someone you know is in sudden need of shelter and/or eviction assistance as the rental moratorium comes to an end, please contact the resources listed on the poster below.
 
During the day, all individuals/families are being directed to the Community Action Council (CAC) and/or Reach. It is very important that people be directed to these agencies for appropriate assessment of all needs and eligible services. For immediate shelter at night; adult individuals are directed to the Reach Shelter. 
 
WASHINGTON COUNTY PARENTS SUPPORT DATABASE
The group WC Parents have created a simplified support database to gather and retain all services and needs in one place. This is an excellent example of the community working together to meet the tangible, everyday needs of parents in our community as this school year will begin with distance learning.
 
If you need childcare or can provide it, if you need tutoring or can provide it, etc., please join this forum and share your resources or needs.
 
It is up to the community to share your resources and fill this database. The group is asking for the public’s help in:
  • Adding to the forum if you can provide a service or have a need
  • Sharing the forum
 
Click on the graphic below to join the forum or visit Wcparents.freeforums.net.
 
For additional information, please contact the Public Relations and Marketing Department at 240-313-2380 or pr@washco-md.net.
 
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AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, DIRECTV and Antietam Cable Television have Points of Presence within the county. Washington County is well served and several options are available for broadband services. Resources to help your household find the right internet service plan include InternetProviders.com. Cellular telephone services are available through private local and regional vendors.