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COVID-19 Joint Information Center Update: March 26, 2020

COVID-19 Joint Information Center Update: March 26, 2020

The Washington County, Maryland Joint Information Center (JIC) provides the following update regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER
All media inquiries related to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) incident should be directed to Danielle Weaver or Carly Hose.
As the County continues to deal with the spread of COVID-19, our public safety system remains fully staffed with emergency medical services professionals, firefighters, police officers, sheriff’s deputies, and dispatchers.
In the event you need emergency services, it is imperative that you inform 911 call takers if you, or anyone in your home, is experiencing flu-like symptoms or difficulty breathing. Understand that our 911 center personnel are asking additional questions to assess your condition and to screen for potential COVID-19 exposure. This allows our first responders to take added precautions.
Do not be alarmed if you see first responders wearing enhanced personal protective equipment, such as N95 respirators, face shields, glasses, gloves, and gowns.
Local law enforcement is discouraging visitors to their facilities and encourages the community to make contact with the respective agencies by telephone. When law enforcement responds to calls for service within the community, that are NOT COVID 19 related, the officers/deputies are practicing social distancing and using discretion as to what PPE’s are best warranted depending on the type of call, they are responding too.  Law Enforcement Officers, additionally, are following CDC recommended hygiene practices.
We encourage the public to be patient with new procedures and protocols that have been put in place. All procedures have been put in place to protect the community and first responders. We will get through this together.
A special thanks is extended to staff at the Resource Management Facility for assisting with the distribution of proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to our first responders and medical providers.
MERITUS HEALTH
The downtown walk-thru screening center at Surrey School/The Learning Center will be closing permanently at the end of the day tomorrow, Friday, March 27, 2020. Hours for tomorrow are 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Anyone planning to use this center should now visit the other walk-thru screening center
The walk-thru screening center at Meritus Family Medicine, 24 N. Walnut Street, will continue to be open Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The drive-thru screening center behind Meritus Medical Plaza, 13620 Crayton Boulevard, will be reducing its hours to 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., but remain open seven days a week.
Three of our Meritus Medical Laboratory patient service centers will be closing effective next Monday, March 30, 2020:
  • Boonsboro
  • Smithsburg
  • Hager Park Professional Center, 324 East Antietam St., Suite 203A
The Meritus Medical Laboratory patient service center located at Meritus Medical Plaza will be changing its hours to 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. to match the hours of Meritus Urgent Care which is located in the same building at 13620 Crayton Boulevard.
Meritus Health continues to offer electronic visits. These visits will allow patients to speak directly with a primary care provider to discuss health concerns.
Telehealth visits are available from 8:00am to 4:00pm, Monday through Friday. To request a telehealth visit please complete the form below.
The most up-to-date visitor restrictions at the hospital and closings and cancellations of events is available at MeritusHealth.com.
WASHINGTON COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT
There are currently five (5) confirmed COVID-19 cases in Washington County. The Washington County Health Department’s Communicable Disease nurses are currently contact tracing for theses confirmed cases in Washington County. Contact tracing is the process of finding, assessing and managing anyone who comes in direct contact with a sick COVID-19 patient. Our nurses will contact anyone who may be at risk for COVID-19 due to being in direct contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient and advise them of any necessary actions to take such as self-isolation or getting a test or COVID-19. If any risk to the public is identified by our nurses we will make a public announcement with details regarding the location and timeframe the patient was at while they were symptomatic.
We encourage anyone who is experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath to call either their primary care provider or the Meritus care line at 301-790-9170.
The Washington County Health Department is currently NOT conducting COVID-19 testing.
WASHINGTON COUNTY REGISTER OF WILLS
Washington County Register of Wills remains closed to the public through May 1, 2020. The office is staffed Monday-Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Please call 301-739-3612 for questions or more information.
WASHINGTON COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
The Chamber has added a new page to their website, “Members Here to Help” – a collection of different resources offered by various members, designed to assist other members through this tough time.
The Chamber shares the following information related to unemployment:
  • Businesses with greater than five employee layoffs are encouraged to consider filing a bulk Unemployment Insurance Claim which will help alleviate the process from being bogged down from affected workers calling and filing their claims online individually.
  • The email for businesses to file a bulk claim is UI.BulkClaim@maryland.gov
  • Employers seeking assistance can also email questions to dluiemployerassistance-labor@maryland.gov
  • Due to the emerging situation, these websites are updated frequently so check back for the most recent source of information as you encounter questions.
  • An Employment Benefits Guide for the Worker in transition
  • Pages 4-10 will assist your employees with filing for unemployment insurance. They will be considered temporarily laid off with a recall to work date. This will allow them to NOT look for work since they have a return to work date that is 10 weeks or less.
The IEDC will be hosting a webinar on Monday with updated disaster resources information. To register for this workshop, click here.
Maryland COVID-19 business relief programs. Apply soon, as funds are limited.
Tips from businesses that have applied for the Maryland Department of Commerce Emergency Relief Loan Fund and Grant:
  • Thank you for being patient. Commerce has received over 8,000 loan and grant applications thus far. They are working as fast as they can to review these.
  • Assistance is available on a first-come, first-served basis.  Be sure to submit a complete application
  • Helpful Hint: TurboScan is a free (or cheap) app you can download on your phone that allows you to take a photo of your documents and turns them into a scanned PDF. You can stitch many pages into one .PDF or even create a .PDF from existing photos on your camera roll. This could be helpful as employees work from home without the office machinery and tech that they usually rely on.
CITY OF HAGERSTOWN
The City Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED) has reconfigured their Spring Sprout Grant Program in response to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis. The program is open to businesses in the City Center Mixed Use Zoning (CC-MU) Zoning District providing grants up to $750. DCED has more than doubled the availability of funding, increased grant levels from $500 to $750, and will be expediting payments to businesses on a rolling basis until funding is fully expended. For an application, click here. For questions, please email DCED@hagerstownmd.org.
The City of Hagerstown’s contractor, Waste Management has re-evaluated their response and informed us today that they WILL continue yard waste collection (grass clippings, brush, tree limbs, etc.). Please note that during the pandemic, loose items (not in a container or bag) will not be collected:
  • All TRASH must be bagged & sealed and, when possible, placed in containers. LOOSE ITEMS WILL NOT BE COLLECTED.
  • All RECYCLABLE MATERIALS must be placed inside recycling bin (including cardboard). ITEMS LEFT OUTSIDE OF BIN, WILL NOT BE COLLECTED.
  • All YARD WASTE (grass clippings, brush, tree limbs, etc.) must be placed inside a paper yard waste bag or container. LOOSE ITEMS WILL NOT BE COLLECTED.
Thank you for your partnership during this critical time. Please contact the City’s Department of Parks and Engineering at 301-739-8577 extension125 if there are any questions regarding this advisory.
Below is a message from Hagerstown Fire Chief Lohr who speaks to what the staff and volunteers are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Message from the Hagerstown Fire Chief
WASHINGTON COUNTY PUBLIC SHOOLS (WCPS)
Beginning Monday, April 6, WCPS will officially transition to a distance learning platform, where students can engage with teachers and access online lessons that will be completed and submitted for feedback. We are identifying March 30 – April 3 as a transition week.
HAGERSTOWN COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Maryland Responds is an initiative with an online registration system for medical and public health volunteers who want to assist the State of Maryland during this pandemic. Membership is open to anyone over 18 years of age who is interested in promoting public health and assisting in the event of an emergency. Whether you are an actively licensed health care professional, student, retired health professional or someone with an interest in volunteering during emergencies, you are encouraged to register by clicking here.
For additional information, please contact the Public Relations and Marketing Department at 240-313-2380 or pr@washco-md.net.
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As stated in the video above, we will get through this together. Below is an extensive list of resources available…

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.