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COVID-19 Joint Information Center Update: November 13, 2020

COVID-19 Joint Information Center Update: November 13, 2020

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
 
Governor Hogan addressed the State of Maryland earlier this week regarding the resurgence of COVID-19 in Maryland. The sharp increase we have seen over the past few weeks is incredibly concerning as Washington County’s numbers continue to worsen. When we compare the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the first week of October to the number of positive cases in the first week of November, that number has doubled. Even more concerning is the number of hospitalizations has doubled within the past week! Below are two graphs tracking our 7-day average case rate and our positivity rate. As both graphs indicate, Washington County is now exceeding the State’s averages in both areas.  
 
 
Simply stated, OUR CURVE IS GOING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION.
 
It is time to get back on track. This is a critical time for Washington County to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community. If we do not work together over the next few weeks, not only will our healthcare workers be overwhelmed, but businesses will be adversely impacted.
 
PLEASE think of others as you are going about your daily lives for the next several weeks.
 
  • WEAR A MASK
  • WASH YOUR HANDS
  • WATCH YOUR DISTANCE
 
If you are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, please cancel all in-person activities, get tested, and STAY HOME.
 
The Governor also announced several updates in an effort to help stop the spread across the State. Please see below for the most recent updates that were put into place effective November 11, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.
 
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.-noon.
  • 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
 
COVID-19 Testing
 
Mobile Testing Sites: Closed for the winter months.
 
Winter Testing Site: Our drive-thru and walk-up COVID-19 test site will be located in 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
10am-2pm
 
Days the testing site will be closed in November: 25th and 27th.
 
We are Hiring for COVID-19 Positions!
 
The Washington County Health Department is currently accepting resumes for multiple positions to assist us in our COVID-19 response. If you are interested in any of these positions, please send your resume to the health department’s Human Resources Officer Jessica Delmotte-Schoppert at jessicaa.delmotte1@maryland.gov Individuals who do not include their resume will not be considered for the position.
 
FREE Flu Vaccination Clinics – Children Only
 
Washington County Health Department is offering FREE Flu Vaccination Clinics for Elementary Age and Preschool Children. Parents must register their child in order to be seen at one of these clinics.
 
Maryland 2-1-1
 
With Help comes Hope. 2-1-1 is here to listen and connect you to essential resources 24/7/365! There is hope and help. Dial 2-1-1 or text your zip code to 8-9-8-2-1-1 or visit the website at https://211md.org/
 
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
 
MERITUS HEALTH
 
Changes to Visitor Policy to Keep Patients and Staff Safe
With an increase in the county’s positivity rate for COVID-19 cases and in order to remain vigilant to keep patients and staff safe, beginning Thursday, Nov. 12, no visitors will be permitted in Meritus Health facilities with only a few specific exceptions.
 
Meritus Health will continue to follow the Access to Support for Patient with Disabilities in Health Care Settings notice issued by the Maryland Department of Health and the Maryland Department of Disabilities.
Exceptions to the no visitors’ regulation include:
One support person is designated and is permitted at all times:
  • For any patient with a disability who requires bedside care from a caregiver due to the specifics of the disability.*
  • For labor, delivery and the duration of the obstetric patient’s hospital stay.*
  • For pediatric patients. Two designated support people may be chosen to rotate during patient’s hospital stay, but only one visitor at a time at the bedside.*
*In each of these situations, additional safety precautions will apply to the support person if the patient he/she is caring for is diagnosed or has symptoms related to COVID-19.
 
One visitor is permitted if a support person is not designated:
  • To accompany the patient in the emergency department waiting room unless social distancing maximum capacity is met.
  • To accompany the patient in the patient’s emergency department room for the duration of the patient’s stay in the ED.
  • For a patient undergoing emergency surgery related to a traumatic event.
  • For a patient whose care team requests the visitor to be a part of scheduled training for the patient’s rehabilitation or to help with cognitive needs.
  • For a patient who is required to receive in-person, bedside, discharge education.
  • To escort an adult patient to registration. The visitor must leave the building after providing his/her phone number to staff.
  • To accompany a pediatric patient during his/her visit;
 
Two visitors at a time are permitted for end-of-life care for a patient.
 
All support people and visitors to Meritus Health facilities may be screened for flu-like symptoms and will not be able to stay if symptomatic. Face masks are required to enter all Meritus Health facilities and must be worn at all times. Support persons must arrive prior to 9 p.m. if staying overnight. Additionally, the pet therapy program remains suspended at Meritus Medical Center, but service animals continue to be allowed entrance.
Essential Workers
 
Seasonal Illness Care Clinics – SIC Clinics
Preparing for the upcoming flu season and the potential increase in COVID-19 cases, 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, post nasal 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–Friday from 8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 8–Noon
 
SIC Clinic – Smithsburg (located beside Meritus Pediatric & Adult Medicine – Smithsburg practice)
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 HOURS – MERITUS HEALTH DRIVE-THRU SCREENING CENTER
The drive-thru screening center for COVID-19 testing will begin weekday hours of 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., while remaining open on Saturday from 8:00 a.m. – noon.
 
The screening center is located behind Meritus Medical Plaza at 13620 Crayton Blvd. 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. Test results are available in as little as 24 hours either through a patient’s My Chart account or primary care provider.
 
VISITOR RESTRICTIONS EASED AT HOSPITAL
Most Meritus Medical Center patients may now have one visitor during limited times daily. Limited visitor hours are 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. and again from 5:00-9:00 p.m. Close family members of patients should first call to speak with their loved one’s nurse to check on potential restrictions that may keep them from coming to the hospital. All visitors must be age 18 or older unless he/she is the parent of a pediatric patient. At this time, no visitors are permitted in the rooms of patients diagnosed with or being investigated for COVID-19. Additionally, outpatient services and inpatient behavioral health areas are not open to visitors yet. All visitors will be screened for flu-like symptoms including fever upon entering the main lobby of the hospital and those with visible symptoms or a fever will not be admitted to visit patients. Facemasks are required for all visitors and must be worn at all times in the hospital. Details and specific exceptions to the visitor policy can be found at https://www.meritushealth.com/patients-visitors/public-notice/.
 
FREE TELEHEALTH VISITS AVAILABLE
Meritus Health continues to offer FREE telehealth 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.
 
VIRTUAL VISITS CONNECT PATIENTS AND FAMILIES
Since restrictions remain in place for visitors at Meritus Medical Center, the hospital is offering virtual visits to connect patients with their families and friends. To setup a virtual visit, please contact the program’s coordinator at 240-313-3163.
 
WASHINGTON COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
 
Pausing In-person Activities
Washington County Public Schools (WCPS) has been closely monitoring our community’s COVID-19 health metrics. Out of an abundance of caution, WCPS is taking a pause from in-person classes and activities for three weeks.
 
All WCPS students will transition to distance learning through online classes beginning Monday, November 16, 2020.
 
In-person activities may resume on Monday, December 7, 2020, depending on community health metrics.
 
In-person classes, athletic events, and other activities may continue through Saturday, November 14.
 
Sports and Extracurricular Activities
Beginning November 16, all athletic and extracurricular activities will be held online until further notice. Instructors, advisors, and coaches will share information with students and families about these arrangements.
 
Distance Learning Schedule
Students will remain on their school’s current school day schedule during distance learning. Your child’s school may be sending additional information regarding preparations for this change. Students who are attending school in-person should bring home their devices and any necessary class materials each night this week.
 
Grab-and-go Meal Sites
WCPS grab-and-go meal sites will continue to operate from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Monday-Friday to provide children in our community with a free breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day. This service is available to any child who is 18 years of age or younger.
 
Review and Reassess
WCPS will continue to monitor and review community health metrics and further reassess the return to in-person learning for students. There will be no in-person instruction any sooner than December 7, 2020.
 
WCPS recognizes this decision may come with feelings of disappointment, uncertainty, and even additional stress as families make arrangements for their children during this period. We hope our community will take the proper precautions to help reduce the COVID-19 virus in the Washington County area, so that we may continue our progress with returning students to classrooms.
 
Fighting the Spread of COVID-19
WCPS is committed to preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the greater Washington County community. In order to move forward with the Return to Learn Plan and to continue athletic programs and extracurricular activities, we need your help and cooperation to prevent the spread of the virus.
 
WCPS encourages everyone in the Washington County community to practice healthy habits, including but not limited to the following:
 
  • Wear a face covering over your mouth and nose in public places.
  • Maintain physical distancing of six feet or more from others.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water is not available.
  • Avoid large group gatherings, even if they are family events.
  • If you or your child feels sick, please stay home.
 
Collectively, as a community, we can take the proper precautions and slow the spread of COVID-19. Remember that your actions and choices may impact your family members, friends, co-workers, and our community’s children. We all make a difference in helping Washington County move forward through the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
WCPS will continue to provide further details to parents, guardians, and staff in the days ahead.
 
WASHINGTON COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Visit www.washcorises.net for constantly updated resources and information to help you reopen your business.
 
The Washington County Department of Business Development announces application submittals for the Direct Relief for Restaurants Grant will be placed on hold effective immediately. A large volume of applications have been received and are projected to expend available funds.
 
The Department of Business Development will be reviewing all applications that were received on or before 4:00 p.m. on Monday, November 9, 2020. The Department of Business Development appreciates the response from the restaurant industry in Washington County.
 
For questions, please email riseup@washco-md.net
Tri-County Council for Western Maryland (TCCWMD) is offering businesses located in Allegany, Garrett and Washington counties low interest financing through Summit Financing Solutions Revolving Loan Fund Program. 
 
Apply now through November 30, 2020 or while funds remain available!
 
  • Interest rates as low as 0% for the first 12 months
  • Loan amounts range from $10,000 to $500,000
  • Eligible purposes include: business acquisition, building improvements, equipment purchases, business start-up costs, and working capital
  • Terms up to 15 years
  • Loans under $25,000, quick turnaround time & flexible terms
 
Businesses must meet the following criteria to apply:
  • The business must be a business entity in good standing with the State of Maryland
  • Principal place of business must be in Allegany, Garrett, or Washington County
 
Start the Conversation Today! Contact Chris Funk, Business Development Loan Officer, at 301-689-1300 or cfunk@tccwmd.org
 
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.
The Maryland Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is hosting free webinars throughout November and early December.
 
 
Webinar: From Bah Humbug to BOOM-Mastering The Holiday Season Selling To Customers!
December 2, 2020, 9:00-10:15am
 
Webinar: Holiday eCommerce for Small Retailers-From Brick & Mortar to Click & Mortar
November 16, 2020, 9:00-10:15am
December 9, 2020, 9:00-10:15am
 
Webinar: The Law of Social Media, Discrimination and Harassment
November 17, 2020, 1:00-2:30pm
 
Webinar: Navigating The Holiday Season & COVID Like A Pro
November 18, 2020, 1:00-2:30pm
 
Webinar: Holiday eCommerce for Small Retailers: Tips for Fulfilling Those Orders
November 23, 2020, 9:00-10:15am
December 16, 2020, 9:00-10:15am
 
To register or find out more information about each webinar, click here.
 
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
WASHINGTON COUNTY FREE LIBRARY
Due to increased community spread of COVID-19 in Washington County, the Board of Trustees and Administration at Washington County Free Library, with the support of the Washington County Health Department, have made the decision to temporarily suspend in person services at all locations effective Thursday, November 19. This change will be re-evaluated on December 9.
 
Library materials will be available for check out through curbside pickup service.
 
Gateway Church will be hosting a FREE FARMERS MARKET this Saturday, next Saturday, and the first two Saturdays in December. The giveaway will begin at 10:00 AM each Saturday and continue until all supplies are gone.
 
Gateway Church is located at 11017 Kemps Mill Road, Williamsport, MD.
 
Each family will receive:
  • 15 lbs of produce
  • 5 lbs of meat
  • 5 lbs of dairy
  • 1 gallon of milk
 
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED! The Hope Center is in need of volunteers to help with our Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast this year. Things will be done a little different for 2020 which means there won’t be a service or kids activities. And all food served will be carry-out or delivery.
 
Volunteers are needed to help prep food for delivery, hand out food for carry-out guests, and deliver food to individuals in the community. All deliveries will be inside Hagerstown city limits.
 
For the safety of volunteers, staff, and guests, masks must be worn at all times and social distancing guidelines will be in place for the carry-out part of the celebration.
 
If you or someone you know is interested in helping this year please call The Hope Center during business hours M-F at 301-739-1165 or email at info@hagerstownhopecenter.com.
 
If you are behind on your bills (rent, electric, gas, oil, & water) contact the Community Action Council to determine if you are eligible for assistance!
 
The funding available is first-come, first-served. Please call 301-797-4161 or email info@wccac.org for more information.
 
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.