Skip to content

COVID-19 Joint Information Center Update: November 24, 2020

COVID-19 Joint Information Center Update: November 24, 2020

COVID-19 JOINT INFORMATION CENTER BRIEFING
November 24, 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
 
Washington County continues to see a concerning rise in positive COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. As we prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday, please keep friends, family, and loved ones in mind as you are making plans. The CDC has put out guidelines for a “safer” Thanksgiving celebration, which can be viewed in the graphic below.
 
To reiterate, the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is with those in your immediate household or to hold a virtual celebration.
 
This year is unlike any other, and we hope you recognize the importance of keeping yourself and others safe and healthy.
 
The Emergency Operations Center encourages citizens to find virtual ways to still be connected to your family and the community. Now is not the time to reduce our vigilance or the protective measures that have been put in place. We urge every business, organization, and resident in Washington County to do their part in helping slow the spread of COVID-19. It is important for every person to take preventative measures, limit their risk of exposure, and take personal responsibility for how we reduce the spread of this virus. 
 
Governor Hogan delivered a press conference yesterday and implemented the following changes, in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 across Maryland:
 
Effective Wednesday, November 11 at 5PM:
 
  • INDOOR DINING CAPACITY REDUCED TO 50% – The governor issued an emergency order reducing indoor operations for bars and restaurants from 75% to 50%. Bars and restaurants in the State of Maryland are permitted to be open for seated and distanced service only, with strict capacity restrictions.
 
Effective Immediately:
 
  • PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY TO LIMIT INDOOR GATHERINGS TO 25 OR LESS. With contact tracing data showing an uptick in cases resulting from family gatherings and house parties, state health officials have issued a public health advisory strongly discouraging indoor gatherings of 25 people or more.
  • EXPANDED OUT-OF-STATE TRAVEL ADVISORY. With contact tracing data showing an uptick in confirmed cases connected to travel outside of the state, the governor has directed the Maryland Department of Health to issue an expanded public health advisory for out-of-state travel. Marylanders are strongly advised against traveling to any state with a positivity rate above 10% or any state with average case rates above 20 per 100K. Anyone traveling from these states should get tested and self-quarantine while awaiting results.This public health advisory—which takes effect immediately—applies to personal, family, or business travel of any kind. Marylanders are advised to postpone or cancel travel to these areas until their positivity and/or case rates decline. 
  • GOVERNMENT OFFICES TO RETURN TO MANDATORY TELEWORKING. Governor Hogan has directed the Maryland Department of Budget and Management to immediately execute a period of mandatory telework across state agencies, except for essential direct public-facing services and other essential personnel. State officials strongly encourage all businesses to take immediate steps to expand telework.
 
NEW HOSPITAL SURGE CAPACITY ORDER. State health officials have issued an emergency order expanding hospital surge capacity. 
 
  • Provides state EMS officials with the flexibility to shift patients to alternate care sites such as the Baltimore Convention Center Field Hospital, Laurel Hospital, and Adventist Takoma Park Hospital, and to add capacity at those sites if the need arises.
  • Requires hospitals to implement plans to stage and accept surge patients. All hospitals will be required to begin preparations to increase COVID-19 related operations by making sure they have enough beds and staff.
  • Makes additional infection control staff available from regional hospitals and other nursing homes to intervene and provide support through mutual aid agreements when outbreaks occur at any one nursing home.
 
NEW GUIDANCE FOR NURSING HOMES AND ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES. State health officials have issued new guidance for slowing the spread of COVID-19 at nursing homes and assisted living facilities. 
 
  • Marylanders should take all precautions to protect their loved ones at nursing homes and assisted living programs including staying home if sick and getting tested before they visit.
  • Nursing home and assisted living program staff should minimize their contact with large gatherings and work with their management on communicating early and often about infection control issues at their facilities.
  • Nursing homes and assisted living programs are reminded that indoor visitation is not permitted if the facility is currently conducting outbreak testing and in accordance with federal guidance on this subject. Each facility may restrict visitation, to include the number of individuals allowed in the facility at any given time, on a facility-specific basis given each facility’s circumstances and infection control guidelines.
  • Nursing homes must continue to take steps to secure sufficient personal protective equipment for their staff.
 
EXPANDED CONSULTATIONS WITH LOCAL LEADERS. At the governor’s direction, administration officials will increase teleconferences with county and municipal leaders in order to ensure additional real-time coordination.
 
The Statewide Order for face coverings remains in effect. This order states a mask must be worn:
  • In indoor public areas
  • On public transportation
  • Outdoors where physical distancing is not possible
 
PLEASE continue to think of others as you are going about your daily lives for the next several weeks.
 
  • WEAR A MASK that covers your nose and mouth
  • 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.
 
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. Closed Thursday, November 26th and will reopen Friday, November 27th at 8:00 a.m.
  • Health Department Winter Testing Site: located at 13 West Lee Street, Hagerstown, MD. The site is open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Closed Wednesday, November 25th and Friday, November 27th.
  • 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 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
10am-2pm
 
Days the testing site will be closed in November: 25th and 27th.
 
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.
 
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. – noon. The drive-thru will be closed Thursday, November 26th and will reopen Friday, November 27th at 8:00 a.m.
 
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.
 
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.
 
WASHINGTON COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
 
Due to the current COVID-19 health metrics, Washington County Public Schools (WCPS) is extending the date when students may return to schools.
 
In-person classes may resume no sooner than Monday, January 11, 2021, depending on community health metrics. 
 
It is the goal of WCPS to return students to in-person instruction when there are improved COVID-19 metrics in Washington County. During the eight weeks students were back in schools, WCPS saw very low transmission of the virus in our buildings, which may be attributed to the health and safety protocols implemented among students and staff. WCPS will continue to promote a safe and healthy learning environment for all.
 
Read the latest Return to Learn Update at: https://www.smore.com/3894f.
 
WASHINGTON COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Visit www.washcorises.net for constantly updated resources and information to help you reopen your business.
Small Business Saturday® is THIS Saturday, November 28, 2020. This year, more than ever, small businesses will need the support of the community during the holiday season.
 
CLICK HERE for free resources for small businesses to utilize during the coming week and throughout the holiday season.
 
Small Business Saturday® was created by American Express in 2010, in the midst of a recession, to encourage people to Shop Small the Saturday after Thanksgiving and bring more holiday shopping to small businesses.
 
Now is the time to mask up, watch our distance, and Shop Small as we support the businesses that are the heartbeat of our communities across Washington County. If you can support a small business by shopping online or purchasing a gift card, it is strongly encouraged.
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
December 9, 2020, 9:00-10:15am
 
Webinar: Holiday eCommerce for Small Retailers: Tips for Fulfilling Those Orders
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. 
 
 
HAGERSTOWN COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Hagerstown Community College will be closed will be closed for Thanksgiving beginning Wednesday, Nov. 25 and extending through Tuesday, Dec. 1. The extended closure is intended to provide additional time for faculty, staff, and students to monitor possible Covid-related symptoms from the holiday weekend, prior to returning to campus. Online classes will be held as scheduled on November 30 and December 1, even though campus is closed. For more information related to COVID-19 procedures, visit www.hagerstowncc.edu/covid19
 
COMMUNITY RESOURCES, INFO & EVENTS
Washington County Government is looking for volunteers (groups or individuals) to help make bracelets for a public messaging outreach campaign that the County will be launching in December.
 
If you have free time over the Thanksgiving holiday, we would appreciate your help! A how-to video will be provided on how to make the single-thread bracelet. To volunteer and pick-up the bracelet thread, please email barizmendi@washco-md.net or call 240-382-0789.
 
Thank you in advance for helping your community!
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.
 
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.
 
 
Gateway Church will be hosting a FREE FARMERS MARKET 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
 
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.
 
###

Other news:

COVID-19 Joint Information Center Update: April 9, 2021

COVID-19 Joint Information Center Update: April 9, 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…
Your Input is Needed! Maryland State Freight Plan Survey

Your Input is Needed! Maryland State Freight Plan Survey

HAGERSTOWN, MD (April 9, 2021) – The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) wants to hear from you! MDOT is in the process…
COVID-19 Joint Information Center Update: April 6, 2021

COVID-19 Joint Information Center Update: April 6, 2021

COVID-19 JOINT INFORMATION CENTER BRIEFING April 6, 2021   The Washington County, Maryland Joint Information Center (JIC) provides the following update regarding the COVID-19…

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.