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COVID-19 Joint Information Center Update: October 23, 2020

COVID-19 Joint Information Center Update: October 23, 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
As Health Officer Earl Stoner spoke earlier this week at the COVID-19 Update press conference, both the number of confirmed positive cases and the number of hospitalizations are the highest Washington County has seen since the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic. The Emergency Operations Center continues to urge residents to avoid large gatherings, wear a face covering while out in public, maintain social distance of at least 6 feet, wash your hands frequently, and to get tested and stay at home if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Let’s continue to work together to help stop the spread in our community!
Key Times to Wear a Mask
The Washington County Department of Business Development and the City of Hagerstown Department of Community and Economic Development, along with our team of community partners, are working together to plan the rapid distribution of state-funding that Washington County will receive per Governor Hogan’s announcement at yesterday’s press conference.
The partners are monitoring closely the State’s release of guidelines for the funding, and we are preparing to act quickly on behalf of the business community when additional information becomes available.
The criteria for the next round of Together We Rise Business Stabilization Grant applications will be announced as quickly as possible.
Below is information from Governor Hogan’s office regarding the ‘Maryland Strong: Economic Recovery Initiative.’
Through the ‘Maryland Strong: Economic Recovery Initiative,’ Governor Hogan is doubling the state’s commitment to emergency economic relief to $500 million through a combination of new and existing programs.
$50M: Expansion of Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Fund
The governor’s initiative will provide a third installment of funding to the Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Fund, which awards grants of up to $10,000 to businesses of 50 or fewer employees. To date, the program has distributed more than 9,600 grants to small businesses across the state. This additional relief will clear the backlog of eligible applications and bring the program’s total funding to $145 million.
$50M: Direct Relief for Restaurants
The governor’s initiative will provide direct grant relief to qualifying restaurants across the state. Eligible uses of funds include:
  • Working capital, such as rent and purchase of equipment and services to expand outdoor dining through physical improvements including tents, heaters, warmers, and carts
  • Sanitization services
  • Purchase of PPE
  • Technology to support carryout and delivery
  • Infrastructure improvements, including HVAC system upgrades
The funding will be allocated through local jurisdictions and must be distributed no later than December 31, 2020.
$20M: Direct Relief for Main Street
The governor’s initiative will provide $20 million through the Department of Housing and Community Development to assist hard-hit businesses and local entertainment venues within Main Street Maryland organizations as well as the Baltimore Main Streets programs.
$20M: Expansion of COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund
The governor’s initiative expands total funding to $30 million for the state’s COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund, which has helped small businesses with an average of 20 employees stay open and saved nearly 9,000 Maryland jobs. Grantees have used the average award size of $22,738 per business for such things as purchasing remote access equipment and software to promote teleworking, assisting with employee training and education, purchasing cleaning supplies and services to maintain an onsite workforce, and taking advantage of the Maryland Department of Labor’s Work Sharing Unemployment Insurance Program by supplementing employee income.
$5M: Expansion of Small and Minority Business Low-Interest Loans
The governor’s initiative doubles funding to $10 million for low-interest loans to small and minority businesses. Administered through the Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority (MSBDFA), the program provides financing to businesses owned by economically and socially disadvantaged entrepreneurs. MSBDFA uses include working capital, supplies and materials, machinery and equipment acquisition, land acquisition, or real estate improvements.
$3M: Expansion of Arts Organization Funding
The governor’s initiative increases funding to $7 million for the Maryland State Arts Council’s (MSAC) Emergency Grant Program. In response to the COVID-19 State of Emergency, MSAC has created special grant opportunities that provide emergency funding to arts organizations and artists for losses sustained because of programming, operations, and events that have been modified or canceled.
$2M: Hometown Tourism Program
The governor’s initiative provides $2 million for local Destination Marketing Organizations to support hometown tourism efforts that promote local restaurants, attractions, and shops.
$100M: Emergency Rapid Response Fund for Small Businesses
The governor’s initiative sets aside $100 million that can be immediately deployed to areas where there is the greatest need as the pandemic continues to affect various sectors and as state and local governments wait for the federal government to take action on additional stimulus relief.
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
Washington County Health Department Testing Sites:
(All testing at WCHD sites are Free)
VEIP Station Drive Thru Testing Site
12100 Insurance Way in Hagerstown.
Now Closed
Mobile Walk-Up Testing Sites:
Washington County Health Department has launched mobile testing sites throughout Washington County. Testing at these sites are free and you do not need a doctor’s referral or an appointment to be tested.
All testing sites are from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. unless indicated differently.
  • October 26: Hagerstown Fire Dept – rear parking lot, 25 Church St, Hagerstown, MD 21740
  • October 28: University Plaza, 50 W Washington St, Hagerstown, MD 21740
Starting November 2, 2020 the Washington County Health Department will be offering free drive-thru and walk-up COVID-19 testing at 13 West Lee Street in Hagerstown. Testing will be available Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10am-2pm. Please follow all traffic signs when entering through the Lee Street entrance.
How to Get Your COVID-19 Test Results:
It takes approximately 48 hours from the time of your visit to a collection facility to the time your result is available and ready for viewing.
  1. Open your browser and type in https://go.ciandx.com/results
  2. Register and create an account
  3. Check the email you used for the activation code
  4. Activate by entering your birthday, username, zip code, and password
  5. Login to lifepoint after successfully activating
  6. Once logged in you can see your results
FREE Flu and Childhood Vaccination Clinics
Washington County Health Department is offering FREE Childhood Vaccination Clinics and FREE Flu Vaccination Clinic for Elementary Age School Children. Parents must register their child in order to be seen at one of these clinics. For instruction on how to register you child and the schedule of clinics please go to https://wp.me/p9M1Nf-Xe
MERITUS HEALTH
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.
COVID-19 ANTIBODY TESTING AVAILABLE LOCALLY
Antibody testing is now available with no required lab order and at no out-of-pocket cost to the patient at all Meritus Medical Laboratory patient service centers.Meritus Medical Laboratory locations and hours are available online at https://www.meritushealth.com/treatment-care/medical-lab/. Antibody testing is being made available to better understand the COVID-19 prevalence in our community, as well as offer peace of mind for anyone who may have had an asymptomatic case. Please note that positive antibody test results do not make you immune to COVID-19, so it is vital to continue to be vigilant in wearing proper PPE, social distancing and washing your hands. Antibody test results will be available to patients via their MyChart account. There will be no phone calls made for positive or negative results. The antibody test will help determine if you most likely had the virus in the past and is not a replacement for the COVID-19 test.
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 CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Visit www.washcorises.net for constantly updated resources and information to help you reopen your business.
The U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation with the Treasury Department, released a simpler loan forgiveness application for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans of $50,000 or less. This action streamlines the PPP forgiveness process to provide financial and administrative relief to America’s smallest businesses while also ensuring sound stewardship of taxpayer dollars.
Click here to view the simpler loan forgiveness application.
Click here to view the instructions for completing the simpler loan forgiveness application.
Click here to view the Interim Final Rule on the simpler forgiveness process for loans of $50,000 or less.
Governor Larry Hogan recently announced a new $10 million initiative to provide critical support to thousands of Maryland farmers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Maryland Farmer COVID-19 Relief Program will offer direct assistance to contract poultry growers and a bonus payment to any farm operation that received funding through the first round of the federal Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). Watch the announcement.
Direct Support For Contract Poultry Growers. Federal CFAP funding is currently not available to contract poultry growers, which is Maryland’s top agricultural commodity. Under the Maryland Farmer COVID-19 Relief Program, the Maryland Department of Agriculture will issue direct payments of $1,000 per poultry house, up to five houses per farm. Growers whose flocks were depopulated during the pandemic will be eligible for an additional $1,500 per house.
Bonus Payments For Farmers. The new initiative will also offer a 15% bonus payment to any Maryland farmer who received federal funding through the first round of CFAP payments. CFAP provides financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a 5% or greater price decline, or who had losses due to market supply chain disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The State of Maryland distributed nearly $24 million through the first round of CFAP payments and has distributed more than $16 million in the second round of the program.
For more information, or to apply online for the Maryland Farmer COVID-19 Relief Program, please visit https://mda.maryland.gov/pages/farmer-relief.aspx.
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.
Other News:
Final week of Hagerstown’s “EAT-IN-THE-STREET” EVENT:
The City of Hagerstown will be closing the first block of South Potomac Street to traffic and opening it to diners on SUNDAY 10/25 from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Join the City in supporting Hagerstown’s outstanding downtown restaurants by choosing to dine outdoors, eating in the street or getting a to-go order to enjoy in University Plaza or along the Cultural Trail.
UPCOMING WEBINARS:
In honor of Maryland Economic Development Week, October 25-31, 2020, The Maryland SBDC Cordially Invites You To Join All October Small Business Webinar Trainings:
Wednesday, October 28th, 1-2:30 p.m.
Webinar: Scary Close…Finding Your Target Market!
Presenter: Melody Belotte, Marketing Expert
Regardless of how amazing your business, product or service is – you may not be getting the sales or connections you want simply because you’re not reaching the right audience. Technology now allows us to get “scary close” to customers through advanced targeting and tracking, but we must learn to use these tools effectively and responsibly. Join the marketing expert, Melody Belotte, for a crash course on how to identify, narrow and reach your target market.
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
WCPS PARTNERS WITH WASHINGTON COUNTY HEALTH DEPT FOR CHILD VACCINATION CLINICS
Get your child vaccinated! WCPS is working in partnership with the Washington County Health Department to vaccinate children of all ages.
The Health Department provides free flu vaccines to WCPS elementary students through a grant. These vaccine clinics are held on separate days. Check out the instructions to register!
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.
2020 GENERAL ELECTION VOTER GUIDE
Looking for information about voting locations, early voting, and dropbox locations in Washington County? Read the 2020 General Election Voter Guide at https://conta.cc/32RW76M
For additional information, please contact the Public Relations and Marketing Department at 240-313-2380 or pr@washco-md.net.
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