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COVID-19 Joint Information Center Update: September 25, 2020

COVID-19 Joint Information Center Update: September 25, 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 Health Department Flu Vaccination Update
In the video above, Dr. Gaviria from the Washington County Health Department delivers a public message about entering into flu-season with COVID-19 still existing in our community. Please listen to her message and take action to help protect against respiratory illnesses this fall. Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth, keep a distance of at least six feet when out in public, wash your hands often with soap and water, and get your annual flu vaccine.
Governor Hogan and Maryland School Superintendent Dr. Salmon announced this week that high school sports can begin practice effective October 7, 2020 and begin games effective October 27, 2020. Please read the Washington County Public Schools section about Return to Play. Washington County has not decided if it will move forward with what the State announced, but WCPS did begin voluntary conditioning this past week. We will be providing updates as new information is released.
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 4:30 p.m and Saturdays from 8:00 a.m.-noon.
  • VEIP Station Drive Thru Testing Site is located at 12100 Insurance Way in Hagerstown. Doctor’s orders are no longer required to get tested. Appointments are still required. Individuals can schedule their own appointment by going to https://health.maryland.gov/covidtest/Pages/Home.aspx
  • 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. No Appointment required. Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 8:30 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. No Appointment required. 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 currently accepting resumes for multiple positions to assist us in our COVID-19 response. They are looking to hire full and part time contact tracers, and a full-time phone clerk to act as the main point of contact for returned calls for COVID-19. They are also hiring a registration position and a traffic control position for our COVID-19 testing sites (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays). Anyone who is interested should send their 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.
Washington County Health Department Testing Sites:
(All testing at WCHD sites are Free)
The Washington County Health Department will no longer be conducting COVID-19 testing at the VEIP site in Hagerstown. The health department will continue to provide free COVID-19 testing on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. All testing sites are walk up, free and do not require an appointment or doctor’s referrals.
Mobile Walk-Up Testing Sites:
Washington County Health Department is launching mobile testing sites throughout Washington County. Testing as these sites will be open to everyone and you do not need a doctor’s order or an appointment to participate. The tests used are the quick nasal swab that takes about 15 seconds to administer. Please follow social distancing and masking guidelines when participating at these sites. All testing sites are walk-up clinics and are from 9:00 AM-12:00 p.m. unless indicated differently.
At this time we have scheduled free COVID-19 testing at the following locations.
  • September 30: Church of the Nazarene, 141 N. Edgewood Dr, Hagerstown, MD 21740
  • October 1, 3-6PM: Lakeside Village, 17012 Alcott Rd, Hagerstown, MD 21740
  • October 2: Byron Memorial Park, 11 Park Rd, Williamsport, MD 21795
  • October 5: Hagerstown Fire Department – rear parking lot, 25 Church St, Hagerstown, MD 21740
  • October 7: Potomac Towers – Maintenance lot, 35 W Baltimore St, Hagerstown, MD 21740
  • October 14: Christ’s Reformed Church, 17012 Alcott Rd, Hagerstown, MD 21740
  • October 16: Keedysville Library, 22 Taylor Dr, Keedysville, MD 21756
  • October 19: Hagerstown Fire Dept – rear parking lot, 25 Church St, Hagerstown, MD 21740
New locations will be announced on the Health Department’s website at https://washcohealth.org/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/ and on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/WashHealth/
MERITUS HEALTH
MERITUS HEALTH DRIVE-THRU SCREENING CENTER
The drive-thru screening center for COVID-19 testing is now open on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m.-noon. The center will continue its weekday hours of Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.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.
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/.
UPDATED: 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.
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
RETURN TO PLAY
Yesterday afternoon the state superintendent of schools, Dr. Karen Salmon, announced a new option that would allow fall sports to competitively resume by October 7, 2020. Washington County Public Schools (WCPS) is sharing more information with our school families as there are many considerations that must be made in light of this announcement.
WCPS recognizes the value of competitive sports in supporting students’ physical and social-emotional well-being and instilling positive character. We are committed to running a safe sports program that is in the best interest of our student athletes and our learning community.
Each school system in the state of Maryland may choose how they will run their sports program based on two possible timelines:
Beginning athletic competition on February 1, 2021, and playing abbreviated seasons for the remainder of the school year
Winter sports – beginning February 1, 2021
Fall sports – beginning March 15, 2021
Spring sports – beginning April 26, 2021
Beginning athletic competition on October 7, 2020, and playing abbreviated seasons for the remainder of the school year
Fall sports – beginning October 7, 2020
Winter sports – beginning December 14, 2020
Spring sports – beginning March 15, 2021
WCPS must consider several uncertain factors in reaching a decision, including but not limited to:
Transportation
Because students are not in session for the full school day, those who are not attending in-person classes may not have transportation to participate in afternoon practices and events.
Game schedules
Understanding other school systems will have to make the same decision to start now or begin in February, many teams may find themselves limited to a game schedule of local teams or teams that are a considerable distance from their home school. Clearly, we want to make a decision that provides our students the safest and best experience.
Practice conditions
As we lose daylight and weather changes, sports teams may be impacted by limited indoor facilities and access to lighted fields.
Contact sports
Some sports do not allow for athletes to safely distance themselves from one another.
Availability of officials
WCPS must assess the availability of officials and referees, who may be affected by several challenges, including the adjusted timeline of sports seasons and the prevalence of the virus in other communities.
Community health metrics and potential spread of the virus
Regardless of when sports seasons begin, athletic competition creates opportunities for the virus to spread from student athletes to students in schools and to students from other schools. Local data regarding Washington County COVID-19 cases will be reviewed throughout the athletic seasons. Likewise, health metrics from other communities will be reviewed in advance of our athletes traveling to other schools outside of Washington County.
Feedback from our community is also considered among these factors. If you have thoughts or questions regarding the proposed plans, please email COVID-19@wcps.k12.md.us.
WCPS is seeking further clarification from the State regarding the above details and the return to athletic competition. We are encouraged to see student athletes participating in voluntary in-person conditioning and skills-based engagement activities, which began on Monday, September 21. We appreciate the athletes, coaches, and families who are supporting these activities by following our established health and safety protocols. The health and safety of all WCPS students and staff remains our top priority.
WASHINGTON COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Visit www.washcorises.net for constantly updated resources and information to help you reopen your business.
UPCOMING WEBINARS:
SBDC Webinar Series
There is one webinar left in the Maryland SBDC webinar series.
Visit https://www.washco-md.net/together/ to register for these webinars or to learn more about business resources in Washington County.
Attention Employers:
The Maryland Department of Labor’s Work Sharing program provides an alternative to layoffs for employers faced with a temporary, non-cyclical decline in business due to lower economic activity. Learn more
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
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.
“EAT-IN-THE-STREET” EVENT – EVERY WEEKEND THROUGH OCTOBER
The City of Hagerstown will be closing the first block of South Potomac Street to traffic and opening it to diners for several weekends this fall. 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.
Scheduled Closures:
SEPTEMBER
  • Sundays    9/20 and 2/27      11:30am – 3pm
OCTOBER
  • Saturdays   10/3 & 10/10     4pm – 9pm
  • Sundays    10/18 and 10/25  11:30am – 3pm
Visit the Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED) Facebook page, or call 301-797-6294 for more information.
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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