Coronavirus Updates: Three New Cases, New Closures, and Canceled Meetings

The Howard County Health Department announced three new confirmed cases of coronavirus this afternoon. A man in his 40s who is on dialysis in the hospital, a woman in her 70s who is now self-isolating at home and another man in his 50s with underlying health conditions who is also self-isolating at home. This brings the total cases in Howard County to four.  

“We need to remain vigilant, but calm, and continue practicing social distancing,” said County Executive Calvin Ball. “The most important thing you can do to help your neighbor and your loved ones is to follow this guidance and stay home as much as possible. We will only be successful in slowing this virus if we work together.”  

Two meetings to discuss the future of the former Columbia Flier Building, previously planned for Wednesday, March 18th and Saturday, March 21st are postponed. New meeting information will be posted here in the coming weeks. The community meeting on the Timbers at Troy and Troy Park Environmental Studies scheduled for March 19th has been postponed and will be rescheduled.  

Health Guidance: 

“As a community, we can limit the spread of the coronavirus by continuing social distancing practices like staying home as much as possible, and continuing to practice healthy habits,” said Dr. Maura Rossman, Howard County Health Officer. “If you do get sick, please stay home if you have mild illness. If you develop more serious symptoms or have underlying health conditions please contact your medical provider for advice. If you are experiencing a health emergency, contact 911. We will get through this by working together, remaining calm, and following guidance from the health department and your medical provider.” 

What should I do if I have flu-like symptoms? 

  • Mildly symptomatic patients (like fever or mild cough) who are otherwise healthy can self -quarantine, monitoring temperature and symptoms and check in with your medical provider as needed. 
  • Individuals who have severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, should seek care immediately. Always call ahead to your medical provider or emergency department. 
  • Older patients and individuals who have underlying medical conditions or are immunocompromised should contact their physician early in the course of even mild illness. In most situations, those patients will need to be evaluated in an emergency department. Always call ahead to your medical provider or emergency department. 

I don’t have symptoms, but was recently in contact with someone who was tested positive. 

  • At this time, due to limited resources, if you are not having symptoms (asymptomatic) you will not be tested. Please stay home and self-quarantine for 14 days. 

I was tested and confirmed positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). 

  • If you are confirmed positive, and are otherwise considered healthy, you may be sent home to self-isolate. 
  • If you are still waiting for test results, you should continue to self-isolate until otherwise instructed. 

Current and Updated Measures: 

  • The Governor issued an Executive Order to close all bars, restaurants, movie theaters, and gyms at 5 p.m. on 3/16/20. Carryout and delivery service is allowed. Additionally, there is a strict ban on gatherings of more than 50 people at all venues and locations per CDC recommendations. He has prohibited all utilities from shutting off any residential customers, and is prohibiting any evictions.  
  • The Maryland Health Connection opened a new Special Enrollment Period to uninsured Marylanders who need health coverage during the State of Emergency for Coronavirus (COVID-19) 
  • The Department of Social Services tools are accessible online or by phone: Apply for SNAP (Food Stamps or Cash Assistance)apply for medical assistance and health insurance, and long-term care. Or call 1-800-332-6347 and request a paper application and mail, email or fax to local office. Email: Howco.dss@maryland.govFax 410-872-4231. Residents can submit any required documentation via the MYDHR portal or via email: Child support:;  FIA: Check MYDHR account for case updates.  Contact the call center at 1-800-332-6347 Monday-Friday 8:30- 5:00, call 410-872-8700, or Email 
  • Howard County is under a State of Emergency. 
  • County Executive Ball directed the Mall in Columbia to close at midnight 3/15/20 for at least seven days, with the exception of restaurants with external access. 
  • The Shops at Savage Mill, and two movie theaters, Regal Snowden Square and AMC Columbia were also instructed to close at midnight 3/15/20 for at least seven days.  
  • All County employees that are able were instructed to telework as of Monday, March 16th until further notice. All out-of-state official travel for County employees has been canceled through April 24.  
  • All Howard County Government gatherings, events, and meetings that attract one of the high-risk populations were canceled or rescheduled for March 12 – April 26, to be reassessed as new developments arise.  
  • Howard County Government issued public guidance regarding canceling or postponing meetings, events, and gatherings. 
  • Howard County Sheriff has stayed all evictions for March 13 – March 28, to be reevaluated with new developments.  
  • All Howard County Public Schools are closed from March 14 – March 27. 
  • All Howard County Libraries are closed from March 16 – March 27. 
  • Howard Community College is closed for spring break March 15-22. All noncredit and credit classes are canceled March 23-29. 
  • All 50+ Centers are closed from March 13th until further notice. 
  • All 50+ centers programs, activities and events are canceled until further notice. 
  • All indoor recreation facilities are closed from March 13 – March 27. 
  • All Department of Recreation and Parks programs, classes, and events are canceled from March 13 – 29, to be reevaluated on March 30th. 
  • Governor Hogan has banned all events or gatherings of 250 or more people, including social and religious events. 

The above information is rapidly evolving, to stay informed on coronavirus updates, please follow social media for the Center for Disease Controlthe Maryland Department of Healththe Howard County Health Departmentthe Howard County Governmentand Howard County Executive Calvin BallEmail updates are also available by subscribing to the Ball Bulletin.