Howard County Executive Calvin Ball held a Virtual Town Hall on March 26th to answer question about Coronavirus (COVID-19). You can view that town hall on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/HoCoGovExec/videos/147897843226770/
Other panelist on the call during the town hall included:
- William Anuszewski – Acting Fire Chief, Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services
- Raul Delerme – Director, Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks
- Mike Hinson – Deputy Director, Office of Emergency Management
- Dr. Michael Martirano – Superintendent, Howard County School System
- Lisa Myers – Police Chief, Howard County Police Department
- Dr. Maura Rossman – Health Officer Howard County Health Department
- Jackie Scott – Director, Department of Community Resources and Services
- Sameer Sidh, Chief of Staff, Office of the County Executive
- Larry Twele – CEO, Howard County Economic Development Authority
Some of the questions asked included (taken from Twitter):
Q: food stamps. Is the registration period for April extended?
A: DSS offices aren’t closed, but they will continue to process food stamps and critical services
Q: once affected by COVID-19, do you become immune? If so, are you sent to the front line?
A: Yes, they do become immune for a currently unknown period of time.
Q: some businesses cannot take advantage of programs due to no employees on staff
A: there are a lot of programs and services which @HCEDA is working to connect businesses. Visit http://www.hceda.org/
Q: What are we doing for crowd control?
A: We have closed gates to our parks. Currently moderating our parks through @HoCoRec and with @HCPDNews
Q: when will we have more tests available?
A: Providers are allowed to test. Once those tests come available within the next few weeks with various providers, we will have more rapid testing.
Q: What are we doing to help our students, parents, and community members regarding mental health?
A: Engage in developmental conversations with our children. It’s important to open the lines of communication with our children, our friends, and most importantly ourselves.
Q: Do I have to social distance from my grandkids?
A: Individuals over 60 or with chronic health conditions are at a higher risk. We encourage individuals who meet these qualifications, to social distance. It’s important to have these conversations with your family.
Q: What are the plans for high school graduations?
A: @HCPSS is currently discussing different ways to ensure we’re celebrating our students for the big milestone they achieve.
I was on the call and was queued up to ask a question but the town hall ended before I got a chance. Here is the question I had planned to ask:
I (and I am sure many others) check the Maryland Department of Health and the Howard County Health Department Coronavirus pages daily to just see what the new numbers are and see other information those pages provide.
I heard what you said about not focusing on the number of confirmed cases but as the only data point we have it is of great importance to many.
I am curious if The Howard County Health department page could provide the level of detail or even more detail provided by the state?
Specifically the state is reporting a breakdown of cases by age and gender as well as hospitalizations (those ever hospitalized and those released from isolation).
Also if it is available or possible – information on the total number of people tested in the county to date.
I think this would be good information to have at the county level on a daily basis.
If I get an answer or see this information provided at the local level I will be sure to let blog readers know.