Daily COVID-19 Update

Mineral County Schools will continue to function as Red for the week of Nov. 16 through Nov. 21.   Schools will remain closed for remote learning and all extracurricular activities will remain suspended. According to a statement from Superintendent Troy Ravenscroft “regardless of the color we may be on the DHHR Map/WVDE Daily or Saturday Map, our 7-day infection rate continues to be nearly 4 times the standard for Red and our percent positive is more than double the state average. We do not feel the need to delay this announcement until Saturday evening. We will share more this weekend regarding specific details for next week.Please help slow community spread by following public health guidelines and avoiding the 3 C’s: crowded places, close contact settings, and confined spaces.”

Starting tomorrow, Bishop Walsh School is switching to distance learning through November, 24th.

According to a report from the Somerset Area School District The District has been notified of two additional positive COVID-19 cases. One is a service provider who works 2 hours/day at Maple Ridge Elementary School and the other is a Junior High School employee.  The Pennsylvania Department of Health is NOT recommending any additional closures at this time.  Maple Ridge and Eagle View will remain open and the Junior and Senior High Schools will reopen for in-person learning on Monday, November 16, 2020.

The current COVID-19 cumulative case count listed on the Maryland Coronavirus dashboard is 1,273 which includes 120 new cases since the last press release from the Allegany County Health Department on Monday. A press release was not issued on Wednesday due to the Veterans Day holiday. The MD Coronavirus dashboard also shows Allegany County’s positivity rate at 8.92% with a case rate of 73.24 per 100k. The next press release from the ACHD is expected on Friday.  https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/

There are 486 total positive cases, 224 active, 258 recovered, 4 total deaths

The Mineral County Health Department received confirmation of 9 residents and 10 employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 at Piney Valley Nursing Home in Keyser. One additional employee at the McDonalds in Keyser has tested positive. Both situations have been classified as outbreaks.

There were two (2) new cases reported today. One was a household contact to a previous positive, the other had a workplace exposure and was tested as a contact.

Grant County numbers are increasing as are those in surrounding counties. Please social distance staying 6 ft away from others at all times, wear your mask to decrease the risk of exposure, and wash your hands frequently.

230 Total COVID Cases

• 203 Confirmed Positive COVID cases

• 27 Probable COVID cases (Probable cases are those that have a positive test from a rapid antigen test).

• 192 Total Recovered

• 19 Active Cases. Two are hospitalized.

• 13 Deaths, of these: 9 Deaths listed as COVID related (6 from GRCC).

Call Grant Memorial Hospital (304) 257 1026 and press 5 to speak to an ER nurse or Grove Street Health Center at 304-257-2451 to help determine if testing is indicated and instructions how to proceed if you develop symptoms, (loss of taste or smell, fever, cough, muscle aches, cough, shortness of breath, headache or diarrhea). Remain isolated from others until you receive your test result and are cleared to discontinue isolation.

The Hampshire County Health Department has confirmed 6 additional cases today. Case investigation and contact tracing are complete. Hampshire County’s current case count is 186 confirmed, 15 probable, 34 active, 1 death and 2 hospitalizations.

***FREE Community Testing this week***

Friday – Hampshire Memorial Hospital  9a-1p

Friday – Central Hampshire Park 1p-5p

The Hardy County Health Department and Hardy County Office of Emergency Management has seven additional confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Hardy County, making 36 active cases, with a total confirmed case count of 149. We have had one confirmed COVID-19 death. We currently have 33 patients in quarantine at home, following proper protocol to protect their neighbors and community. Three patients are currently hospitalized due to severe symptoms of COVID-19. Due to privacy, additional information regarding the persons, area of residence, and travel history will not be disclosed. The Hardy County Health Department has completed the necessary contact tracing to ensure the safety of close contacts and to prevent additional transmission. Hardy County now has 112 individuals recovered, included in the total confirmed case count of 149.

COVID-19 can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, including when an individual coughs or sneezes. These droplets may land on objects and surfaces. Other people may contract COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. Symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days following exposure. Most people recover from COVID-19 without needing special treatment. The elderly and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems, lung problems, and diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent or antiviral medication to treat COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

The Hardy County Health Department as always recommends everyday preventive actions to help impede the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.

Avoiding exposure to others who are sick.

Staying home when you are ill.

Wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies).

DHHR’s COVID-19 information hotline 24/7, toll-free at 1-800-887-4304 and state website at http://www.coronavirus.wv.gov/

For local information, please call Hardy County Health Dept at 304-530-6355 or visit the Health Department’s website at http://www.hardycountyhealthdepartment.com/  All media inquiries, contact David Maher, Hardy Sheriff PIO at pio@hardycounty.com.  

For the full press release, please see https://www.dropbox.com/s/2lkw8ci4ag3qk69/20201112-hardy-covid-update.pdf?dl=0

Bedford County

Total Cases: 765
Confirmed: 586 
Probable: 179
Negative: 6,006
Cases per 100,000: 1,587.9
Deaths: 11 
Deaths per 100,000: 22.8

Somerset County

Total Cases: 770
Confirmed: 548 
Probable: 222
Negative: 13,569
Cases per 100,000: 1,041.2
Deaths: 5 
Deaths per 100,000: 6.8

With the number of COVID-19 cases growing by the day, two UPMC Western Maryland physicians, born and raised in Allegany County, have an important message for the region that they have always called home. https://www.facebook.com/upmcwesternmaryland

From WVU Potomac State: In response to an increase in positive COVID-19 test results within Mineral County and neighboring Allegany County, Maryland, WVU Potomac State College continues to work closely with the Mineral County Health Department (MCHD) as administrators monitor the situation both on campus and in the community.

“We believe that our measures of containment, which include surveillance testing, contact tracing, isolating positive cases and quarantining those in close contact, are working,” Potomac State College President Jennifer Orlikoff said. “We remain confident in the safety protocols we have in place for our classrooms, residence halls, library, dining and other services across campus to allow us to presently continue with an on-campus experience for our students.”

However, in order to meet the goal of in-person learning, the College is emphasizing the need for heightened vigilance asking students to limit indoor gatherings with others, movement on campus, and trips into the community. The Recreation Center will remain closed and athletic activities suspended throughout the end of the semester. Commuters are asked to take extra precautions when traveling to and from home and when in their hometown communities.

“With the rise in case counts in the state and county, it’s essential that our students, faculty and staff continue to follow public health guidance and cooperate with the Mineral County Health Department in contact tracing efforts,” Dr. Jeffrey Coben, associate vice president for health affairs and dean of the School of Public Health, said.

Currently, there are three students isolating on campus. Students who were quarantining due to close contact have been released; therefore, there are no students in quarantine on-campus. College administrators are aware of 31 students and three faculty/staff quarantining or isolating at home.

“Surveillance testing of faculty, staff and students continues this week with results coming in by Saturday. If there is a significant spike in positive results, we may need to move instruction online before the scheduled date of Nov. 30,” Orlikoff said.  

Also, the College is encouraging all students to get a COVID-19 test prior to leaving campus to return home for the holidays to help prevent the spread of the virus to students’ hometown communities.

Plans are now in place for free testing of all residence hall students next Wednesday, Nov. 18, at the J. Edward Kelley Complex, and Thursday, Nov. 19, at the Student Health Center. Invitations will go out Monday to the residence hall students from the Office of Student Experience. This allows students to get their results before the last day of in-person classes and departing for home for Thanksgiving.

Students who test positive or are identified as a close contact to someone who tests positive should contact PSCstudentexperience@mail.wvu.edu. Student Experience staff will be available to assist with housing options for those who choose to remain in Keyser to isolate or quarantine. Free testing is also available at Mineral county sites through Saturday, Nov. 14.

“We are monitoring increases in the number of cases on the campus and in the community, and we strongly encourage everyone to wear a mask when away from home, wash your hands frequently and watch your distance with others,” Coben said.

Update: MD Governor Larry Hogan today announced the commitment of $70 million in new investments for initiatives to protect the health, safety, and well-being of Marylanders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The $70 million of new investments I’m announcing today will help us to protect the health and safety of even more Marylanders,” said Governor Hogan. “Unfortunately, we have more tough times ahead of us, and it’s likely going to get worse before it gets better. But we truly are all in this together, and if we all do our part to rise to this challenge and to meet this moment, we will get through this together.”

Today’s initiatives announced by the governor—funded through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act—include:

$20M: Additional Funding for PPE

The governor announced $20 million for the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) to continue building up the state’s strategic stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE). Earlier this week, state budget officials encouraged county leaders to utilize some of their remaining CARES Act resources to build up their supplies of critical PPE, particularly gloves, gowns, and masks.

$15M: Unemployment Insurance Measures

The governor announced $15 million for the Maryland Department of Labor to provide additional staffing support for the Division of Unemployment Insurance. These resources will be devoted to expand call center staffing and adjudication staffing, to improve customer service management software, and to provide additional fraud detection measures. To date, the department has administered nearly $8 billion in benefits to more than 640,000 Marylanders.

$10M: Additional Relief for Renters

The governor announced an additional $10 million to the Maryland Department of Community and Housing Development for the next installment of relief for renters. The Assisted Housing Relief Program helps low-income tenants in state-funded properties who have been affected by COVID-19. To date, this program has provided more than 4,500 rental payments for Maryland families. New applications for November rent are being accepted now.

$10M: Mass Vaccination Planning

The governor announced an initial investment of $10 million to accelerate the state’s planning for the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine. In April, MDH began the interagency planning process for ordering, distributing, and administering COVID-19 vaccines. Last month, the state submitted to the CDC a draft vaccination plan that prioritizes vulnerable populations.

$10M: Additional Support for Area Food Banks

The governor announced an additional investment of $10 million in area food banks, including $7 million for the Maryland Food Bank and $2.3 million for the Capital Area Food Bank. This spring, the state invested $4 million to the Maryland Food Bank and the Capital Area Food Bank, and worked with local jurisdictions to match that investment.

$2M: Supplemental Resources for Foster Care

The governor announced $2 million in emergency supplemental resources to the Maryland Department of Human Services (DHS) for foster care to help providers meet the needs of the youth entrusted to their care. In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, DHS has extended foster care services, to include transitional planning for youth beyond their 21st birthday through the end of June 2021. Extending these vital services will mean that the approximately 350 youth in care aged 21 will have the opportunity to stay in care and receive additional employment, education, housing stability and mental health services.

$2M: SNAP and Energy Assistance Administration

The governor announced $2 million for the Maryland Department of Human Services (DHS) to increase call handling capacity, extend daily hours of operation, and add weekend operations specifically to help DHS manage the increase in demand for SNAP and energy assistance programs.

$1M: Innovative Wastewater Testing Initiative

The governor announced $1 million for phase two of Maryland’s COVID-19 Sewer Sentel Initiative to sample wastewater as an early warning system for a coronavirus outbreak in vulnerable Maryland communities. This builds on a pilot program launched over the summer that showed wastewater sampling provides advanced notice of an outbreak before it is detected through traditional testing. Read more information from the Maryland Department of the Environment.

MD COVID ALERT UPDATE

Governor Hogan announced that more than 460,000 Marylanders have already subscribed to MD COVID Alert since its launch on Tuesday morning. MD COVID Alert bolster’s the state’s contact tracing efforts by using exposure notifications technology to notify users who may have been exposed to an infected individual. Opt-in today to participate in protecting all Marylanders from COVID-19.

ECONOMIC RECOVERY INITIATIVE UPDATES

In addition, Governor Hogan provided updates on the $250 million ‘Maryland Strong: Economic Recovery Initiative’ he announced last month.

RESTAURANT RELIEF PROGRAM. The Maryland Department of Commerce is working with local jurisdictions to distribute $50 million in direct relief to restaurants across the state. Nearly half of the state’s jurisdictions have begun accepting applications. More information is available here.

LAYOFF AVERSION FUND. The Maryland Department of Labor has begun issuing new payments to small businesses for the second round of its Layoff Aversion Fund. Applicants have been awarded a total of over $5.7 million, saving another 3,100 jobs—for a total of more than 12,000 jobs saved through this program to date.

SMALL BUSINESS COVID-19 EMERGENCY RELIEF GRANT FUND. The Maryland Department of Commerce has been processing hundreds of applications daily for the third round of the state’s Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Fund. Those payments will be disbursed in the coming days.

During a press conference this afternoon Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced 863 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized and almost 200 are in the ICU. 4,112 Marylanders have died from COVID-19. Hogan says there is widespread community transmission across the state. He says Maryland is well prepared for this surge.

Hogan says our collective actions now will determine what future actions are needed.

Since the launch of MD COVID Alert two days ago more than 460,000 have signed up on their mobile devices.

Any struggling small business owners can go to open.maryland.gov to get more details on state COVID-19 relief funds.

$10 million dollars is being added to the rental housing assistance program.

$10 million in additional funds will go to support food banks across the state.

$2 million will go to foster care organizations

$2 million will go to the MD Department of Human Services

$1 million will go to wastewater sampling to detect COVID-19 outbreaks

$10 million will go to the acquisition of necessary vaccination supplies for when a vaccine is available.

Hogan says the next several months will be by far the toughest we have faced so far. He says we are all in this together and we all need to rise together.

Beginning tomorrow, Friday, November 13, 2020, and until further notice, George’s Creek and Northeast Elementary Schools will not be serving breakfast or lunch. Parents/students can go to any other ACPS school location to pick up a meal during the scheduled food distribution times.

Allegany County Office of Emergency Management Director James Pyles discusses the county response to the COVID-19 surge. To hear the interview click here https://soundcloud.com/amanda-mangan/allegany-county-office-of-emergency-management-director-james-pyles-for-pht-mp3