Response to Coronavirus in MD and WV and PA

May 27th

The Allegany County Health Department reports that a Cumberland Healthcare Center resident has died as a result of COVID-19, bringing the death toll in the county to 18. The total number of cases in Allegany County also increased with the identification of a new case of COVID-19 in an employee of Sterling Care Frostburg Village. This brings the county’s total case count to 177.To date, 2,815 Allegany County residents have been tested for COVID-19. There have been 177 positives and 2,249 negatives with 389 tests still pending.

The Mineral County Health Department reports Mineral County has 39 cases, 11 active cases, 27 who have recovered and one death

As part of Gov. Jim Justice’s initiative to increase testing opportunities for minorities and other vulnerable populations in medically-underserved counties, the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs, with support from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) and the West Virginia National Guard (WVNG) announced locations for testing on May 29 and 30, 2020.

The testing will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with support from the Mineral County Health Department and community partners at the following locations:

Friday, May 29:
American Legion Piedmont, 10 Green Street, Piedmont, WV 26750

Saturday, May 30:
Keyser Primary/Keyser Middle School Complex, 1123 Harley O. Staggers Sr Drive, Keyser, WV 26726

Identification, such as a driver’s license or proof of address, is required to be tested. Those under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Under the direction of Gov. Justice, the testing plan was developed by the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs, DHHR and WVNG and targets residents who have struggled to be seen by a physician or do not have insurance to pay for testing. This optional testing is free and available to all residents in selected counties, including asymptomatic individuals.

May 24th The Allegany County Health Department reports that a third nursing home now has a confirmed case of COVID-19. An employee at Mountain City Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing (formerly known as WMHS Frostburg Nursing and Rehabilitation Center) in Frostburg, MD has tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of positive cases to date in the county to 167.

Hampshire County Health Department has confirmed its 15th positive case today. Contacts of the individual have been notified.

The Hardy County Health Department and Hardy County Office of Emergency Management have confirmed two additional positive case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Hardy County, bringing the total count to thirty six. The newly confirmed patients are now in quarantine at home, and are following proper protocol to protect their neighbors and community. 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 also now has fourteen individuals fully recovered, included in the total case count of thirty six.

Mineral County health officials announced there are 37 total positive cases of COVID-19 in the county. There are 14 active cases. 23 have recovered and there are zero deaths reported.

Grant County Public Information Officials are reporting the county now has eight positive COVID-19 cases and one probable case. So far four people have recovered and five are recuperating at home. Grant County officials have confirmed two positive cases this past week with one reported Thursday and one reported on Friday. Both are household contacts to a previous case and are at home and following guidance. WV officials will now be including probable cases in the total number of cases. Probable cases are when a person that has no confirmed lab test but has symptoms and is in close contact to a confirmed case. Grove Street Health Center will conduct community COVID-19 testing on Saturday June 13th from 10am-4pm. This is for anyone even if they do not have symptoms. Bring ID and insurance cards if you are insured, no copays or deductible. No cost to you if you are uninsured. First come, first served. Call 304-897-5915 if you have questions.

May 21st The Allegany County Health Department reports that a female child under the age of 10 has contracted COVID-19. She has not required hospitalization. This brings the county’s total number of positive cases to 166.

Mineral County Health Officials report the total number of positive cases is now 36 with 15 active cases and 21 recovered

Grant County officials have announced an additional positive case of COVID-19 bringing to the total to 7 with 3 that have recovered. s is now 36 with 15 active cases and 21 recovered

Hampshire County Health Department has confirmed its 13th positive case. Contacts of the individual are currently being notified. As we enter into a nice Memorial Day weekend and more public places are opening, we ask that you please be cautious and do all you can to prevent the spread of the virus. Wear masks to protect yourself and others, stay at least 6 feet apart at all times, and use good hand hygiene! Be safe Hampshire County

May 20th Allegany County Health Department reports that the county’s tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases remains at 165 today. Additionally, no new deaths were reported from the virus.To date, 1,990 Allegany County residents have been tested for COVID-19. Of those, 1,747 were negative, 165 were positive, and 78 are pendingAllegany County Government, in concert with Allegany County Tourism is pleased to announce the release of the County’s “Roadmap to Reopening.” The Roadmap outlines best practices for the community’s businesses & tourism industry as we jump start our economy. The Roadmap is available on the County’s resource page dedicated to the community’s COVID-19 response. The document outlines various recommended practices for retail, restaurants and bars, and includes provisions for outdoor dining.  

Mineral County has received notification of 5 new (30 , 31 , 32 , 33 and 34 ) confirmed cases of COVID-19. The Health Department is working to identify any potential persons who may have had close contact with the individual, including family members, friends, co-workers and health care professionals.The best practices to help slow the spread of the virus includes following social distancing, wearing a mask in public places and washing hands for at least 20 seconds.

The Hardy County Health Department and Hardy County Office of Emergency Management have confirmed two additional positive case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Hardy County, bringing the total count to thirty four. The newly confirmed patients are now in quarantine at home, and are following proper protocol to protect their neighbors and community. 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 also now has twelve individuals fully recovered, included in the total case count of thirty four.

Wednesday May 20, 2020, Grant County officials  received information to clarify “WV Strong, the Comeback”

YARDSALES ARE PERMITTED with the following:
• MUST MAINTAIN SOCIAL DISTANCING
• NO MORE THAN 25 PEOPLE AT A TIME, and must be 6 ft. apart
• Hand sanitizer available class=textexposedshow>ea 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 also now has twelve individuals fully recovered, included in the total case count of thirty four

May 19th The Allegany County Health Department reports that a Cumberland Healthcare Center employee has tested positive for COVID-19. This brings the county’s total number of cases to 165. So far, the virus has claimed the lives of 16 Allegany County residents.With the “Stay at Home” order lifted and replaced by the State’s “Safer at Home” guidance, the health department stresses the importance of continuing to wear face coverings when out in public and maintaining social distancing of at least six feet between people. Wash and sanitize your hands often, and clean and sanitize frequently-touched surfaces

The Hardy County Health Department and Hardy County Office of Emergency Management have confirmed one additional positive case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Hardy County, bringing the total count to thirty two. The newly confirmed patient is in quarantine at home, and has been fully cooperative in following proper protocol to protect their neighbors and community. 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 also now has twelve individuals fully recovered, included in the total case count of thirty two.

Hawse Health Center with facilities in Baker, Mathias, Moorefield and Petersburg would like to announce that they will be performing FREE COVID-19 testing at each of our clinic sites as well as an additional site in Romney, WV on SATURDAY, JUNE 13th FROM 10am – 4pm. The testing sites are open to the general public.
The locations are:
Mathias: (Old Mathias School Building.
Baker: Hawse Health Center beside the HCEAA building
Moorefield: At the Michael Medical Building across from the Post office
Petersburg: At Grove Street Health Center next to Social Security Office
Romney: at the old Weimer’s dealership next to DMV building in Sunrise Summit.
The tests are free of charge to everyone, but if you have insurance, please bring your card(s). There is no co-pay or cost to the public. Even if you have no insurance, the test is still free through State sponsored payment. People are asked to remain in your cars as you progress through the line.
Testing is available to all individuals, including asymptomatic individuals. Identification, such as a drivers license or proof of address will be required to be tested. Those under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
NOTE: Testing will be conducted on a first-come, first-served basis.
If you have any questions, you can reach Charles Rohrbaugh at 304-897-5915. Thank you and stay safe.

CLARIFICATION ON YARD SALES:
There has been no guidance or recommendations received as part of the WV Strong The Comeback plan for the safe operation of yard sales within the community at this time. YARD SALES ARE CURRENTLY NOT PERMITTED TO OPERATE AS PART OF THE REOPEN PLAN.

Governor Larry Hogan announced that the state has reached a critical milestone in its long-term COVID-19 testing strategy, surpassing 200,000 tests and completing testing of 3.5 percent of the state’s population, and now has the capacity and supplies to offer testing to Marylanders who may have been exposed to the disease even if they do not have symptoms.With this progress, Governor Hogan has directed the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) to make appointment-free COVID-19 testing available at community-based testing sites throughout the state. As part of this increased capacity, the state is establishing two new VEIP testing sites in Prince George’s County.In addition, Governor Hogan has issued an emergency order authorizing the state’s hundreds of licensed pharmacists to directly order and administer COVID-19 tests.“Beginning this week, we are able to offer appointment-free COVID-19 testing across the state, including for those who do not have symptoms, marking a critical milestone in Maryland’s long-term testing strategy,” said Governor Hogan. “This will help doctors diagnose and treat new cases more quickly, and it will further increase the safety of our state for all citizens. In addition, we are authorizing and actively encouraging the state’s hundreds of pharmacies to directly order and administer COVID-19 tests, another way we can make testing more widely available in our communities.”

TWO NEW VEIP SITES IN PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY: In March, state officials established Maryland’s first mass COVID-19 testing site at FedEx Field in Landover, which evolved to the Prince George’s County Health Department clinic in Cheverly. To further build on these efforts, the state is adding community-based testing sites at VEIP stations in Clinton and Hyattsville.

APPOINTMENT-FREE TESTING BEGINS THURSDAY: Drive-thru, appointment-free testing will be available beginning on Thursday, May 21, at the Timonium Fairgrounds in Baltimore County and continue on Friday, May 22, at the Glen Burnie VEIP site in Anne Arundel County, as well as the Hyattsville VEIP station in Prince George’s County. Testing will become available at the Clinton VEIP site next week. People who suspect that they may have been exposed to COVID-19, even if they are not yet symptomatic, can access a test at one of these sites without a prior doctor’s order or a scheduled appointment. Testing will be provided at no out-of-pocket cost.

AUTHORIZING PHARMACISTS TO ORDER AND ADMINISTER COVID-19 TESTS: Governor Hogan has issued an emergency order authorizing the state’s pharmacists to directly order COVID-19 tests. Additionally, the order authorizes pharmacies to collect specimens for COVID-19 tests onsite, provided that it is carried out safely by qualified personnel in accordance with all CDC guidance. Pharmacists must adhere to all test result reporting requirements. This order coincides with new federal guidelines expanding options to pay for pharmacists to offer COVID-19 tests for Medicare beneficiaries. Read the governor’s order.

LONG-TERM TESTING STRATEGY: As of today, Maryland has conducted 208,658 COVID-19 tests, which comprises 3.5 percent of the state’s population. Over the last month, the state has conducted 140,767 COVID-19 tests, double the previous period. On April 29, Governor Hogan announced that the state would focus additional testing resources on high-priority outbreaks and clusters, including nursing homes and poultry plants, as well as frontline health care workers and first responders at state facilities. With those efforts now in full swing, the state continues to expand the availability of testing to Marylanders. For more information on COVID-19 testing in Maryland, please visit https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/pages/symptoms-testing.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced bipartisan legislation to deliver critical, federal resources to states and communities on the frontlines of the COVID-19 fight. TheState and Municipal Assistance for Recovery and Transition (SMART) Act targets $500 billion in emergency funding to every state, county and community in the country, while prioritizing assistance to the areas with the greatest need. Unlike previously allocated emergency funding, the SMART Actincludes flexible, dedicated funding to local governments to ensure it is distributed fairly and efficiently. After Senator Manchin weighed in with Senators Menendez and Cassidy, they removed the population threshold for direct federal assistance, ensuring that all counties and municipalities in West Virginia would receive a portion of these funds.

The SMART Fund answers the bipartisan call for help from our nation’s governors by providing $500 billion in flexible funding to states to help cover rising costs to combat COVID-19 and lost revenues due to the economic fallout. Without this federal assistance, governors, mayors and county leaders have warned of deep cuts to essential services and layoffs of police, firefighters, paramedics, teachers, sanitation, public health and public works employees, and other frontline workers. These funds can be used to help state and local governments meet the current demand, expand testing capacity and contact tracing, provide further assistance to residents, local hospitals, small businesses and schools, in addition to maintaining critical services residents depend upon.“West Virginia’s cities and municipalities are facing drastic cuts in revenues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. If Congress doesn’t act now, our local officials will be forced to make difficult choices between providing essential services like first responders and retaining their employees to balance their budgets and avoid bankruptcy. It is unacceptable to allow our small businesses or our local governments to face bankruptcy for doing the right thing during this crisis,” said Senator Manchin.“This bipartisan legislation will ensure our state and local governments can keep essential services up and running during this pandemic. I continue to hear from my friends in city and country government that the need for additional support is urgent and this bill delivers $500 billion in additional support so they are able to continue operating through this difficult time.”

“The County Commissioners’ Association of West Virginia (CCAWV) and the West Virginia Association of Counties (WVACo) have appreciated Senator Manchin’s immediate help to our counties in getting us needed pandemic funding relief, and he offers one more example as a champion for bipartisan solutions,” said Jennifer Piercy, Executive Director of the CCAWV and Jonathan Adler, Executive Director of the WVACo.

“The West Virginia Municipal League (WVML) welcomes the introduction of the Smart Act, a bipartisan approach to assist local governments with maintaining essential services. And we’re excited that Senator Manchin has provided support to the legislation,” said Travis L. Blosser, Executive Director of the WVML.

“Sheriffs in West Virginia see the importance of offsetting budget shortfalls and making sure we are capable to continue to be on the front lines during this time, providing essential services in the face of COVID-19. Sheriffs can’t afford to lay off law enforcement nor tax deputies, which keep our citizens safe and our government funding stream in place. We also understand that citizens simply cannot be strapped with any type of tax increases, especially in a world struggling to have a job and support their families. The SMART Act will help West Virginians,” said Rodney Miller, Executive Director of the West Virginia Sheriffs’ Association.

The SMART Fund builds upon the $150 billion set aside in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help state and local governments. It eliminates the current 500,000 population threshold, allowing every state, county, municipality, U.S. territory and the District of Columbia to qualify for direct federal assistance, regardless of its size. Additionally, the SMART Fund targets funding to areas of greatest need based upon infection rates and revenue losses, and overturns the U.S. Treasury’s erroneous guidance that placed undue restrictions on how state and local governments could use the CARES stabilization funding.Specifically, the SMART Fund would provide $500 billion to state, local, and tribal governments in order to avoid mass layoffs, steep tax hikes, and a breakdown of essential services.  After a $16 billion set-aside for Native American tribal governments, the remaining funding would be allocated to states through three equally divided tranches:

1)    One-Third Based on Population Size.  This tranche of funding will be allocated to all 50 states, D.C. and U.S. territories in proportion to each respective state or territory’s percentage of the U.S. population.  Counties and municipalities will each get a share of one-sixth of their state’s respective allocation for a combined total of one-third of their state’s allocation from this tranche.  Funding will be distributed to counties and municipalities based on each county or municipality’s proportion of the state’s population for this tranche. 

2)    One-Third Based on Infection Rates.  This tranche of funding will be allocated based on each state’s relative share of the nation’s infection rate.  States that have disproportionately high infection rates will incur significantly higher expenses and will likely need to continue stay-at-home orders for longer periods of time, leading to larger revenue losses.  Counties and municipalities will each get a share of one-sixth of their state’s respective allocation for a combined total of one-third of their state’s allocation from this tranche.  Funding will be distributed to counties and municipalities based on each county or municipality’s proportion of the state’s population for this tranche. 

3)    One-Third Based on Revenue Losses.  This tranche of funding will be allocated based on each state’s revenue loss in proportion to the combined revenue loss of all the states from January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.  States that took strong actions to curb the spread of the coronavirus should not face additional budget shortfalls as a result of taking responsible action.  Counties and municipalities will each get a share of one-sixth of their state’s allocation for a combined total of one-third of their state’s allocation from this tranche.  Funding will be distributed to counties and municipalities based on each county or municipality’s revenue loss from January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020 in proportion to the combined revenue loss for all counties and municipalities in the state over this period.  This is designed to ensure that adequate funding flows to counties and municipalities that are disproportionately affected relative to their population.

Under the formula, for example, if a state is awarded $6 billion in SMART funds, $4 billion would go to help stabilize the state government, $1 billion would be split among its counties and the remaining $1 billion dispersed to each of its municipalities based upon the respective criteria in each tranche.

May 18th The Allegany County Health Department reports that the number of cases of COVID-19 in Allegany County is now at 164. The two most recent cases are both community members. One is a man in his 20s who has not been hospitalized and the other is a man in his 70s who is currently hospitalized. As of Monday, 1,875 county residents have been tested for COVID-19, with 1,650 negative, 164 positive, and 61 tests still pending.

If you have been watching the numbers on the Maryland COVID-19 Data Dashboard over the last few days you have seen the numbers for Garrett County go up and back down several times. There are many reasons why the numbers could change. First of all, the numbers on the map are preliminary. In fact, below the map it says, “All data are preliminary and are subject to change based on additional reporting.” In Maryland, the numbers on the map are generated from a database where all the COVID-19 tests are reported. Once a positive case shows up in the database, staff at the health department for the county where the positive case is assigned begin to investigate the case.Here are some of the issues that may cause a case to be assigned to the wrong county:

• An incorrect address may have been recorded at the testing site and reported to the state.
• The patient may have two different homes, in two different states. Research is needed to determine which is the primary residence.
• Sometimes a person is tested a second time, and the case needs to be removed to avoid counting it a second time.
• The automated system may mistakenly assign a case to the wrong county.
Why is it important to get it right? Because the county of primary residence is responsible for contact tracing, the process that finds close contacts of a positive case and lets them know that they need to quarantine so they don’t spread the virus if they have been infected.When a case needs to be transferred to another county, or another state, there is often a delay of a day or two before the case is changed on the map. Once the preliminary investigation is completed, the testing results are counted in the county of primary residence.Key staff at both the local and state level are paying close attention to, and immediately investigating, any positive COVID-19 results. Information is shared across county and state lines as necessary to protect residents and health care workers in this ongoing pandemic, while safeguarding the privacy of anyone testing positive for COVID-19. Another question many are asking is why the data doesn’t show up for any Garrett County zip codes. Again, the explanation is under the map, where it says, “Data for ZIP codes with 7 or fewer cases are suppressed.” None of the Garrett Counties zip codes show up in the reports, because the county does not have any zip codes with enough cases to show up on the list. The zip codes for low number locations are not reported to prevent specifically identifying a positive case within a small community. Accurate COVID-19 information is critical to the community. Please visit the Health Department COVID-19 Dashboard at garretthealth.org/covid-19-information/ for current and accurate information about the situation.

Mineral County has received notification of the 27 , 28 and 29 confirmed case of COVID-19. The Health Department is working to identify any potential persons who may have had close contact with the individual, including family members, friends, co- workers and health care professionals. Officials would urge our community to continue to follow guidance put forth by the CDC and the health department. The best practices to help slow the spread of the virus includes following social distancing, wearing a mask in public places and washing hands for at least 20 seconds. If symptoms develop (dry cough, fever, and/or shortness of breath) contact your healthcare provider for instructions. For more information on COVID-19, please visit our website at www.mineralcountyhealthdepartment.com. BE SAFE…from a distance

The Hardy County Health Department and Hardy County Office of Emergency Management have confirmed two additional positive cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Hardy County, bringing the total count to thirty one. The newly confirmed patients are in quarantine at home, and have been fully cooperative in following proper protocol to protect their neighbors and community. 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 also now has twelve individuals fully recovered, included in the total case count of thirty one.

During his latest daily COVID-19 press briefing May 18th , WV Gov. Jim Justice announced that several new businesses and entities will soon be allowed to resume operations as part of the Governor’s reopening plan: West Virginia Strong – The Comeback.
INDOOR SHOPPING MALLS
Gov. Justice announced that indoor shopping malls will be allowed to reopen this Thursday, May 21, provided that all additional guidelines are followed to help keep West Virginians as safe as possible.

Guidance: Indoor shopping malls and similar facilities

“From the standpoint of our specialty retail opening back up and our big box stores opening back up, naturally, our malls should be open,” Gov. Justice said. “Working with our medical experts, we now have additional guidelines on our indoor malls and we feel very comfortable with them.”
ADDITIONAL WEEK 5 REOPENINGS
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice added several businesses and entities to the list of Week 5 reopenings on Tuesday, May 26:
Indoor and outdoor bars at 50% capacity
Museums and visitor centers
Zoos
Guidance documents will be provided on The Comeback page of the Governor’s Office website as soon as they become available.

Gov. Justice had previously announced that state park cabins and lodges would also be able to reopen on Tuesday, May 26, for use by in-state residents only.

Also today, Gov. Justice announced that spas and massage businesses will be permitted to reopen on Saturday, May 30, provided that all additional guidelines are followed. Guidance documents will be made available online.

“We want to give people a heads up on a date that they can plan and gear up for,” Gov. Justice said.
CASINOS & LIMITED VIDEO LOTTERIES
Additionally today, Gov. Justice announced that limited video lottery retailers will also be permitted to reopen on Saturday, May 30, while all casinos across the state will be allowed to open their doors beginning on Friday, June 5, provided that all additional guidelines are followed.

Guidance documents will be provided on The Comeback page of the Governor’s Office website as soon as they become available.

“Our Lottery Director, John Myers, has worked closely with all of the operations in the state and with the medical experts to develop guidance that will allow these facilities to open safely,” Gov. Justice said.

“As we continue to go forward and as we continue to get closer and closer with dates, we’re monitoring our numbers all the time,” Gov. Justice continued. “We very well could have to change these dates if our numbers change. But, hopefully, we won’t. Our numbers have been unbelievable and, if they stay this way, we’ll be able to open more and more.”

PREVIOUSLY-ANNOUNCED REOPENINGS TAKE EFFECT THIS WEEK
Also today, Gov. Justice offered a reminder about several previously-announced reopenings that are scheduled to take effect this week.

Reopening today; Monday, May 18
Fitness centers, gymnasiums, and recreation centers
Sports training facilities (gymnastics, cheerleading, dance, martial arts, and similar facilities)

Reopening Thursday, May 21
Indoor dining at restaurants
Large/specialty retail stores
State park campgrounds for in-state residents only (Guidance for ALL campgrounds)
Hatfield McCoy Trail System
Outdoor recreation rentals (Kayaks, bicycles, boats, rafts, canoes, ATVs, and similar equipment)
Outdoor motorsport and powersport racing with no spectators
Tanning businesses​​
Whitewater rafting
Ziplining​

Guidance documents for these businesses and entities are also available on The Comeback page of the Governor’s Office website.

Businesses included in each phase of this reopening plan are not required to resume operations on any specific date. This plan provides the option for reopening, not a requirement.

The Governor’s Safer at Home order remains in effect this week as well.

ALL COUNTIES REMOVED FROM HOTSPOT LIST
Gov. Justice also announced that, with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources putting its new “High Alert Status” system in place to quickly identify specific areas in West Virginia that may be experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases, all counties that were still remaining on the list of community hotspots have now been removed from the list by executive order. This includes Monongalia, Marion, Harrison, Jefferson, and Berkeley counties.

“At this point in time, under the new system, we no longer have counties on the hotspot alert,” Gov. Justice said. “Our medical experts will be watching all of our 55 counties closely as we move forward with our new High Alert Status system.”

DHHR TESTING UPDATE
During his remarks today, Secretary Bill Crouch with the West Virginia DHHR reported that 2,388 individuals from several communities that have been identified as particularly susceptible to COVID-19 were tested over the weekend as part of the DHHR’s new initiative to test more minority and vulnerable populations throughout the state.

A breakdown of the drive-thru testing that was provided is as follows:
Berkeley County: 872 tests performed
Jefferson County: 748 tests performed
Mercer County: 364 tests performed
Raleigh County: 404 tests performed

“We are still awaiting the results from those tests…they will take a couple of days,” Sec. Crouch said. “We have additional testing scheduled for this week and will announce those later this week.”

NEW WEBSITE STREAMLINING CARES ACT APPLICATIONS FOR CITIES AND COUNTIES
Also today, Gov. Justice announced that a new web portal is now available for city and county government officials across West Virginia to apply for grant funding through the federal CARES Act.

“I encourage all the cities and counties to apply,” Gov. Justice said. “As we get applications, we’ll work our way through them very quickly and find things they are qualified for and get those monies to you very quickly.”

Applications are available at grants.wv.gov. Interested parties can also call a helpline for more information by dialing 1-833-94-GRANT.

“The federal guidelines are changing nonstop, they’re very fluid,” Gov. Justice said. “Jim Justice believes, as he has from day one, that the guidelines will become favorable for us before it’s over and, even though we encourage you to apply now, we want you to know that you can continue to apply as we go forward.”

DATA UPDATE
Today, Gov. Justice provided an overview of statewide data on COVID-19, highlighting that West Virginia’s cumulative percentage of positive test results has dropped, once again, to 1.96 percent.

West Virginia continues to excel in several metrics compared to its surrounding states and the national average. View the latest COVID-19 data at Coronavirus.wv.gov.

WEST VIRGINIANS URGED TO PARTICIPATE IN CENSUS
Once more today, Gov. Justice asked all West Virginians to participate in the 2020 United States Census.

Every West Virginian who does not respond to the Census represents a loss of $20,000 in federal funds over the next 10 years for the state and its local communities. The funds can go toward things like healthcare, education, infrastructure, school lunch programs, and more.

Be counted in minutes: 2020census.gov.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Click here to view all Executive Orders and other actions taken by Gov. Justice to combat the spread of COVID-19 in West Virginia.

For more information about COVID-19 prevention and more, call the State’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-887-4304 or visit Coronavirus.wv.gov.

Governor Larry Hogan today announced the launch of the Caregiver Services Corps, a program to support Maryland seniors who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Caregiver Services Corps is able to quickly deploy volunteers and other resources to the homes of seniors who need urgent assistance with everyday tasks when their typical caregiver becomes unable to help them due to COVID-19 exposure, illness, or other challenges.

“Since the beginning of the public health crisis, we have been focused on the impact of COVID-19 on older Marylanders, and we are pursuing every course of action to protect their health, safety, and quality of life,” said Governor Hogan. “This program is just another way that Maryland is leading the charge to support our most vulnerable residents, now more than ever.”

This announcement is yet another step in Governor Hogan’s ongoing actions to protect older Marylanders. He has directed the Maryland Department of Health to order increasingly stringent health and safety protocols for nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and established statewide strike teams that are deployed to facilities in need of support. He has also expanded the Maryland Department of Aging’s free Senior Call Check program, which places a daily check-in call to enrolled seniors. 

Seniors or their loved ones may request assistance from the Caregiver Services Corps if a friend or family member who typically provides care becomes temporarily unavailable. Volunteers can be deployed to seniors’ homes to provide assistance, including with maintaining daily hygiene routines, preparing meals, picking up groceries or medications, or connecting virtually with health care providers. 

Those in need of assistance should call 2-1-1 to be connected with the Caregiver Services Corps help center. Trained staff at the call center will triage the caller’s needs and help match them with a volunteer. The call center is available 7 days a week and is capable of taking calls in many languages.

The Caregiver Services Corps is not intended to replace long-term arrangements for ongoing needs. Seniors and their loved ones should always work directly with their primary care physician or insurance company to arrange for such services.“We are delighted to be able to provide the Caregiver Services Corps program to give older Marylanders reassurance they have support at this time,” said Department of Aging Secretary Rona Kramer. “I would also like to urge Marylanders to volunteer to be a part of this effort. You can help your neighbors in the community who need assistance.”

Interested volunteers are encouraged to sign up at the Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps website. They do not need to work in the healthcare or medical field to volunteer, and there are opportunities to provide support with in-home care or in non-contact roles.

The State of Maryland provides a range of essential services to support older Marylanders, including the Senior Call Check Program, which places a daily check-in call to enrolled seniors. Other programs include nutrition and meal services, elder abuse prevention, and advocacy for older adults. Learn more about these programs from the Maryland Department of Aging. 

May 17th The Allegany County Health Department reports that two women have died from complications of COVID-19. One was a community member and the other was a resident of Cumberland Healthcare Center. This brings the total number of Allegany County coronavirus deaths to 16.Three new cases of COVID-19 have been identified in nursing homes within Allegany County. One case involves an employee at Sterling Care Frostburg Village. The other two cases are staff members at Cumberland Healthcare Center. The two new cases reported on Saturday involve a male in his 60s who is currently hospitalized and a female in her 20s who has not required hospitalization. Friday night the Allegany County Health Department reported  seven more cases include five Cumberland Healthcare Center residents and two community members. The two community members are both male, one in his 50s and one in his 20s, and neither has required hospitalization.

CDC is working with state and local health departments to investigate reports of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19 and gather more information as quickly as possible about how common it is and who is at risk. As new information becomes available, we will continue to provide information for parents and caregivers as well as healthcare and public health professionals. MIS-C has been described as inflammation (swelling) across multiple body systems, potentially including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, and gastrointestinal organs. Signs and symptoms of MIS-C include fever and various symptoms such as abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, and feeling tired.If your child has any of these symptoms, other symptoms of COVID-19, or other concerning signs, contact your pediatrician. If your child is showing any emergency warning signs including trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, bluish lips or face, severe abdominal pain, or other concerning signs, seek emergency care right away.

Mineral County Health Department officials announced there are a total of 26 confirmed positive residents of Mineral County. 16 cases have recovered.We continue to urge our community to follow guidance put forth by the CDC and the health department.The best practices to help slow the spread of the virus includes following social distancing, washing hands for at least 20 seconds and wearing a mask in public to protect yourself and everyone else. If symptoms develop (dry cough, fever, and/or shortness of breath) contact your healthcare provider for instructions. For more information on COVID-19, please visit our website at www.mineralcountyhealthdepartment.com. BE SAFE…from a distance

Grant County has had 6 positive tests. 2 have recovered, and 4 are recovering at home.Grove Street Health Center is conducting COVID testing. There have been no positive tests from that screening.

Hampshire County Health Department has confirmed its 12th positive case today. Contacts of the individual have been notified.All active cases are under quarantine and are cooperating. The health department continues to monitor these individuals and their contacts daily.As we come upon this warm weekend, please use caution when around others. Maintain your social distancing, wear face coverings, and use good hand hygiene. If you are feeling ill, please stay home and don’t chance it.

The Hardy County Health Department and Hardy County Office of Emergency Management have confirmed one additional positive case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Hardy County, bringing the total count to twenty nine. The newly confirmed patient is in quarantine at home, and has been fully cooperative in following proper protocol to protect their neighbors and community. 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 also now has nine individuals fully recovered, included in the total case count of twenty nine.

Participants in the Pilgrims and Community Testing: all individuals with positive test results from early this week have been notified of the results and are cooperating with quarantine at home. If you have not heard results, your COVID-19 test was negative.

For community testing, negative test results will be mailed to your mailing address. Pilgrims employees will receive their negative result paperwork directly from the Pilgrims health services staff or Health Department. Again, all positive cases have been notified from the earlier testing.

At the community drive through testing, we found two positive cases out of 168 tests. With Pilgrims employee testing, we found 18 positive cases out of 520 tests.

The Hardy County Health Department would like to thank Pilgrim’s Pride Moorefield Plant and the West Virginia National Guard for their cooperation and testing efforts this week. We received invaluable help from Pilgrims, the Guard, and citizens of Hardy County.

This COVID-19 battle is a fight that we can win if we continue to be cautious, take protective measures, and follow the guidance of wearing personal protective equipment, hand-washing, and social distancing until cases go down in our area. Our hospitals and medical system need our help to keep the case count as low as possible. Thank you everyone.

U.S. Representatives David Trone (D-MD) and Don Young (R-AK) hailed an announcement that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will extend three nationwide waivers, which will allow child nutrition programs to continue feeding school-aged children during the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the COVID-19 outbreak, states submitted waivers to the USDA in order to relieve a number of restrictions that would allow them to continue providing meals for students and families. Waivers could include any part of state operations, from meal limitations to transportation restrictions.Trone and Young led a bipartisan coalition of more than 50 Members of Congress in urging the USDA to grant these waivers. Specifically, the Members urged the USDA to approve all waivers they’ve received from states that strengthen and extend child nutrition programs amid the coronavirus pandemic. They also pressed the USDA to waive area eligibility requirements nationwide, meaning every student in the United States would be able to access free meals during COVID-19 school closures. You can see a copy of the letter here.Trone embarked on the effort to secure the waivers after holding a tele-roundtable with Maryland public school leaders in April, and on Tuesday, he introduced legislation to provide emergency funding to the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), a federal program that provides nutritious meals to qualifying children and adults.“If a student is hungry, she cannot learn. It’s as simple as that,” said Congressman David Trone. “Maryland students and their parents are facing unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. At a minimum, we have to ensure that our students have access to healthy meals while we ask them to learn from home. I am grateful that Congressman Young partnered with me on this effort, and I thank Secretary Perdue for responding to our request.”

“As a former teacher, I know that learning can only happen when our children have access to proper nutrition,” said Congressman Don Young. “As we head into the summer months, we must continue to ensure that our children have access to proper nutrition, particularly amid the COVID-19 pandemic. If school is being conducted at home, healthy meals must also be available to support our children. Tackling childhood hunger, especially during summer, has long been a priority of mine. This Congress, I’ve introduced the Summer Meals Act, which will help fill in the nutrition gaps that typically occur during the summer break. I am proud to have worked with Congressman David Trone on this critical issue of flexibility, and I want to thank Secretary Perdue and the Administration for providing this much-needed support for our nation’s future.”
Background from the USDA: Since March, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has made maximum use of existing program flexibilities and new authorities granted by Congress to make it as easy as possible for children to receive food through the department’s nutrition assistance programs during the national health emergency. Today’s announcement extends three key flexibilities that will allow current operations to continue without disruption and ensure states and program operators have time to plan for continued operations throughout the summer.

Today, FNS is extending the following waivers nationwide through August 31, 2020: Non-Congregate Feeding: FNS is allowing meals to be served to children outside of the normally-required group setting to support social distancing.

Parent Pickup: FNS is allowing parents and/or guardians to pick up meals and bring them home to their children.

Meal Times: FNS is waiving requirements that meals be served at certain standard times to allow for grab-n-go options. This also allows for multiple days-worth of meals to be provided at once.

In addition to granting significant program flexibilities through both nationwide and individual state waivers, FNS is rapidly approving states for Pandemic-EBT, which provides food-purchasing benefits, equal to the value of school meals, to households with children who would otherwise be receiving free or reduced-price meals at school. FNS has approved 26 plans and continues to review new plans as they are submitted.

In Congress, David Trone has made investing in school meal programs a top priority. Trone recently led a bipartisan effort, the CARE for Kids Act, to extend automatic eligibility for free school meals to certain vulnerable groups of children. Last summer, he took a tour of the district to highlight the importance of the Summer Meals Programs in schools, where he was joined by celebrity chef Bryan Voltaggio from Frederick. In his position on the Education and Labor Committee, he has supported several bills related to protecting and expanding school meal programs.

May 16th In a welcome bit of good news regarding the coronavirus, the Allegany County Health Department has learned that 141 staff members and 121 residents at Allegany Health Nursing and Rehabilitation have tested negative for COVID-19. The facility tested all staff and residents. No tests came back positive and only three tests are still pending. Testing was conducted through the Maryland National Guard nursing home testing initiative.The health department also reported that one new coronavirus case was identified in a resident at Sterling Care Frostburg Village, bringing the total cases for the county to 150. That individual has not required hospitalization.

As the Governor offers guidance on his Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery plan, each Maryland county can decide to open businesses and services at their own pace. In  Garrett County, the Garrett County Commissioners have decided to move into Stage One of the recovery plan as of 5 p.m. May 15, 2020. Stage One allows low-risk businesses to reopen and implements a Safer at Home public health advisory. Also, churches and houses of worship may begin to safely hold religious services, at up to 50 percent capacity, with outdoor services strongly encouraged.As a part of Stage One, the Garrett County Health Officer has also rescinded the March 2020 order prohibiting the rental of transient vacation rentals. Therefore, all transient rentals in Garrett County will be reopened at that time.Transient rentals include properties rented by local management companies, services such as Air BnB, and private vacation rental homeowners.  Like other small businesses that are able to reopen, the rentals must follow strict cleanliness processes and implement as many “no-touch” processes as possible.Specifically, the reopening of vacation rental units outlines the following:

Cleanliness:
Each unit must be cleaned with approved disinfecting cleaners. Special attention must be paid to the high touch and high traffic areas. Also, each unit must be cleaned to the Vacation Rental Management Association (VRMA) housekeeping standards and protocol. Owners must allow increased time between check out and the next guest’s arrival for the cleaning practices.

Employee Practices:
Employees must be sufficiently trained on the enhanced cleaning protocol and use personal protective equipment.

Guest Practices:
Guests are asked to bring groceries, paper products, and cleaning supplies with them for the duration of their stay. Also, guests must practice social distancing, use face coverings when in public, and regularly wash hands or use hand sanitizer when hand washing is not available. Guests are also advised to stay home if not feeling well. If symptoms present when staying at a vacation rental, please self-isolate and make the Garrett County Health Department aware of the situation.

Occupancy:
Groups are limited to no more than 10 and must utilize a remote check-in process.

Note that factors such as a sustained increase in hospital intensive care utilization and/or a community outbreak will determine if the reopening will be continued.

“We are moving from what I would call government-imposed restriction to personal responsibility,” said Garrett County Health Officer Bob Stephens. “It is all of our responsibility now to protect our neighbors, our family, and our friends through things like social distancing, washing our hands, wearing face masks, and limiting our travel within the community.”

Other low-risk activities that can reopen under the Governor’s new Order include:
• Animal adoption shelters
• Art galleries
• Bookstores
• Car washes
• Churches
• Clothing and shoe stores
• Florists
• Furniture stores
• Jewelers
• Lawn and garden stores
• Pawnshops
Please remember all other restrictions imposed by the Governor’s Executive Orders also remain in place:

• Restaurants are carry-out or delivery only and bars remain closed
• Face coverings are required to be worn in all retail or service businesses
• Social distancing is required; keep 6 feet between people
• Large gatherings are prohibited; no groups larger than 10

“We are in unprecedented times but have done our homework in consulting with the public health experts. Now, we each have a personal responsibility to ensure a safe and prudent way forward,” said Board of Garrett County Commissioners Chairman Paul Edwards.Garrett County Government buildings and facilities will remain closed to the public but county services are available via phone and email. If an in-person meeting is necessary, an appointment can be scheduled. Information and updates about COVID-19 in Garrett County and around the world are available at garretthealth.org. Residents who have medical questions about the virus may
also call the Health Department COVID-19 Hotline at 301-334-7698. The Board of Garrett County Commissioners Executive Order – Declaration of State of Emergency – Amended May 14, 2020 can be found here: https://bit.ly/Amended-5-14 And the memo from the Garrett County Health Officer can be found here: https://bit.ly/Health-Officer-Memo-5-14

The Hardy County Health Department and Hardy County Office of Emergency Management have confirmed four additional positive cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Hardy County, bringing the total count to twenty seven. The newly confirmed patients are in quarantine at home, and have been fully cooperative in following proper protocol to protect their neighbors and community. 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. The increase in confirmed cases is due to the increased testing at Pilgrims Pride and community testing sites. Hardy County also now has five individuals fully recovered, included in the total case count of twenty seven.

Grant County has 3 new positive cases. All are self- quarantining at home, and contacts have been notified and will be monitored for symptoms. Grant County total is now 6, with one of those fully recovered.

If you have unexplained fever, cough, or shortness of breath or sudden loss of smell please do NOT leave your home, call Grant Memorial Hospital (304) 257 1026 and press 5 to speak to an ER nurse to help determine if testing is indicated depending on your risk factors. If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify dispatch personnel that you may have been exposed or have symptoms of COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before emergency medical services arrive or immediately after they arrive.

GMH COVID tests conducted 231 Tests (including Day Care employees, and pre-op screenings) 2 Grant County Positive (1 recovered) 6 positive from Hardy County and 1 Unable to Test (UTT). There are several test results pending. 4 Grant County residents that tested positive were tested at another facility.

WV reported 67,110 tests 1,404 positive 59 deaths Cumulative positive rate 2.09% Positive COVID19 cases reported to WVDHHR: Barbour 7, Berkeley 196, Boone 9, Braxton 2, Brook 3, Cabell 52, Clay 2, Fayette 36, Gilmer 8, Grant 6, Greenbrier 8, Hampshire 10, Hancock 12, Hardy 23, Harrison 34, Jackson 136, Jefferson 92, Kanawha 188, Lewis 4, Lincoln 5, Logan 14, Marion 46, Marshall 23, Mason 14, McDowell 6, Mercer 12, Mineral 26, Mingo 3, Monongalia 114, Monroe 6, Morgan 17, Nicholas 8, Ohio 37, Pendleton 5, Pleasants 2, Pocahontas 2, Preston 14, Putnam 29, Raleigh 10, Randolph 5, Ritchie 1, Roane 8, Summers 1, Taylor 8, Tyler 3, Tucker 4, Upshur 6, Wayne 93, Wetzel 6, Wirt 3, Wood 44, Wyoming 1.

WV is still in a Safer at Home plan, and Governor Justice recommends that everyone wear face coverings if in public, especially if you cannot social distance 6 ft away from others. Always wash hands or sanitize frequently, and it is recommended to telework if possible. Gatherings of over 25 people are prohibited.
See full reopening guidelines: www.wvcoronavirus.com
Some of the business openings are:
• Indoor dining at 50% capacity with 6 feet between tables. Face coverings: Require all employees to wear cloth or disposable face coverings at all times.

• Large specialty retail stores. Indoor malls are not included.
• West Virginia State Park campgrounds for in-state residents only.
• Outdoor powersport racing with no spectators.
Tentative June 8 for summer youth sports, this is dependent on how the virus effects children. This will continue to be monitored.

If you have unexplained fever, cough, or shortness of breath or sudden loss of smell please do NOT leave your home, call Grant Memorial Hospital (304) 257 1026 and press 5 to speak to an ER nurse to help determine if testing is indicated depending on your risk factors.
If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify dispatch personnel that you may have been exposed or have symptoms of COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before emergency medical services arrive or immediately after they arrive.

WV Gov. Jim Justice joined West Virginia health leaders and other officials today for his latest daily press briefing regarding the State’s COVID-19 response.
FITNESS CENTERS, GYMS, AND REC CENTERS
On Thursday, Gov. Justice announced that fitness centers, gymnasiums, and recreation centers have been added to the list of entities that will be allowed to resume operations, with limitations, in the next phase of the Governor’s reopening plan: West Virginia Strong – The Comeback.

These facilities will be permitted to reopen on Monday, May 18, provided that all additional guidelines are being followed to help keep their patrons and all West Virginians as safe as possible.

WHITEWATER RAFTING & ZIPLINING
Gov. Justice also announced that whitewater rafting and ziplining businesses will be allowed to reopen, with limitations, on Thursday, May 21.

These businesses will also be required to follow additional guidelines, including limiting group sizes, the cleansing of equipment, and more, to help keep their patrons and all West Virginians as safe as possible:
Whitewater rafting
Ziplining
“We have consulted with these companies and they have given us a tremendous amount of guidelines,” Gov. Justice said. “I’m happy to say that we’re going to reopen and we’re hopeful to have a great rafting season and ziplining as well. But we ask, please, that you use good common sense and help us help keep you safe.”
ROCK CLIMBING
Additionally, Gov. Justice announced that outdoor guided rock climbing businesses will be allowed to reopen, with limitations, on Friday, May 15.“We just encourage you, again, to follow these guidelines as strictly as possible to try to keep everyone safe,” Gov. Justice said.

Week 3 of the Gov. Justice reopening plan – West Virginia Strong – The Comeback – is now underway and announcements regarding Week 4 reopenings have been made. The Governor’s new Safer At Home order is also in effect.

TESTING MINORITIES AND THE VULNERABLE
Also today, Gov. Justice announced a plan to increase COVID-19 testing opportunities for minorities and other vulnerable populations across West Virginia.

The plan, which was developed with input from the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs, West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, and the West Virginia National Guard, will provide free optional testing to all residents in several counties that are experiencing higher rates of COVID-19 transmission.

It targets residents who have struggled to be seen by a physician or do not have insurance to pay for testing. However, other residents, including those who are asymptomatic are welcome to be tested.

The following counties have been identified for testing: Berkeley, Cabell, Fayette, Jefferson, Kanawha, Marion, Mercer, Mineral, Monongalia, and Raleigh.

“We are targeting these counties for a significant amount of testing in order to be able to make us one step better,” Gov. Justice said. “If you have any anxiety, or whatever it may be, and you think you ought to be tested, please come in and do so.”

DHHR and local jurisdictions, with support from the WVNG, will be conducting the first of these testing efforts on Friday, May 15 and Saturday, May 16, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at each of the following locations:
Berkeley County Martinsburg High School (701 S Queen St., Martinsburg, WV)
Jefferson CountyAsbury United Methodist Church (110 W North St., Charles Town, WV)
Mercer County Bluefield State College: Harris-Jefferson Student Center Lower Parking Lot (219 Rock St., Bluefield, WV)
Raleigh County Commission on Aging (1614 S Kanawha St., Beckley, WV)
Additional testing for the remaining counties will be announced at a later date.

NEW DHHR METHODOLOGY TO PROTECT AGAINST SURGES
Today, State Health Officer and Bureau for Public Health Commissioner Dr. Cathy Slemp unveiled a new methodology that will be used by the DHHR moving forward to more quickly identify areas in West Virginia that may be experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases.

“To prevent disease transmission, to reduce illness, and to save lives, Governor Justice has directed DHHR’s Bureau of Public Health to implement and to develop a county alert system,” Dr. Slemp said. “This approach will provide a consistent way to allow West Virginians to return to work, while ensuring that we’re monitoring change and, when necessary, taking aggressive steps to prevent resurgence.

Any potential future rise in cases will trigger rapid assessment and guide action based on a seven-day rolling sum of new, non-outbreak associated cases based on population size. DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health will examine additional data and undertake a rapid joint assessment with the county.

Following the rapid assessment and examination of data that suggest an increase in community transmission, the county may be designated by Gov. Justice with the status of “High Alert.” Depending on the individual county circumstances, action plans will include providing or assigning needed resource supports and/or strongly reinforcing or potentially increasing community mitigation measures.

Once on the heightened alert list, a county will stay on it for a minimum of 14 days and until a consistent decrease in community spread of COVID-19 is seen. Removal from the alert list will be based on data and in collaboration with the local health department.

FLAG ORDER: PEACE OFFICER MEMORIAL DAY
Additionally, Gov. Justice announced that he has issued a proclamation, in accordance with President Trump’s proclamation, ordering that all United States and West Virginia State Flags at the Capitol Complex and all state-owned facilities across West Virginia be displayed at half-staff, from dawn to dusk tomorrow, Friday, May 15, in honor of Peace Officers Memorial Day.

“Our police officers give so much and, for some crazy reason, we have gotten in a situation where a lot of people are disrespectful to the first people we call when we have a problem,” Gov. Justice said. “I would encourage all of us to think about how important they are to us.

“Please, in remembrance of those that we’ve lost and in respect of all of those who are giving us so much all the time, please remember to be thankful.”

FLAG ORDER: STATE FORESTRY DIRECTOR BARRY COOK
Gov. Justice also has issued a proclamation ordering that all United States and West Virginia State Flags at the Capitol Complex and all state-owned facilities throughout Raleigh County be displayed at half-staff, from dawn to dusk on Saturday, May 16, in commemoration of the distinguished life and service of West Virginia Forestry Director Barry Cook.

On Monday, Gov. Justice announced that Cook had tragically passed away following a recent accident at his home.

EXXON DONATION
Gov. Justice also announced that Exxon donated 2,400 gallons of medical-grade hand sanitizer today to assist West Virginia in its statewide COVID-19 response efforts.

The sanitizer was delivered in 480 five-gallon buckets to the West Virginia National Guard facility in Poca.

The donated hand sanitizer will be used by various emergency personnel in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I just think that anybody stepping up to do this kind of work should be recognized,” Gov. Justice said. “So we thank Exxon in every way.”

FEDERAL FUNDING FOR TESTING / DATA UPDATE
Gov. Justice relayed that United States Senator Shelley Moore Capito and U.S. Senator Joe Manchin have announced over $57 million from the CARES Act for West Virginia to increase COVID-19 testing across the state.

“We salute Senator Capito and Senator Manchin for their help,” Gov. Justice said. “I want to surely thank them and I surely thank President Trump for getting us the additional monies that will allow us to do more and more testing in West Virginia and the more we can do, the better.

“I tell all of you that West Virginia is now testing at a level of 3.86 percent. The national level is 3.01 percent and all of our surrounding states are testing significantly less than us,” Gov. Justice said. “And so this is just going to make us better and better.”

The Governor also went on to report that West Virginia’s cumulative rate of positive test results has dropped yet again over the past 24 hours to 2.08 percent.

View the latest COVID-19 data at Coronavirus.wv.gov

WEST VIRGINIANS URGED TO PARTICIPATE IN CENSUS
Once more today, Gov. Justice asked all West Virginians to participate in the 2020 United States Census.

Every West Virginian who does not respond to the Census represents a loss of $20,000 in federal funds over the next 10 years for the state and its local communities. The funds can go toward things like healthcare, education, infrastructure, school lunch programs, and more.

Be counted in minutes: 2020census.gov.

WEST VIRGINIA NATIONAL GUARD UPDATE
Click here to read more about the West Virginia National Guard’s response to the pandemic

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Click here to view all Executive Orders and other actions taken by Gov. Justice to combat the spread of COVID-19 in West Virginia.

For more information about COVID-19 prevention and more, call the State’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-887-4304 or visit Coronavirus.wv.gov.

MD Governor Larry Hogan today announced the beginning of Stage One of the ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery,’ which includes moving from a Stay at Home order to a Safer at Home public health advisory and the gradual reopenings of retail, manufacturing, houses of worship, and some personal services. Stage One will be implemented with a flexible, community-based approach that empowers individual jurisdictions to make decisions regarding the timing of reopenings. “As we begin Stage One of our recovery, I want to assure every Marylander who may feel uneasy, and anyone who is concerned that we are moving either too quickly or too slowly, that each and every decision we make is both fact-based and science-based and made only after extensive consultation with our expert Coronavirus Recovery Team,” said Governor Hogan. “We are continually monitoring this crisis, we remain focused on the clusters, outbreaks, and hotspots, and I can assure you that we remain ready to quickly and decisively respond to any changes in the facts on the ground, and that we will continue to attack this virus with every single tool at our disposal.”

SAFER AT HOME. Effective Friday, May 15, at 5:00 pm, Maryland will move from a Stay at Home order to a Safer at Home public health advisory.

Marylanders, particularly older and more vulnerable Marylanders, are strongly advised to continue staying home as much as possible. Employers should continue to encourage telework for their employees when possible. Individuals who can work from home should continue to do so. Maryland citizens should continue wearing masks in indoor public areas, retail stores, and on public transportation. Additionally, Marylanders should continue practicing physical distancing, continue avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people, keep washing their hands often, and frequently sanitize high-touch areas.

LOCAL FLEXIBILITY FOR JURISDICTIONS. Governor Hogan’s ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery’ provides a flexible and community-based approach which empowers county leaders to make decisions regarding the timing of Stage One reopening in their individual jurisdictions.

RETAIL STORES. Governor Hogan announced that retail stores may reopen at up to 50 percent capacity, with curbside pickup and delivery strongly encouraged, and all public health precautions in place. Examples of businesses that may reopen include clothing and shoe stores, pet groomers, animal adoption shelters, car washes, art galleries, and bookstores.

MANUFACTURING. Governor Hogan announced manufacturing may resume operations in a safe manner which protects the health of employees, with guidelines encouraging multiple shifts and other safety precautions.

CHURCHES AND HOUSES OF WORSHIP. Churches and houses of worship may begin to safely hold religious services, at up to 50 percent capacity, with outdoor services strongly encouraged. Religious leaders are strongly urged to do everything possible to keep their congregants safe, and particularly to protect the elderly and vulnerable within their congregations.

PERSONAL SERVICES. Some personal services, including barber shops and hair salons, may reopen with up to 50 percent capacity, by appointment only and with appropriate health and safety guidelines.

‘BACK TO BUSINESS.’ Businesses that adopt all safety guidelines are encouraged to take a ‘Back to Business’ pledge.

May 13th The Allegany County Health Department reports one new case of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in the county to 149. The latest case is a male in his 30s who has not required hospitalization.

As of Wednesday, 1,651 Allegany County residents have been tested for COVID-19. 1,175 tested negative, 149 tested positive, and 327 tests are still pending. The increased number of pending tests is due to Allegany Health Nursing and Rehabilitation testing all of its residents and staff members through the Maryland National Guard nursing home testing initiative

The Mineral County Health Department has confirmed the 23rd, 24th and 25th cases of COVID-19. Health Department officials are working to identify any potential people who may have come into close contact with those individuals including family, friends, co-workers and health care professionals.

Grant County has 3 new positive cases of COVID-19. All are self quarantining at home and contacts have been notified and will be monitored for symptoms. Grant County’s total number of positive cases is now 6 with one of those fully recovered.

Hampshire County Health Department has confirmed its 11th positive case today. Contacts of the individual are currently being notified.

The Hardy County Health Department and Hardy County Office of Emergency Management have confirmed six additional positive cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Hardy County, bringing the total count to twenty three. The newly confirmed patients are in quarantine at home, and have been fully cooperative in following proper protocol to protect their neighbors and community. 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. The increase in confirmed cases today is due to the increased testing at Pilgrims Pride and community testing sites. Hardy County also now has five individuals fully recovered, included in the total case count of twenty three.

On May 12, members of the UPMC Western Maryland Facilities Department removed the triage tent that had been deployed in the parking lot immediately outside the Emergency Department. The tent was erected in early March in order to prevent potential overcrowding in the Emergency Department and to test members of the public who came to the hospital with suspected coronavirus symptoms.With UPMC Western Maryland COVID-19 caseload not reaching the expected surge capacity, the hospital now has dedicated a secure unit within a controlled environment away from all other patients for those individuals who present as suspected or confirmed positive COVID-19 cases.
“As our community begins taking steps to recover from this pandemic, UPMC Western Maryland will remain vigilant,” said President Barry Ronan. “We have begun to gradually reinstate our essential services, explore options for other impacted services and ensure that there is an adequate supply of personal protective equipment to provide care.”
Additionally, beginning May 14, visitation limitations set in place in early March will be modified. “With consideration of the benefits to our patients and current COVID-19 trends in the region, we have developed a plan to safely allow one dedicated, on-site patient support person for each non-COVID-19 positive hospital inpatient and Emergency Department patient,” Ronan said.
This support person is identified by the patient and is, typically, a spouse, partner, very close family member, or trusted friend. They are not a visitor — they are an essential part of the care team to help our hospital patients manage and communicate about their care. Patients with support persons have proven to recover faster, have better mental and emotional health, shorter lengths of stay, and a better overall experience.
All patient support persons must pass through the facility screening process to enter. They will be required to wear a face mask and provided with a support person wrist band while in our facilities. “We continue to go to great lengths to maintain a safe environment for our patients and staff at all of our facilities. The hospital is a safe place to receive care and people should not ignore symptoms or warnings that could prove detrimental to their health,” Ronan said.

US Senators Manchin and Capito: U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced $11,193,235 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) program, which received additional funding in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) that was signed into law on Friday, March 27. This funding will help address increased unemployment and economic disruption in West Virginia because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The impact of the novel coronavirus has been felt throughout all communities of our state, making this support all the more important,” said Senator Capito. “CSBGs provide crucial economic relief, and support for families and individuals who need it most. Throughout this difficult and uncertain time, HHS has been a steadfast partner to West Virginia, and I am encouraged to see this continued support. West Virginians have shown their strength, and I will continue to advocate for the resources we need back home.”

“Communities across West Virginia and our nation are struggling with high unemployment and closing of businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Investing in our communities across the Mountain State is essential to helping our unemployed neighbors and friends, and reopening our local and small businesses safely. We must continue to support one another during this crisis, and I will continue to fight for the resources we need to create more economic opportunity in West Virginia,” said Senator Manchin

The Board of County Commissioners of Allegany County reopened its recently established COVID-19 Small Business Assistance Fund for small businesses. The fund, announced in March, has already provided over $109,000 in rapid funding for businesses affected most.

“Allegany County is one of the few counties that has committed a large amount of funding to help our small businesses in need. A benefit of local government is being able to act quickly to move these funds out the door to businesses impacted by this pandemic. We are expecting a week turnaround time to process the grants,” commented Commission President Jake Shade.

As is the case with the initial rounds of the grant, funding can be used by businesses to pay rent, mortgages, or utility costs for businesses.

To be eligible, the business must:

· Have a physical address in Allegany County, Maryland

· Must be in good standing with the State of Maryland

· Have no more than 15 full-time employees (as of March 1, 2020)

· Demonstrate a loss of business revenue attributed to COVID-19

· Have no pre-existing tax liens or legal judgments

· Cannot be any of the following entities: home-based businesses, churches or religious institutions, banks & financial institutions, investment/real-estate entities, government agencies

Additional funds are being provided through funding that Allegany County has received through the passage of the CARES Act. To apply for the grant, or for additional resources for businesses and for the community at-large, please visit: http://resources.inallegany.org.

U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $3,750,000 for Appalachian Community Development Financial Intuitions (CDFI) to provide support for small businesses amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This funding is made available through the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and will help support operational costs of community lenders in Appalachia that have suspended loan repayments from small businesses as the COVID-19 pandemic has severely limited operational opportunity and resources.

“As West Virginians, we are always ready to lend a helping hand to those in need,” said Senator Capito. “What our CDFIs and community lenders have done is no exception to that principle, and I am encouraged to see the willingness in Appalachian communities to provide support to one another during this uncertain time. Small businesses are the backbones of our communities, and we must provide the support they need to get through this pandemic. I am very pleases to see ARC’s contributions to this effort and look forward to future cooperation.”

“Small businesses in West Virginia are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding from ARC will help CDFIs provide loan deferrals to small businesses to free up cash flow, which will help our small businesses stay afloat during these challenging times. I am pleased ARC is assisting West Virginia businesses and I look forward to continuing our strong partnership,” said Senator Manchin.

May 11th The Allegany County Health Department reports that the county now has 148 cases of COVID-19. New cases include a resident at Moran Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, and a male community member in his 40s who has not required hospitalization.An additional death has been reported. The most recent fatality of COVID-19 is a female resident of Cumberland Healthcare Center. As of Monday, 1,293 Allegany County residents have been tested for COVID-19. Of those, 1,135 have tested negative, 148 were positive, and 10 tests are still pending.

The Hardy County Health Department would like to announce the availability of free COVID-19 screening and testing on May 12, 2020 for Hardy County residents only. The Health Department will be conducting a free drive-through test for COVID-19 from 10am until 2pm at the West Virginia National Guard Armory, 157 Freedom Way, Moorefield, West Virginia.Medical workers will collect a sample from you with a nasal or throat swab. The collection process only takes 5 to 10 minutes. However, there may be a long on-site wait time, so plan ahead and be prepared to wait in your vehicle. Once you arrive on site, please remain in your vehicle at all times. Please bring your proof of residency, address, and phone number, as well as the name of your primary care provider. Testing is free, and again, for Hardy County residents only.

West Virginia National Guard Armory
157 Freedom Way
Moorefield, WV 26836

Testing on May 12, 2020 from 10am – 2pm.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 304-530-0221 or pio@hardycounty.com.

From WV Governor: During his latest daily COVID-19 press briefing today, WV Gov. Jim Justice announced the next wave of businesses and activities permitted to reopen as part of the upcoming Week 4 phase of the Governor’s reopening plan: West Virginia Strong – The Comeback.

WEEK 4 REOPENINGS
The following entities are permitted to reopen, with limitations, in Week 4:
Indoor dining at restaurants at 50% capacity
Large/specialty retail stores
State park campgrounds for in-state residents only
Outdoor recreation rentals (kayaks, bicycles, boats, rafts, canoes, ATVs and similar equipment)
Outdoor motorsport and powersport racing with no spectators
Hatfield McCoy Trail System
The executive order requiring out-of-state travelers to self-quarantine is also currently scheduled to be lifted during Week 4. In accordance with this scheduled change, new guidance documents are available for hotels, motels, condo hotels, rental properties, and cabins.

In addition to the reopening of campgrounds at West Virginia state parks to in-state residents, some public restrooms will also be reopened with proper sanitization protocols in place.

Week 4 is now scheduled to commence next Thursday, May 21, 2020.

“West Virginians, you need to remain as focused as you possibly can,” Gov. Justice said. “I would caution everyone, as we’re reopening, to surely wear a mask when you’re indoors and to do everything you can possibly do to wash your hands and maintain social distancing.

“As long as you continue to do what you’ve already done, we’ll be okay,” Gov. Justice said.

Several additional types of businesses and entities will be permitted to reopen in the weeks ahead. The opening schedule will be based upon the recommendations of state medical experts and upon testing data available at that time.

View the latest COVID-19 data at Coronavirus.wv.gov

The Governor’s Office will announce when additional entities will be able to reopen and will provide the associated guidance documents as soon as possible.

ADDITIONAL REOPENINGS SCHEDULED
Gov. Justice announced that outdoor guided fishing will be permitted to resume this Friday, May 15, 2020, under strict limitations, including that the maximum capacity for any boat be no more than two anglers and one guide. Additional guidance documents are now available.

Also today, Gov. Justice announced that state park cabins and lodges will be permitted to reopen to in-state residents on Tuesday, May 26.

The Governor also announced that certain outdoor youth sports activities will be permitted to resume on Monday June 8. This applies only to low-contact sports like baseball and softball. It does not include high-contact sports like football and basketball. Additional guidance for these reopenings will be provided online when available.
WEEK 3 OF “THE COMEBACK” NOW UNDERWAY
During today’s briefing, Gov. Justice offered a reminder that the Week 3 phase of his reopening plan officially began today.

This phase allows for the reopening of wellness facilities (gyms and fitness centers supervised by licensed professionals) and drive-in movie theaters.

These wellness facilities and drive-in movie theaters must follow all additional guidelines that have been put in place to help keep West Virginians safe.

Businesses included in each phase of this reopening plan are not required to resume operations on any specific date. This plan provides the option for reopening, not a requirement.

The Governor’s Safer at Home order remains in effect this week as well.

GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES ADJUSTED SCHEDULE FOR “THE COMEBACK”
Today, Gov. Justice announced several adjustments to the projected reopening calendar for The Comeback plan. The current, tentative schedule is as follows:
Week 1 – Thursday, April 30 (underway)
Week 2 – Monday, May 4 (underway)
Week 3 – Monday, May 11 (underway)
Week 4 – Thursday, May 21
Week 5 – Tuesday, May 26
Week 6 – Monday, June 1
Week 7 – Monday, June 8
This schedule may be altered again if changes to the timeline are deemed necessary for the safety of West Virginians.
WHITEWATER RAFTING UPDATE
Gov. Justice also announced that progress is being made toward setting guidelines and scheduling a date for the reopening of whitewater rafting operations in West Virginia. However, the Governor says that these businesses must work with the medical community to establish a system that’s as safe as possible.

“I get it. I want this industry up and going,” Gov. Justice said. “But our health experts are really concerned about putting 25 or 30 people in a bus, taking them down the river and to the rafts, and, while they’re in the rafts, you’ve got eight people and a guide jammed in together. All of that really concerns our medical people.

“I have to defer to our medical people as our experts,” Gov. Justice continued. “I’ve asked the whitewater rafting people to work with them. As soon as we can get some kind of guidelines that everyone can live with and our medical experts feel are safe, we’ll move forward as quickly as we possibly can because I want it open for sure. But I don’t want it open if we’re going to grow the problem.”

GOVERNOR CELEBRATES CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS
Gov. Justice took time to thank all of the correctional officers across West Virginia today, in honor of the beginning National Correctional Officers Week.

“Think about the great work these people are doing in every aspect that they could possibly be doing,” Gov. Justice said. “I absolutely, sincerely, want to thank all of our correctional officers for all the great work they do every day.”

COVID-19 DATA UPDATE
Once again today, Gov. Justice provided an overview of statewide data on COVID-19, highlighting that West Virginia’s growth rate of positive tests dropped to 0.4 percent today.

The Governor also pointed out that the state cumulative rate of positive tests decreased, yet again, to 2.15 percent – the state’s lowest figure in that category since before the pandemic arrived in West Virginia.

“Your story, West Virginia, is totally remarkable and a blessing from God above in every way and a blessing from what you’ve been able to do, West Virginia,” Gov. Justice said. “Absolutely, you continue to make me so proud it’s unbelievable, to make the nation in awe of what you’ve done. But you just can’t drop the ball right now. Don’t get relaxed. Just hang tough.”

View the latest COVID-19 data at Coronavirus.wv.gov

WEST VIRGINIANS URGED TO PARTICIPATE IN CENSUS
Gov. Justice today asked all West Virginians to participate in the 2020 United States Census.

“Please remember the Census and help each other so that all of us will be counted,” Gov. Justice said.

Every West Virginian who does not respond to the Census represents a loss of $20,000 in federal funds over the next 10 years for the state and its local communities. The funds can go toward things like healthcare, education, infrastructure, school lunch programs, and more.

Be counted in minutes: 2020census.gov.

WEST VIRGINIA AIR NATIONAL GUARD TO HONOR COVID-19 HEALTHCARE, FIRST RESPONDERS WITH FLYOVER
The 167th Airlift Wing, located in Martinsburg, and 130th Airlift Wing, located in Charleston, will honor front line COVID-19 healthcare and first responders with a flyover of hospitals in the region on Wednesday, May 13, as part of the Department of the Air Force’s Operation American Resolve.

The 167th AW flyovers will begin at 10 a.m. with approximately five to 10 minutes between each location and will conclude by 11 a.m. The C-17 will circle each location once before flying on to the next location.

The 130th AW flyovers will begin at 11 a.m. with approximately five to 10 minutes between each location and will conclude by 1:30 p.m. The C-130 will circle each location once before flying on to the next location.

Additionally, in the last 24 hours, West Virginia Guardsmen and women assisted packing 1,423 box meals at the Mountaineer Food Bank and 360 family meal boxes at the Facing Hunger Food Bank in Huntington. Yesterday, 10 WVNG personnel assisted in packing and delivering meals at the Milton Food Bank. To date, in conjunction with our food bank partners, the WVNG has packaged and delivered more than 207,000 meals for vulnerable and food insecure West Virginians.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Click here to view all Executive Orders and other actions taken by Gov. Justice to combat the spread of COVID-19 in West Virginia.

For more information about COVID-19 prevention and more, call the State’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-887-4304 or visit Coronavirus.wv.gov.

May 10th Three additional cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Allegany County. Two of the latest cases are a staff member and a resident at Cumberland Healthcare Center. The third case is a male in his 20s who is not affiliated with the nursing home. He has not required hospitalization. The total number of cases in the county now stands at 146.

Garrett County Health Department has been notified of an additional confirmed case of COVID-19 in the county. This new positive case is an asymptomatic woman in her 80s who was recently released to home from a facility in Allegany County with a known COVID-19 outbreak.

In addition to the six positive COVID-19 cases, Garrett County has also received notification of 294 negative cases.

Of the six Garrett County residents who have been diagnosed with COVID-19:
• three are fully recovered
• one is over the infectious period and continues to recover at home
• two are isolating at home
• only one required hospitalization

“The two new positive cases this week should serve as a reminder to all of us that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from being over,” said Dr. Jennifer Corder, Deputy Health Officer for Garrett and Allegany County. “Although the Governor has begun to loosen a few restrictions, we need to be vigilant about continuing the measures and practices that have helped keep the numbers low in Garrett County.”
These measures include:
• Stay-at-home order
• Travel restriction except for essential travel
• Prohibition on social gatherings
• Guidance on maintaining social distancing
• Wear a cloth face covering when inside retail and food service locations
• Wash your hands frequently

Garrett County leaders will continue to follow Governor Hogan’s guidance in implementing his ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery’ plan to gradually and responsibly reopen Maryland’s economy while protecting the public’s health.

According to the Mineral County Health Department there are now 22 confirmed positive cases involving residents of Mineral County. We have notified the state of the difference in the numbers listed on the DHHR site (20) and they are looking into it.The following chart provides the testing numbers to date for Mineral County. Officials  continue to urge our community to follow guidance put forth by the CDC and the health department. The best practices to help slow the spread of the virus includes following social distancing, washing hands for at least 20 seconds and wearing a mask in public to protect yourself and everyone else. If symptoms develop (dry cough, fever, and/or shortness of breath) contact your healthcare provider for instructions.For more information on COVID-19, please visit our website at www.mineralcountyhealthdepartment.com. BE SAFE…from a distance.

According to the Grant County Public Information Officer Sandria Glassock Covid 19 Testing will begin today May 11th at the Pilgrim’s Pride Facility in Moorefield. The National Guard was deployed to assist with testing and will assist the Health Department with contact tracing.

West Virginia is still in a Safer At Home plan, Governor Justice recommends that everyone wear face coverings if in public, especially if you cannot social distance 6feet away from others. Always wash hands or sanitize frequently and it is recommended to telework if possible. Gatherings of more than 25 people are prohibited. Guidance for West Virginia businesses permitted to open in Week 3:

   Wellness centers operated by or with West Virginia Licensed Health Care providers, not gyms

    Drive-in movie theaters

Guidance for West Virginia businesses permitted to open in Week 4:

    Hatfield McCoy Trail system (effective Thursday, May 21st, 2020)

GMH COVID tests conducted 202 tests (including day care employees and pre-op screenings) 2 Grant County Positive (1 recovered) 6 positive from Hardy County and 1 Unable to Test (UTT). There are several test results pending. 1 Grant County resident that tested positive was tested at another facility.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) reports as of 5:00 p.m., on May 10, 2020, there have been 62,885 laboratory results received for COVID-19, with 1,362 positive, 61,523 negative and 54 deaths.These are considered official numbers reported to the state, which will in turn, be reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Delays may be experienced with the reporting of cases and deaths from the local health department to the state health department. CONFIRMED CASES PER COUNTY: Barbour (7), Berkeley (189), Boone (9), Braxton (2), Brooke (3), Cabell (52), Clay (2), Fayette (35), Gilmer (8), Grant (3), Greenbrier (8), Hampshire (9), Hancock (12), Hardy (16), Harrison (33), Jackson (136), Jefferson (88), Kanawha (183), Lewis (4), Lincoln (5), Logan (13), Marion (46), Marshall (22), Mason (13), McDowell (6), Mercer (11), Mineral (23), Mingo (2), Monongalia (114), Monroe (6), Morgan (16), Nicholas (8), Ohio (38), Pendleton (5), Pleasants (2), Pocahontas (2), Preston (14), Putnam (27), Raleigh (9), Randolph (5), Ritchie (1), Roane (8), Summers (1), Taylor (8), Tucker (4), Tyler (3), Upshur (5), Wayne (93), Wetzel (6), Wirt (3), Wood (43), Wyoming (1).As case surveillance continues at the local health department level, it may reveal that those tested in a certain county may not be a resident of that county, or even the state as an individual in question may have crossed the state border to be tested.  Please visit the dashboard at www.coronavirus.wv.gov for more information

Hampshire County has an additional positive case of COVID-19, bringing our total to 9. Contacts of the individual are currently being notified. So far in Hampshire County there have been 136 negative tests, 2 tests are pending, 6 have recovered and one resident has died.

As things start to re-open, it is as important as ever that you follow the recommendations:

– You are safer at home. Please limit your unnecessary travel.
-Maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet when around others.
-Wear a mask or cloth face covering when in public. This helps protect you and everyone else.
-Wash 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.
-Stay home when you are ill.

The Hardy County Health Department and Hardy County Office of Emergency Management have confirmed two additional positive cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Hardy County, bringing the total count to seventeen. The newly confirmed patients are in quarantine at home, and have been fully cooperative in following proper protocol to protect their neighbors and community. 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.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) received assurances from U.S. Attorney General (AG) William Barr that no more new out-of-state inmates will be transferred to FCI Gilmer or FCC Hazelton during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This morning I received confirmation from AG Barr that West Virginia facilities will no longer receive transfers of new out-of-state inmates. Many of these inmates were being transferred from COVID-19 hotspots across the country, putting the safety of our brave correctional officers and their families, citizens, and inmates at risk. I am pleased that AG Barr has heard our concerns and will be making changes that will help FCC Hazelton and FCI Gilmer slow the spread of COVID-19 in their facilities. I will continue to work with BOP officials, correctional officer representatives, and AG Barr to ensure this issue is managed correctly so no more West Virginians are put at risk.”

Senator Manchin’s efforts to halt these transfers are outlined below:

· On May 4, 2020 Senator Manchin calls BOP decision to transfer new out-of-state inmates to West Virginia reckless after first positive COVID-19 case confirmed at FCI Gilmer.
· On April 28, 2020, Senator Manchin raised concerns about the transfer of new out-of-state inmates to the FCC Hazelton and FCI Gilmer facilities in West Virginia on a call with U.S. Attorney General William Barr.
· On April 25, 2020, Senator Manchin urged U.S. Attorney General (AG) William Barr to immediately halt plans to send new out-of-state inmates from COVID-19 hotspot regions to FCC Hazelton and FCI Gilmer to quarantine.
· On April 25, 2020, Senator Manchin strongly opposed the transfer of new out-of-state prisoners to FCC Hazelton and FCI Gilmer to quarantine.

PA Governor Tom Wolf announced 13 Pennsylvania counties will move to the yellow phase of reopening at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, May 15. Those counties include Allegheny, Armstrong, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Indiana, Somerset, Washington and Westmoreland.

On May 1, the governor announced the 24 counties moving into the yellow phase of reopening beginning today. And, last evening, he and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine signed new orders – one for yellow phase reopening and one to extend the red phase counties’ stay-at-home order, which was set to expire last night, to June 4. The red phase stay-at-home order extension does not mean that other counties won’t move to the yellow phase in advance of June 4.

“The reopening plan prioritizes the health and welfare of Pennsylvanians by using a combination of factors to gauge how much movement a location can tolerate before the 2019 novel coronavirus becomes a threat,” Gov. Wolf said. “I’d like to emphasize that this plan is not a one-way route. We are closely monitoring the 24 counties in the yellow phase and will re-impose restrictions if danger arises.”

Gov. Wolf reminded residents and business owners that yellow means caution and that everyone needs to continue to be mindful of their actions and how they affect not only themselves, but their families, friends and community.

“Every contact between two people is a new link in the chain of potential transmission,” Wolf said. “And if the new case count begins to climb in one area, restrictions will need to be imposed to prevent local medical facilities from becoming overwhelmed. So, Pennsylvanians should continue to make good choices.”

Law enforcement remains focused on achieving voluntary compliance through education, but citations are possible for violators depending on the specific circumstances of an investigation.In addition to the possible criminal penalties levied by law enforcement, there may be additional licensing consequences for violators, in part, through complaints filed by employees on the Department of Health portal that allows any employee who feels their employer is not providing a safe work environment to fill out an online form.The Department of Health vets the complaints and investigates internally or sends the complaint to the appropriate state agency for investigation. For example, restaurant complaints are handled by the Department of Agriculture, which inspects those facilities; complaints about nursing homes are handled by the Department of Health, which inspects and licenses those facilities. Other involved agencies are the departments of State and Labor & Industry.

Concerns about a business reopening that may be in violation of stay-at-home or yellow phase orders should be made to local law enforcement non-emergency numbers or a local elected official.

Details: governor.pa.gov/plan-for-pennsylvania/

May 6th The Allegany County Health Department reports 14 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday as the county’s case tally climbs to 142. Among the new cases are six Cumberland Healthcare Center residents, six residents of Sterling Care Frostburg Village, and two Allegany County community members – a male in his 50s and a female in her 60s who are both recovering at home.

To date, 1,194 Allegany County residents have been tested for COVID-19, with 142 positive, 976 negative, and 76 tests pending.

From Grant County OES: WV Coronavirus Response Coordinator Clay Marsh says reopening for the week ahead are modest so the condition can be assessed after the first steps in easing restrictions. Wellness Centers that offer exercise therapy may reopen with restrictions, NOT gyms or recreation centers which will remain closed.

After 4 day care workers in Kanawha County had no symptoms tested postiive for COVID-19 Governor Justice ordered all day care, assisted living and residential staff be tested. Local Health Departments will coordinate testing with local testing centers. The Governor and Clay Marsh cautioned West Virginians that it is importance to continue social distancing and wear face coverings in public,

Locally Hardy County reported 3 new positive cases which brings their total to 12. One of those cases was reported after the State DHHR posted the 5pm total of 11. We expect those numbers to climb as the incubation period for those in contact is up to 14 days. Local health officials are contacting all those that have been exposed to be tested and self quarantine.

GMH COVID tests conducted 168 Tests (including Day Care employees, and pre-op screenings) 102 Negative 2 Grant County Positive (1 recovered) 1 positive from Hardy County 17 pending, and 1 Unable to Test (UTT).
3 tests conducted by other providers for Grant County residents have returned negative.

WV reported 56,085 tests 1,276 positive 50 deaths Cumulative positive rate 2.28%
Positive COVID19 cases reported to WVDHHR: Barbour 6, Berkeley 171, Boone 6, Braxton 2, Brook 3, Cabell 47, Clay 1, Fayette 27, Gilmer 3, Grant 3, Greenbrier 8, Hampshire 8, Hancock 11, Hardy 11, Harrison 32, Jackson 136, Jefferson 84, Kanawha 172, Lewis 4, Lincoln 3, Logan 15, Marion 46, Marshall 20, Mason 12, McDowell 6, Mercer 11, Mineral 20, Mingo 2, Monongalia 111, Monroe 6, Morgan 14, Nicholas 8, Ohio 34, Pendleton 5, Pleasants 2, Pocahontas 2, Preston 14, Putnam 27, Raleigh 9, Randolph 5, Ritchie 1, Roane 7, Summers 1, Taylor 9, Tyler 3, Tucker 4, Upshur 5, Wayne 92, Wetzel 3, Wirt 3, Wood 42, Wyoming 1.

If you have unexplained fever, cough, or shortness of breath or sudden loss of smell please do NOT leave your home, call Grant Memorial Hospital (304) 257 1026 and press 5 to speak to an ER nurse to help determine if testing is indicated depending on your risk factors.
If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify dispatch personnel that you may have been exposed or have symptoms of COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before emergency medical services arrive or immediately after they arrive.

Maryland continues preparations to begin Stage One of the ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery,’ Governor Larry Hogan today announced the resumption of elective medical procedures and the broadening of permitted outdoor activities under the state’s Stay at Home order. These directives have the unanimous support of the Maryland Coronavirus Recovery Team, including leading doctors and public health experts.

“I realize that these are only small steps, and that they may be of little comfort to those who are out of work and struggling,” said Governor Hogan. “But it is thanks to all of you and your incredible sacrifices that we are making great progress. We are indeed flattening the curve and we are preparing to launch our reopening plan in order to safely get people back to work, to safely get our small businesses back open again to get our economy back on track, so that Maryland, and our nation, can defeat this virus and come back stronger and better than ever.”

RESUMPTION OF ELECTIVE MEDICAL PROCEDURES: Governor Hogan has directed the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) to issue guidance that allows hospitals and licensed health care providers to resume elective and non-urgent medical procedures. Providers must exercise their independent professional judgment in determining what procedures are appropriate to perform, which appointments should occur, and which patients to see in light of widespread COVID-19 community transmission. All health care workers, patients, and others must be screened for COVID-19 symptoms, and physical distancing requirements must be strictly maintained in all settings where people must wait in order to minimize direct contact between individuals. Read the Maryland Department of Health’s order.

BROADENING OF PERMITTED OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES: Governor Hogan has amended his Stay at Home order to broaden the list of permitted outdoor activities to now include individual and small group sports such as golfing, tennis, and similar activities; outdoor fitness instruction; recreational fishing and hunting; recreational boating; and horseback riding. Closed functions at state parks will be reopened, including all state beaches for walking and exercise, as well as playgrounds. Local governments will have the flexibility to take similar actions at their discretion. It will remain critical, however, that Marylanders continue to follow public health guidance and practice physical distancing. These changes take effect tomorrow, Thursday, May 7, at 7:00 a.m.

SCHOOLS. State Superintendent Dr. Karen Salmon announced that following extensive discussions with the Maryland Department of Education (MSDE), the State Board of Education, MDH, and public health experts advising the governor, schools will be closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year. While online and distance learning opportunities will continue, the department will release ‘Maryland Together: Recovery Plan for Education,’ a comprehensive plan for long-term recovery. At this point, MSDE does not envision that the reopening of schools would be included in Stage One of the governor’s plan, however, different methods of returning to school could be included in both Stage Two and Three. Additional updates include:

Child care. MSDE has distributed $34 million in payments to over 3,700 child care providers serving children of essential personnel, and all payments are now up-to-date.
Meal program. Since the beginning of school closures in March, MSDE has served nearly 8 million meals at 715 sites to school-aged children in Maryland with the support of local food directors and the Maryland National Guard. To find a meal distribution site, please click here.
Graduation. Decisions regarding graduation will be made by each local school system superintendent. MSDE has been assured by each superintendent that they are collaborating with the local community to be certain that recognition is moving forward and that seniors will have the opportunity to be recognized for their exceptional accomplishments.
RECOVERY PLAN UPDATE. On Tuesday, Governor Hogan convened another call with the Maryland Coronavirus Recovery Team, which unanimously endorsed today’s actions. The governor also received reports from 15 industry-specific business advisory groups, including small businesses, along with churches and nonprofits. Each of these task forces has collaborated on proposed recommendations and guidelines to help determine how they can prepare to reopen in ways that can keep their employees, their customers, and members of their congregations safe. The state will continue to work very closely with these communities as they prepare for their phased, safe, and gradual reopenings.

REMDESIVIR. Governor Hogan announced that Gilead has donated 1,600 doses of remdesivir to the State of Maryland. This is the only drug proven in a clinical study to help treat COVID-19. These initial doses will be deployed to Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties, where there is the highest concentration of cases.

BLUE FLAME. Last week, Governor Hogan took action to cancel the state’s order of masks and ventilators from Blue Flame Medical, and referred the company to Attorney General Brian Frosh for investigation. It was reported today that the U.S. Department of Justice has launched a federal investigation into Blue Flame’s business dealings with multiple states, including California. “It is unconscionable that anyone would try to exploit this pandemic for profit or personal gain, which is exactly why we acted so swiftly to uncover Blue Flame’s potential wrongdoings,” said Governor Hogan.

BUILDING BLOCKS UPDATE. Governor Hogan provided Marylanders with an update on the four building blocks for ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery’:

Testing. Maryland has expanded testing capacity to cover outbreaks and hotspots, including universal testing for nursing home residents and staff and workers at Maryland’s two poultry processing plants. The state is also expanding testing for health care workers and first responders at local fire and EMS departments, and for health care workers at MDH, the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Corrections (DPSCS), and the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services (DJS).
Hospital Surge Capacity. The governor announced that the state has exceeded its original surge capacity goal of an additional 6,000 beds. Currently, 8,100 surge beds, including 2,400 ICU beds, are available across the state. The recently reopened Laurel Medical Center is adding a new wing and new rooms are being added at Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park.
PPE. The State of Maryland recently acquired 4.5 million KN95 masks, 600,000 N95 masks, 150,000 medical gowns, 1.1 million face shields, and 3.5 million surgical gloves. The week, Maryland launched the ‘Maryland Manufacturing Network Supplier Portal,’ an online platform that helps connect Maryland suppliers with buyers who are looking to source PPE and other critical supplies.
Contact Tracing. The State of Maryland recently executed a contract with the National Opinion Research Center (NORC), the nation’s oldest and largest university-based research firm, to quadruple the state’s disease investigation capability. Hiring is underway with more than 900 applicants across 20 of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions.

All of Governor Hogan’s emergency orders and proclamations are available here. Visit governor.maryland.gov/recovery to read the ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery.

Maryland Department of Labor Secretary Tiffany P. Robinson provided the following update:

“At Governor Hogan’s direction, we have taken every necessary step to improve the performance of the BEACON One-Stop unemployment insurance application in a matter of days. Claimants experienced zero to minimal wait times on the site on Sunday and Monday, despite the record volume of traffic.

“During the past two days, over 201,000 Marylanders have filed their weekly claim certifications. On Sunday alone, the site processed 141,000 weekly claim certifications, with claimants filing an average of 5,800 weekly certifications every hour. This is more than double the 65,000 weekly claim certifications that were processed last Sunday, April 26. We continue to enhance our capacity, and expect to build on thisprogress in the days ahead.

“As a result of our efforts, Maryland is now the only state that has a comprehensive system to allow all eligible claimants to apply online in one place. While piecemeal guidance from the federal administration continues to provide challenges to administering the new CARES Actprograms, we are working to alleviate any confusion for our customers.

“For instance, federal guidance has required states to capture additional information from claimants as they complete their weekly claim certification. Marylanders found these new required questions to be confusing, resulting in numerous claimants inactivating their eligibility for unemployment benefits.

“In response to the feedback we received from claimants, our department has implemented an automated solution to reactivate these claims and prevent benefit payments from being interrupted. Marylanders with a claim that became inactive last week can now login to their BEACON One-Stop account to file their weekly claim certification like normal. Those with a claim that became inactive this Sunday or Monday after filing their weekly claim certification will also have their claim automatically reactivated, but do not need to refile this week’s claim certification.

“As issues arise, we are working as quickly as we can to resolve them. Nothing is more important to us than ensuring that all eligible Marylanders receive the benefits they need and deserve as soon as possible.”

From MD Delegate McKay: Yesterday, the Western Maryland Delegation and the Boards of County Commissioners for Allegany, Garrett and Washington Counties sent a letter to Governor Larry Hogan urging him to adopt a regional approach to reopening Maryland.

“As you work to reopen Maryland, we encourage you to consider a regional approach, as infection and hospitalization rates differ greatly in the various areas of the State. As you are aware, Washington County separates the States of West Virginia and Pennsylvania by only 12 miles, and Allegany and Garrett Counties are in closer proximity to those State than they are to the metropolitan areas of Baltimore and Washington DC,” the letter states.

Due to the unfortunate circumstances that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed upon us, we regret to inform you that the 2020 10th Annual Thomas Cumberland Tri-State Wing-Off and Music Festival that was scheduled to take place on June 20th, 2020 will be cancelled and postponed until next year on June 19th, 2021. We feel as though, given the overall severity of large gatherings and following in accordance to the guidelines set by the State of Maryland, it is in the best interest of our patrons, entertainers, vendors and volunteers that the festival not proceed as scheduled this year. Your health and safety is our primary concern. Another factor that we have taken into consideration is the impact that this pandemic has had on our small business community. These are largely the businesses who make this festival a reality, through sponsorship funding they so generously donate, or vendors providing the delicious product that our attendees come from miles away to enjoy. We understand and sympathize with them as they face the financial hardship that this pandemic has created. All tickets, camping passes and canopy passes purchased to date will be fully refunded with no questions asked. If you do not receive a refund within the next 2 weeks (by May 20th), please email tristatewingoff@gmail.com and someone will see that it is taken care of immediately. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and we hope to see you all on June 19th, 2021.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s office is continuing its efforts to protect consumers during the coronavirus pandemic.The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline has received more than 850 inquiries on specific consumer issues related to COVID-19 since mid-March.“Our Consumer Protection Division remains active and ready to assist consumers year round, but our diligent staff is working with increased vigor now that COVID-19 has hit our state,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “I urge consumers with any issues, don’t hesitate to call our office if they see anything suspicious.”The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline – 1-800-368-8808 – remains open to assist with claims of price gouging, COVID-19 scams or other ways in which bad actors may try to take advantage of consumers during the pandemic. Written complaints can also be filed at www.wvago.gov.Among consumer inquires and reports are questions about price gouging, particularly on household goods and groceries. Other popular concerns have involved landlord-tenant issues, vacation or event cancellations and the continued payment for services not received, such as daycare and gymnasium memberships.More than 30 of those reports have led to varying degrees of action. That includes subpoenas and numerous letters to businesses whose conduct may have violated the state’s price gouging law or landlords whose eviction threats may have underplayed the need for a court order.

May 5th The Allegany County Health Department reports that the county’s tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases remains at 128 today. Additionally, no new deaths were reported from the virus.

For the first time in nearly one month Garrett County Health Department was notified of one additional confirmed case of COVID-19 in Garrett County. This new positive case is a person in her 20s who is employed at an Allegany County facility with a known outbreak, and she is isolating at home.

A total of 286 COVID-19 tests have been administered in Garrett County, with 249 negative results and 5 positive results for Garrett County residents.

The last positive case for Garrett County was announced on April 6th.

For the most current and accurate information about COVID-19, please refer to the following:
●​Health Department COVID-19 Dashboard: garretthealth.org/covid-19-information/. Local information as well as links to State and National resources.
●​Health Department Frequently Ask Questions Page: bit.ly/covid-19-answers
●​Garrett County COVID-19 Medical Hotline: 301-334-7698
●​Garrett County Government’s COVID-19 Page: garrettcounty.org/covid-19
●​The local Volunteer/Donation Portal: garretthealth.org/community

WV Gov. Jim Justice joined West Virginia health leaders and other officials today for his latest daily press briefing regarding the State’s COVID-19 response.
Week 2 of the Gov. Justice reopening plan – West Virginia Strong – The Comeback – is now underway. The Governor’s new “Safer At Home” order is also in effect.

GOV. JUSTICE PROVIDES UPDATE ON COVID-19 TESTING DATA
On Tuesday, Gov. Justice announced that the number of people who have recovered from COVID-19 in West Virginia now significantly exceeds the number of active cases in the state.

View the latest COVID-19 data at Coronavirus.wv.gov

The most recent testing data shows that a total of 667 West Virginians have now recovered from COVID-19, compared to 510 remaining active cases.

“We want the number of recovered cases to keep getting significantly higher and it is trending higher every day,” Gov. Justice said. “It’s really good stuff.”

Gov. Justice also highlighted that while West Virginia has tested a higher rate of its population than all of its surrounding states as well as the national average, West Virginia has experienced a lower rate of positive tests than all of its surrounding states as well as the national average.

The Governor also reported that West Virginia’s cumulative percentage of positive tests and its rate of infection (R0) both remain low as well.

“We should be unbelievably proud of these numbers,” Gov. Justice said. “You – our great West Virginians – have done incredible work. But we need to keep it up.”

NEW UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AVAILABLE TOMORROW
Additionally, Gov. Justice announced that West Virginians who have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits are eligible for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation – a 13-week extension on unemployment benefits provided by the federal CARES Act.

The additional weeks of benefits are available to individuals who have previously collected state and federal unemployment compensation but have exhausted those benefits.

Applicants may apply for the extension tomorrow at WorkForceWV.org.

“As you know, we were the first state that was able to provide the additional $600 on the benefits of the CARES Act,” Gov. Justice said. “Some states are way, way behind us and having a lot more problems than we had. We tried to jam all of those things in that bottleneck and we threw more and more workers at it. We were able to clear the deck and get it done.”

Gov. Justice also provided a reminder that WorkForce West Virginia will begin paying Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits this Friday, May 8.

These benefits are for individuals who normally aren’t eligible for regular unemployment compensation or extended benefits under state or federal law like self-employed workers.

GOV. JUSTICE EXTENDS FREE FISHING DAYS
Gov. Justice has announced that West Virginia residents can enjoy another month of free fishing.

The requirement to possess a fishing license to fish in state-regulated waters has been waived for state residents through May 31st.

Anglers are asked to continue practicing safe social distancing measures.

The DNR regular trout stockings will continue as set forth in the 2020 Fishing Regulations. With these regular stockings, thousands of golden rainbow trout are being stocked in streams and rivers throughout West Virginia. Anglers are encouraged to watch out for specially tagged Goldens.

Of the 50,000 golden trout stocked, 150 fish have specially marked, numbered tags. Anglers that reel in a catch with a numbered tag, may enter to win one of five grand prizes. Anglers may register their prize catch at goldrushwv.com.

GOVERNOR CLARIFIES NEXT ROUND OF BUSINESS REOPENINGS
Also today, the Governor provided extra clarification about what types of businesses are in line to reopen on Monday, May 11 as part of the Week 3 phase of “West Virginia Strong – The Comeback.”

“There are rumors that keep going around and circulating on social media about businesses that have supposedly been given special permission from my office to reopen. These are nothing but rumors. Don’t believe them at all,” Gov. Justice said. “My office does not give special permission to any businesses to open and all business reopenings will be announced by my office.”

NATIONAL TEACHER APPRECIATION WEEK CELEBRATED
Gov. Justice also acknowledged this week as National Teacher Appreciation Week.

“From my office and myself, and on behalf of all of those wonderful kids out there, we want to wish out our love and thanks to all of our great teachers that have done great work for us over the years,” Gov. Justice said. “We hate that you’re not in the classroom, but we know that you’re still trying to help our kids in every way with all the work that you’re still doing online.

“Thank you for the love that you’ve given our kids and the great work that you’ve done over and over.”

WEST VIRGINIANS URGED TO TAKE CENSUS
Once again today, Gov. Justice asked all West Virginians to participate in the 2020 United States Census.

“We’ve got to be counted,” Gov. Justice said. “Please help me. Call anyone and everyone and ask them to help too and let’s get a pyramid of people that are absolutely pushing all of us to get counted, because every person that’s counted in West Virginia will mean more federal dollars to us and allow us to do more things for West Virginians.”

Be counted in minutes: 2020census.gov.

CORONAVIRUS CZAR PROVIDES UPDATE
West Virginia Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh also made remarks today, explaining West Virginia’s cautious approach toward reopening the state and its economy.

“This week we have reduced the aggressiveness of some of the openings,” Dr. Marsh said. “We’re going to let things play out for a week or so. Certainly opening up health and rehab facilities supervised by health professionals is important…but we know it takes about 10 days to two weeks to see the initial impacts of some of the reopenings, the coming back together, and then it takes about two cycles of that to see the full extent.

“So we want to make sure we are giving enough time to see what is the real effect from a health and well-being standpoint for the first part of what we’re doing – still continuing to open up and to allow businesses to start to reopen the economy – but we want to make sure, with some of the bigger businesses, we give them the right guidance and support.”

DEPT OF EDUCATION CONTINUES TO ACCEPT ORGANIZATION PARTNERS TO FEED KIDS THROUGH THE SUMMER
The West Virginia Department of Education is continuing to seek partnerships with organizations across the state to help feed children during the summer months. Just as during the COVID-19 pandemic, when school is out during the summer months, community programs and organizations are vital to ensuring children in West Virginia are still receiving the nutrition they need, especially in low-income areas.

County boards of education, local government agencies, and other nonprofit organizations are encouraged to participate in the Summer Food Service Program, which ensures children (ages 18 and under) facing food insecurity continue to receive free, nutritious meals during the summer when they do not have access the School Breakfast or National School Lunch programs. Sponsors typically represent schools, churches, community centers, libraries, housing complexes, and summer camps.

WEST VIRGINIA NATIONAL GUARD UPDATE
Click here to read about the latest response efforts by the West Virginia National Guard

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Click here to view all Executive Orders and other actions taken by Gov. Justice to combat the spread of COVID-19 in West Virginia.

For more information about COVID-19 prevention and more, call the State’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-887-4304 or visit Coronavirus.wv.gov.

 Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) praised the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approval of West Virginia’s application for Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) cards which provide families with support to feed their children throughout the summer while children are not in school. On April 23, Senator Manchin sent a letter to USDA Secretary Perdue advocating for West Virginia’s application for this program.

“I am pleased the USDA approved West Virginia’s application for the P-EBT program which is great news for our students and their families. The P-EBT program will ensure that families of children who receive free or reduced price school meals during a traditional school year will be able to provide food for their children during the COVID-19 pandemic and during the summer. Over 200,000 students in West Virginia rely on the school system to receive meals. While our students are learning from home and not physically in the classroom, we must do everything possible to ensure those students have food to eat. I will continue to fight to ensure all West Virginia children have food to eat and a roof over their heads during this pandemic,” said Senator Manchin.

The Maryland congressional delegation, including U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger, John P. Sarbanes, Andy Harris, M.D., Anthony G. Brown, Jamie B. Raskin, and David Trone, wrote to Attorney General Barr urging him to take action to stop the spread of COVID-19 in federal correctional facilities in order to protect incarcerated individuals, federal employees, and the surrounding communities.

“We urge you to direct the Bureau of Prisons to take steps to ensure that federal correctional staff, including both prison guards and health staff, receive adequate supplies of PPE, regular testing, and health care support, including full pay if they become sick with the virus,” wrote the delegation. “We believe that correctional staff, including both guards and health staff, should now be treated as essential employees.  We also urge you to consider treating prison guards as federal law enforcement officers and provide them the same protections as first responders that are putting their lives on the line every day.”

The letter focuses on issues reported at the Federal Correctional Institute (FCI) Cumberland in Western Maryland, Chesapeake Detention Center (CDC) in Baltimore, and the Central Detention Facility and Correctional Treatment Facility in Washington, D.C.

“We were encouraged by your memorandum dated March 26, 2020, directing the Bureau to prioritize the use of its statutory authorities to grant home confinement for inmates seeking transfer in connection with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, particularly at-risk individuals incarcerated for nonviolent crimes and who pose a minimal risk of recidivism,” the letter continues. “These measures will go a long way in saving lives, and we encourage swift implementation of these new measures by the Department. Furthermore, we encourage your active participation in the coming discussions for the next COVID-19 legislative package.”

https://www.cardin.senate.gov/download/md-delegation-letter-to-doj-on-prisons

The federal Bureau of Prisons made the decision to make two federal prisons in West Virginia quarantine sites FCI Gilmer and FCI Hazelton are two of the BOP’s 10 sites nationwide. They receive new prisoners in the system for a 14-day quarantine until they are placed in the general population. The BOP sent 124 prisoners to Gilmer last week and one of them tested positive for COVID-19 Friday. The federal Bureau of Prisons has confirmed the inmate at the federal prison in Gilmer County that has tested positive for COVID-19 is one of the 124 inmates transferred to the prison last week.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin called the BOP’s decision “reckless” in a statement released Monday.

“This reckless decision on the part of BOP has endangered our hardworking correctional officers and their families, the entire community and the other inmates in the facility. I have asked BOP to conduct a thorough investigation and am awaiting the results of that investigation. I hope this will deter the BOP from transferring additional out-of-state inmates to West Virginia,” Manchin siad.

Meanwhile, U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Congressman David McKinley and state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey sent a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar calling top-of-the line testing equipment be provided to both Gilmer and Hazelton prisons.

They want point-of-care machines which turn around COVID-19 test results in a matter of minutes.

“If these machines are good enough for the Senate, then they are good enough for our heroes on the actual front lines of this crisis—including our correctional guards, nurses, and staff,” the three said.

Elected officials started to raise concerns with the BOP last week after hearing from union workers at the prisons. The BOP told MetroNews Monday the inmate who tested positive at Gilmer had been screened several times before, during and after the transfer.

WVU Potomac State College to Hold Virtual Commencement May 9, All Invited to EventWVU Potomac State College will conduct its 117th Commencement as a virtual ceremony that will be broadcast Saturday, May 9, at 11 a.m., at wvu-psc.stageclip.com.

All faculty, staff, students, alumni, friends of the College, and community-at-large are invited. Since the virtual ceremony will be a broadcast and not a video conference, there is no limit to the number of people who can view it and there is no login information required. The ceremony will be closed captioned.

Graduates were invited to provide a personal message and a photo/video clip to be used in a virtual procession as part of the online ceremony. This content will be shareable on social media following the ceremony. Graduates were also polled as to their interest in attending an in-person December 2020 or May 2021 Commencement ceremony.

May 4th The Allegany County Health Department reports that the county’s death toll from COVID-19 is now at 13. The latest victim to succumb to the virus was a female resident of Cumberland Healthcare Center.

To date, there have been 128 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Allegany County. Five new cases were reported since Saturday evening, including one resident of Sterling Frostburg Village and four community members. The community cases involve a male and female in their 60s, a male in his 70s, and a female in her 20s.

As of today, 1,038 Allegany County residents have undergone testing for COVID-19, with 128 positive, 884 negative, and 26 tests pending.

The Hardy County Health Department and Hardy County Office of Emergency Management have confirmed two additional positive cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Hardy County, bringing the total count to nine. One patient is in quarantine at home, and one is currently hospitalized. Both have been fully cooperative in following proper protocol to protect their neighbors and community. 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.

The Grant County Health Department confirms that we have been notified of a second Grant County Resident that has tested positive for COVID 19. The person is self-quarantined at home. After being informed of a positive test result, the Grant County Health Department personnel began an investigation. If you are a person who was identified as a contact, the Grant County Health Department will reach out to you to assess and give guidance and monitor for signs or symptoms of illness.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) reports as of 5:00 p.m., on May 4, 2020, there have been 54,075 laboratory results received for COVID-19, with 1,224 positive, 52,851 negative and 50 deaths.

These are considered official numbers reported to the state, which will in turn, be reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Delays may be experienced with the reporting of cases and deaths from the local health department to the state health department.

CONFIRMED CASES PER COUNTY: Barbour (5), Berkeley (166), Boone (6), Braxton (2), Brooke (3), Cabell (44), Fayette (16), Gilmer (3), Grant (3), Greenbrier (7), Hampshire (8), Hancock (11), Hardy (9), Harrison (31), Jackson (135), Jefferson (82), Kanawha (168), Lewis (4), Lincoln (2), Logan (13), Marion (46), Marshall (19), Mason (12), McDowell (6), Mercer (11), Mineral (18), Mingo (2), Monongalia (107), Monroe (5), Morgan (13), Nicholas (6), Ohio (33), Pendleton (3), Pleasants (2), Pocahontas (2), Preston (13), Putnam (29), Raleigh (10), Randolph (4), Ritchie (1), Roane (6), Summers (1), Taylor (7), Tucker (4), Tyler (3), Upshur (5), Wayne (90), Wetzel (3), Wirt (3), Wood (41), Wyoming (1).

As case surveillance continues at the local health department level, it may reveal that those tested in a certain county may not be a resident of that county, or even the state as an individual in question may have crossed the state border to be tested. Such is the case of Mineral, Raleigh, and Wood counties in this report.

The dashboard at www.coronavirus.wv.gov contains West Virginia-specific data and now includes outbreak information for West Virginia’s nursing homes.

MD Governor Larry Hogan today announced that the state will continue to expand its COVID-19 testing program by opening a new drive-thru site on Tuesday, May 5 at the Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program (VEIP) station in Hagerstown. The Hagerstown site will be the first state-run, drive-thru testing site in Western Maryland.

Last Wednesday, Governor Hogan announced an expanded testing strategy focused on high-priority outbreaks and clusters, including nursing homes, health care workers, and first responders, as well as community-based testing—including the expansion of drive-thru sites, and testing sites in Wicomico County and Caroline County to address poultry plant outbreaks.

“With the tests we recently acquired from South Korea, Maryland continues to implement an expanded testing strategy,” said Governor Hogan. “Drive-thru testing at Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program stations provides an easily accessible option for many citizens, and we now have the resources to continue to expand these sites throughout the state.”

With the addition of Hagerstown, there will be a total of eight VEIP testing sites operated by the Maryland Department of Health (MDH). The full list of drive-thru testing sites will include converted VEIP stations in Bel Air (Harford County), Columbia (Howard County), Glen Burnie (Anne Arundel County), Hagerstown (Washington County) Owings Mill (Baltimore County), Prince Frederick (Calvert County), Waldorf (Charles County), and White Oak (Montgomery County).

Tests will be offered on an appointment-only basis to Maryland residents who are symptomatic and at high risk for complications from COVID-19. Patients musthave a health care provider order and an appointment to take a test at a VEIP site.

In order to schedule a COVID-19 testing appointment at a VEIP site, individuals should first call a physician. Physicians will assist patients in ordering and scheduling a test using CRISP, the state’s health information exchange. Patients cannot order or schedule tests for themselves.

MDH operates VEIP testing sites in conjunction with the Maryland Department of Transportation, Maryland National Guard, Maryland State Police, local health departments, and private partners. There are also several additional, non-MDH testing sites throughout the state being operated by local governments and private organizations. In order to schedule a testing appointment at a non-MDH testing site, contact the site directly.

For information and resources regarding COVID-19, visit coronavirus.maryland.gov. Click on the “Testing” tab for further instruction on scheduling a test at a VEIP site or one of the other sites being operated throughout the state.

May 2nd Three people have died of complications from COVID-19, bringing the toll of lives lost to 12 in Allegany County. The latest fatalities included a female community member, a male resident at Cumberland Healthcare Center, and a female community member who had recently been released from CHC. All three individuals had underlying medical conditions.

Additionally, the Allegany County Health Department reports that one resident of Sterling Frostburg Village has tested positive for COVID-19. A staff member at that facility had previously tested positive for the virus.

COVID-19 case data for nursing homes is available at the state’s coronavirus resource page at coronavirus.maryland.gov. This information will be updated on Wednesdays between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m., according the Maryland Department of Health. However, the Allegany County Health Department will continue to provide updates day-to-day for the public.

Sunday the Maryland Health Department reports 25,462 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maryland.  This marks an increase of 989 cases since Saturday. Maryland has 1,182 deaths, 107,332 negative tests and 1,666 patients have been released from isolation.coronavirus.maryland.gov

The start of this Monday marks the start of Governor Jim Justice’s “Safer At Home” Order, the replacement for his Stay Home Order that expired overnight nearly six weeks after taking effect. In general, “Safer At Home” raises allowed group numbers to 25 and clears the way for reopenings of small businesses with fewer than ten employees, restaurants with outdoor dining, hair salons, nail salons and barbershops, pet grooming sites and religious locations beginning as soon as today. All have specific guidelines to follow for personal protection and sanitization.

According to Grant County officials the public is strongly encouraged to stay home unless performing an essential activity. Working from home is encourages for those who can and social distancing is still necessary as is wearing a face covering in public. According to Grant County Public Information Officer Nurse Sandra Glasscock those steps are especially important for our area as even though the cumulative percentage of postivie cases in WV is below 3% the Potomac Highlands is seeing a marked increase.

There is one positive case in Grant County There are eight cases in Hampshire, seven in Hardy, 18 in Mieral

The Pennsylvania Department of Health today confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., May 3, that there are 962 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 49,267. All 67 counties in Pennsylvania have cases of COVID-19. The department reported 26 new deaths, bringing the statewide total to 2,444 in Pennsylvania.

April 30th The Allegany County Health Department reports that the COVID-19 death toll has risen to eight. A woman who was a former resident of Allegany County and was living in a health care facility in another county has passed away. Of the county’s eight COVID-19 fatalities, four were residents of Cumberland Healthcare Center, two were Allegany County community members, and two were former Allegany County residents residing in health care facilities outside of the county.As of Thursday, the health department reports a total of 122 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Allegany County. 74 of those are residents and 18 are staff of Cumberland Healthcare Center. The remaining 30 are county residents who do not live or work at CHC.

Mineral County Health Department officials have confirmed the 16th and 17th COVID-19 cases

In response to the feedback we have received from Maryland’s unemployment insurance claimants, the questions on the BEACON One-Stop’s weekly claim certification page have been streamlined and clarified. You can see a preview of the new questions in the image below. Those who have used our old system will recognize that the number and type of questions have changed. In order to implement the CARES Act benefits, the U.S. Department of Labor required states to capture additional information from claimants through the weekly claim certification. The additional questions will help us administer benefits to individuals who would not traditionally be eligible for unemployment benefits.Since the launch of the BEACON One-Stop unemployment insurance application, over 245,000 accounts have been activated, over 100,000 new claims have been submitted, and over 273,000 weekly certifications have been filed.

Allegany County Transit (ACT) is striving to fulfill the essential travel needs of county residents during the coronavirus pandemic. ACT is operating a daytime demand response service to take residents to medical appointments, pharmacies, and grocery stores as well as to and from work.

Front-line individuals are responsible for operating the bus (and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces throughout the day). Behind the scene employees support the effort. Mechanics maintain, disinfect, and sanitize vehicles every evening, dispatchers schedule transportation via the telephone, and administrative staff members answer all customer questions and support the transit team.

ACT Supervisor Elizabeth Robison-Harper emphasized “ACT employees are admirably and capably serving Allegany County residents at this challenging time. These essential employees merit recognition and deserve appreciation. I genuinely respect them and sincerely thank them for their service during COVID-19. Every individual is taking great personal risk to work every day to provide ACT’s essential public transportation service.” Robison-Harper also noted that the daytime demand response service is being operated by approximately half of ACT’s 30 employees.

The daytime demand response service operates Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Call Alltrans at 301-724-1255 Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to speak with a dispatcher and request transportation. Individuals should call one business day (24 hours) in advance to request transportation. Same-day requests may not be able to be provided.

Allegany County Transit asks all riders to adhere to the directives of the Governor of Maryland and follow the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention related to COVID-19.

Allegany County Transit is proactive with safety. All ACT bus drivers have earned a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). Twice a year all ACT employees participate in an eight-hour training session. Safe driving tips for all-weather conditions, CPR recertification, loading/unloading/securement for riders in wheelchairs, emergency vehicle evacuation procedures, sanitation, customer service, and many other topics are included.Overall, in many ways, Allegany County Government is striving to meet the wide range of needs of our residents during this worldwide pandemic. NOTE: Individuals, who, on or before March 27, 2020, regularly used ACT’s fixed-route bus service to go to and from their place of work may request transportation for employment.

MD Governor Larry Hogan today directed the Maryland Secretary of State to lower the state flag to half-staff at noon today for victims of the COVID-19 pandemic. By the governor’s order, the flag will remain at half-staff on Friday for Fallen Heroes Day and Saturday for Healthcare Heroes Day, and will return to full-staff at sunset on Sunday, May 3.“Today, our state marks a solemn milestone—more than 1,000 Marylanders have lost their lives to COVID-19. I have ordered flags lowered to half-staff to commemorate their lives and to honor their memories. They will never be forgotten.

“Tomorrow, the flag will remain lowered for our annual observation of Fallen Heroes Day as we honor all those brave men and women of our police, firefighter, and first responder families who selflessly laid down their lives in service to others. As our state battles this deadly pandemic, our first responders have again risen to the challenge and answered the call to serve, just as they always do.

“I have also ordered the flag to remain lowered through the weekend as we celebrate the selfless and heroic efforts of our healthcare workers—the doctors, nurses, paramedics, and providers on the front lines who have been going on no sleep, not seeing their families, truly risking everything to care and provide for the sick and those in need. These men and women are as compassionate as they are fearless.

“This weekend, please join me in keeping our heroes and our fallen in your hearts, and let us continue to pray for each other, for our state, and for our nation as we face this crisis together.”

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito has been holding virtual town hall meetings with West Virginia’s across the mountain state. She recently held a town hall with residents of the Potomac Highlands region and she discusses their concerns throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic. To hear the interview click here https://soundcloud.com/…/shelley-moore-capito-april-30th-fo…

WV Gov. Jim Justice joined West Virginia health leaders and other officials today for his latest daily press briefing regarding the State’s COVID-19 response.
“SAFER AT HOME” ORDER
In light of West Virginia’s success at keeping the cumulative rate of positive COVID-19 tests under 3 percent and in concert with the Governor’s recently-announced plan to reopen the economy – Gov. Justice announced today that he will soon lift the “Stay At Home” order imposed statewide last month, replacing it with a “Safer At Home” order.

The new order goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, May 4.

MORE INFO: “Safer At Home” order | “West Virginia Strong – The Comeback”https://governor.wv.gov/Pages/The-Comeback.aspx

“‘Safer At Home’ still strongly encourages all West Virginians to stay at home when not performing essential tasks, but no longer mandates them to stay at home,” Gov. Justice said. “Our people have been knocking it out of the park, but we need to keep it that way. You should still stay home if you have any symptoms or have come in contact with someone who has the virus.”

During his daily media briefing Thursday, the Governor highlighted that the state’s percentage of positive COVID-19 tests has steadily dropped in recent days. The cumulative rate of positive tests has also decreased to 2.51 percent – far below all bordering states and the national average of over 17 percent.

View the latest COVID-19 testing data at Coronavirus.wv.gov

“You’ll remember that way back in the early days of March, I came to you and I said, ‘It’s not time to panic, it’s time to be cautious. It’s not time to be fearful, it’s time to be smart. It’s not time to be weak, it’s time to be West Virginia strong,’” Gov. Justice said.

“Just look what you’ve done,” Gov. Justice continued. “You have absolutely not panicked, you’ve been cautious. You’ve not been fearful, you’ve been smart. You’ve not been weak, you’ve been West Virginia strong.

“You’ve led the nation. I could not be more proud. Now let’s just keep it up.”

The Governor’s “Safer At Home” order provides additional new guidelines for individuals, businesses, public gatherings, and more.

The new order will be modified each week throughout the duration of “The Comeback” reopening plan.

“THE COMEBACK” UPDATE
Gov. Justice also issued a reminder that today marked the beginning of “Week 1” in his multi-phased plan to reopen businesses across West Virginia. In this phase, hospitals offering elective procedures, outpatient health care operations, and daycares are permitted to resume services, provided that they follow all necessary safety guidelines issued by the State.

The Governor also announced that, today, the Department of Health and Human Resources issued guidance on the testing of staff at daycare centers statewide.

The “Week 2” phase of reopenings are scheduled to begin this coming Monday, May 4. This includes small businesses with 10 or fewer employees, restaurants with takeaway service or outdoor dining options, religious entities and funeral homes, and professional service businesses such as hair salons, nail salons, barbershops, and pet grooming.

Click here to view additional safety guidelines and to read more about “The Comeback” plan

Several additional types of businesses will be permitted to reopen from Weeks 3-6. The opening schedule for these businesses will be based upon the recommendations of state medical experts and upon testing data available at that time.

Today, Gov. Justice announced that the list of businesses included in the “Week 3” phase of reopenings will be announced on Monday, May 4. These businesses would be scheduled to reopen on Monday, May 11.

HORSE RACING SCHEDULED TO RESUME WITHOUT SPECTATORS
Also today, the Governor announced that horse racing will be able to resume, without spectators, on Thursday, May 14.

“It takes a couple weeks of active training and conditioning before it’s safe for the horses,” Gov. Justice said. “They will be starting back very, very soon in preparation for us to have spectatorless horse racing.”

WEST VIRGINIANS URGED TO PARTICIPATE IN FOOD DRIVE
Additionally the Governor announced that the United Ways of West Virginia are holding a Country Roads Food Drive on Tuesday, May 5, to feed families in West Virginia during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I encourage you, if you would, to try to help, to try to call in to these people, and to try to do anything and everything you possibly can,” Gov. Justice said. “It’s great stuff when you see, over and over, West Virginians stepping up and doing all the good stuff that they do everyday.

“We’re trying, every way in the world, to feed our kids and our elderly and those that are maybe having a really tough time right now. West Virginians know that we absolutely, surely to goodness, have to take care of people that are really having a rough go.”

WEST VIRGINIANS REMINDED TO PARTICIPATE IN CENSUS
Yet again today, Gov. Justice encouraged all West Virginians to take the opportunity to complete the 2020 United States Census.

“Please, please, please call your neighbors, your in-laws, your outlaws, and everyone around you and absolutely make sure we get counted,” Gov. Justice said.

Every West Virginian who does not respond to the Census represents a loss of $20,000 in federal funds over the next ten years for the state and its local communities. The funds can go toward things like health care, education, infrastructure, school lunch programs, and more.

Respond in just minutes at 2020census.gov.

DHHR TO ISSUE ONE-TIME PAYMENT FOR EMERGENCY LOW INCOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE
Also on Thursday, the DHHR’s Bureau for Children and Families announced that it is issuing a one-time Emergency Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) supplemental payment of $100 to both LIEAP participants and heating source vendors to offset bulk fuel expenses from the current program year.

This one-time payment will take the place of Emergency LIEAP and should be received by the end of May. The payment will be automatic; an application or a termination notice will be not required.

NURSING HOME TESTING UPDATE
Additionally Thursday, DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch reported that testing has now been completed on 97 percent of all the nursing homes across West Virginia.

“We have only four facilities that have not been tested. Three of those are being tested today and one tomorrow to complete that effort,” Sec. Crouch said. “I will give a report, tomorrow, in terms of the results of that testing.”

WEST VIRGINIA TO OFFER FREE SAT SCHOOL DAY TO SENIORS THIS FALL
Officials with the West Virginia Department of Education announced Thursday that they have worked closely with College Board to establish an SAT School Day administration this fall for West Virginia students who will be seniors during the 2020-21 school year. This administration of the exam will provide seniors who would have taken the state-provided SAT School Day in spring 2020 as juniors with an opportunity to obtain SAT scores in time to be submitted for college admissions and to qualify for the state’s PROMISE Scholarship.

The primary test date for the fall state-provided SAT School Day will be September 23, but counties may choose a test date of October 14. Both school-day test dates are followed by a 10-day window to administer tests to students who require accommodations. A makeup date is set for October 28. In addition to the state school-day test dates, the WVDE has provided counties with other options, including establishing a test site and using vouchers for seniors to test on a Saturday national test date in the fall.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Click here to view all Executive Orders and other actions taken by Gov. Justice to combat the spread of COVID-19 in West Virginia.

For more information about COVID-19 prevention and more, call the State’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-887-4304 or visit Coronavirus.wv.gov.

April 29th COVID-19 cases in Allegany County are now at 122, with three new cases identified today. The new cases include two employees and one resident of Cumberland Healthcare Center. There are now a total of 74 residents at CHC that have tested positive.On Wednesday, Governor Hogan announced plans for universal testing of all residents and staff of nursing homes, regardless of the presence of symptoms of COVID-19. Nursing homes are also required to have every patient given a daily physical evaluation by a physician, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, or registered nurse.Testing counts in Allegany County as of Wednesday show a total of 912 residents tested, with 767 negative, 122 positive, and 23 still pending.

April 28th A sixth death from complications of COVID-19 has been recorded for Allegany County. The latest fatality was a male in his 50s who was not affiliated with a nursing home. The man was hospitalized and had underlying medical conditions. The Allegany County Health Department reports that cases of COVID-19 in the county have now reached 119. The latest confirmed positives include one employee at Cumberland Healthcare Center and an employee at a nursing home in Mineral County. Two additional community cases were also identified. Those involved two females, one in her 40s and one in her 30s who are not affiliated with any of the nursing home cases.

On Monday, Governor Larry Hogan directed the Maryland Department of Health to begin publishing statistics on the state’s coronavirus information page regarding cases in nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and other congregate living facilities. These data will include a list of facilities in the state with active cases of coronavirus and tabulate case counts and fatalities at each facility. The nursing home data are expected to be available at coronavirus.maryland.gov within the next few days and will be updated weekly.MD Governor Larry Hogan today announced an expanded testing strategy and aggressive new actions to address outbreaks of COVID-19 at poultry processing plants and nursing homes in Maryland. As Maryland continues to plan for the recovery phase, the state will target and isolate outbreaks and clusters of cases, redouble attention and resources on hotspot areas, and increase mitigation efforts to stop the spread of the virus in other areas of the state.

“We are no longer just playing defense—we are going on offense against this virus, attacking from every angle with everything we’ve got,” said Governor Hogan. “We are exponentially expanding our testing capacity, enabling us to attack the most acute outbreaks, clusters, and hotspots, including nursing homes, and to provide additional testing for our healthcare workers and first responders.”

Expanded Testing Strategy. Following the acquisition of 500,000 tests from South Korea and progress with increasing lab capacity and materials, Maryland is launching an expanded testing strategy focused on high-priority outbreaks and clusters, including nursing homes, health care workers, and first responders, as well as community-based testing in areas with higher concentrations of cases—including an expansion of drive-thru sites at Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program stations, and a new testing site at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium in Salisbury.

Poultry Processing Plants. Following a call with the White House, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, Delaware Governor John Carney, and 15 other governors, Governor Hogan announced that he has activated a multi-state, multi-agency operation to address outbreaks at Delmarva poultry processing plants. Currently, Maryland has 262 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 associated with poultry workers, which is why the case rate per hundred thousand in Wicomico County is among the highest in the state, nearly equal to Baltimore City and higher than Baltimore County.

The state has dispatched epidemiologists to the affected areas to focus on testing support, contact tracing, occupational health, communications and outreach. In order to enhance testing capability, Wicomico County will open a testing site at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium in Salisbury, specifically to test workers at the Perdue plant in Salisbury and the Amick processing plant in Hurlock. The state has deployed a Maryland Incident Management Team to support this operation, and there will be a FEMA liaison and CDC team on the ground to provide assistance.

New Actions on Nursing Homes. Outbreaks at Maryland nursing homes currently account for 19% of the state’s total positive cases and 46% of the state’s COVID-19 deaths. Governor Hogan announced the appointment of Col. Eric Allely, the State Surgeon of the Maryland National Guard, to serve as an Emergency Safety and Compliance Officer for nursing homes to ensure that these facilities are complying with state law and safety protocols.

Governor Hogan and the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) also issued new directives to protect residents and staff at nursing homes, including:

Universal testing of all residents and staff at all Maryland nursing homes, regardless of whether they are symptomatic. Nursing homes will be prioritized based on an imminent outbreak or a current rising threat risk, and any staff who test positive will be immediately discharged into isolation.

Mandatory compliance and cooperation with state strike teams.

Daily evaluation of residents by a physician, nurse practitioner, physician’s assistant, or registered nurse.

The development of surge staffing plans to ensure continuity of care in the event of an outbreak. To aid in this effort, the state is supplementing strike teams with new bridge teams, which will provide emergency clinical staffing to nursing homes that are experiencing a staffing crisis.

Each bridge team is composed of a registered nurse and 5-7 aides, sufficient to care for up to 100 skilled nursing home residents per shift.

Maryland bridge teams include 260 registered nurses and aides who are currently under contract with MDH through an arrangement with Allegis and the Maryland Hospital Association.

Regular informational updates for residents, resident representatives, and staff regarding COVID-19 infections.
Update on Unemployment Website. Governor Hogan provided an update on the Maryland Department of Labor’s new unemployment website. Since its launch on Friday, more than 245,000 accounts have been activated and over 100,000 new claims have been filed. The website is now successfully activating an average of 33 accounts every minute, and an average of 780 claims are being successfully filed per hour.

Healthcare Heroes Day. To honor doctors, nurses, medical workers, and first responders, Governor Hogan is designating Saturday, May 2 as Healthcare Heroes Day in Maryland. This will coincide with a flyover of the Navy’s Blue Angels and the Air Force’s Thunderbirds, and buildings across the state, including the State House Dome, Camden Yards, and M&T Bank Stadium, will be lit up blue.

All of Governor Hogan’s emergency orders and proclamations are available here. Visit governor.maryland.gov/recovery to read the ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery.’

The full Maryland congressional delegation, including U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger, John P. Sarbanes, Andy Harris, M.D., Anthony G. Brown, Jamie B. Raskin and David Trone, today announced approval by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) of Maryland’s plan to provide new Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) assistance to all Maryland children who would receive free or reduced-price lunches if not for school closures. The Maryland Department of Human Services estimates that approximately 427,000 children will benefit from the program for a combined value of over $49 million in estimated assistance. Maryland is one of 12 states whose plans have already been approved.

“Maryland students have lost primary access to healthy and nutritious food provided by their schools at the same time as food insecurity has spiked as a result of the pandemic,” said the delegation. “The state plan approved today will allow families to directly purchase food to feed their children, supplementing the free emergency meals being distributed by Maryland public schools. As a delegation, we are committed to working together to ensure that this and other forms of relief created through the Families First Coronavirus Response and CARES Acts make their way to Maryland families as swiftly as possible.”

This funding comes as a result of bills passed by Congress to address the pandemic. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided $8.8 billion in additional funding for Child Nutrition Programs in order to ensure children receive meals while school is not in session. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act created temporary new authority and broad flexibility for the USDA and states to adapt the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to respond to the current public health emergency.

Since the temporary school closures began on March 16th, Maryland schools and agencies have been providing free emergency meals to children 18 years and younger. Emergency meals are made available as part of the federal Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), which provides reimbursements to sponsors for meals served in the summer months as well as during times of emergency school closures. As of April 25th, Maryland local school systems have served more than 6.4 million meals across 698 meal sites. Locations of Maryland Meals Sites in your community can be found here. https://mars.msde.maryland.gov/mars_sitesearch/

Like regular SNAP benefits, P-EBT benefits will be issued via EBT card to households of children who would have received free or reduced price meals under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act if not for school closures. Monthly assistance will be calculated based on the daily rate of $5.70 per child for each day that the child’s school was closed in a particular month.

In addition to today’s announcement, last week, USDA approved Maryland’s request to issue SNAP emergency allotments to all current SNAP households for the months of April and May 2020. All current SNAP households will receive the maximum allotted SNAP benefit according to the household size regardless of income. For more information about how Maryland SNAP is continuing to serve residents at this time and to apply for assistance, please reference the Maryland Department of Human Services’ website. http://dhs.maryland.gov/food-supplement-program/

The Allegany County Health Department reports that cases of COVID-19 in Allegany County have climbed to 115. The latest confirmed positives include one employee and also two family members of a second employee at a nursing home with previously identified cases.Two additional cases include a female in her teens and a female in her 50s. These cases are community acquired and not connected to the nursing home outbreak. As of today, a total of 867 Allegany County residents have been tested for COVID-19. Of those, 712 were negative, 115 positive, and 40 are still pending.

According to the MD DPSCS there is one case of COVID-19 which is an officer  and NBCI and 2 cases at WCI

MD Governor Larry Hogan today directed the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) to take the necessary steps to publish data related to COVID-19 cases and fatalities associated with nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other facilities providing congregate living for residents.This week, the state’s coronavirus resource page, coronavirus.maryland.gov, will begin displaying available data for individual facilities, including cases and fatalities.“As we plan our recovery, we are taking additional steps to protect our most vulnerable citizens, including older Maryanders,” said Governor Hogan. “Keeping Marylanders informed and being transparent with the facts continues to be at the heart of our response to COVID-19. We are grateful to the staff in our nursing homes working around the clock to save lives.”This is the latest in a series of steps Governor Hogan has taken to address COVID-19 cases in nursing homes. On March 10, just a few days after declaring a state of emergency, Governor Hogan met with leaders of the long-term care community to field their concerns and affirm the administration’s commitment to the wellbeing of Maryland’s seniors. That same day, MDH issued strong guidance to long-term and continuing care facilities to restrict visitation and begin implementing infection control protocols. On April 5, Governor Hogan announced a new wave of safety measures, directing expedited testing for symptomatic residents, personal protective equipment for staff, and the creation of separate observation areas for COVID-19 patients. On April 7, Governor Hogan announced first-in-the-nation, statewide strike teams to support facilities with testing, infection control protocols, and on-site medical triage. The teams are comprised of members of the Maryland National Guard, representatives of local and state health departments, and EMS clinicians, as well as doctors and nurses from local hospital systems. For COVID-19 resources, including case counts and clinician guidance, visit coronavirus.maryland.gov.

From AC DES: Marylanders continue to navigate and rise above the challenges that COVID-19 has put in front of us. It is my personal mission and the mission of the Department of Emergency Services to remain transparent during this crisis. My agency has fielded many questions regarding which long-term care facilities have positive COVID-19 patients. In a press release on Monday, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan directed the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) to take the necessary steps to publish data related to COVID-19 cases and fatalities associated with nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other facilities providing congregate living for residents.

“As we plan our recovery, we are taking additional steps to protect our most vulnerable citizens, including older Marylanders,” Governor Larry Hogan said. “Keeping Marylanders informed and being transparent with the facts continues to be at the heart of our response to COVID-19. We are grateful to the staff in our nursing homes working around the clock to saves lives.”I echo Governor Hogan’s statements and want to ensure the citizens of Allegany County know they can check the status of local facilities at the states corona virus resource page, coronavirus.maryland.gov. We will continue to keep the citizens informed as the direction is updated from state and county officials.Respectfully,
Director James Pyles
Department of Emergency Service

The Mineral County Health Department has confirmed a 15th case of COVID-19

WV Gov. Jim Justice unveiled his comprehensive plan to reopen various aspects of the state and its economy, putting West Virginia on the road to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
WEST VIRGINIA STRONG – THE COMEBACK
The plan is called “West Virginia Strong – The Comeback” and allows businesses in certain sectors to reopen in phases over the next six weeks if the rate of positive COVID-19 cases in the state remains low.

“We’ve come up with a methodology that we think will move us forward, with science and math behind it, and experts behind it, and leadership behind it, we’re absolutely moving in the right way,” Gov. Justice said. “We’re going to monitor and watch every day and we’re going to take small steps and we will see where we are.

“If we’ve got to stop, or slow, or back up, then that’s what we’re going to do. You’ve done good work so far, West Virginia, and now we’re going to have to move forward. We cannot sit still forever because too many bad things will happen.”

Opening Criteria
If the statewide cumulative percent of positive test results (available at Coronavirus.wv.gov) remains below 3% from today, Monday, April 27 through Wednesday, April 29, the six-week reopening process will begin.

View all data on Coronavirus.wv.gov
The Week 1 phase of reopenings will begin on Thursday, April 30. From there, each phase of the reopening process for Weeks 2-6 will begin on Monday of each subsequent week. Case numbers will continue to be monitored throughout the entire reopening process.

Reopening is a Choice, Not a Requirement
Businesses included in each phase of this reopening plan are not required to resume operations on any specific date. This plan provides the option for reopening, not a requirement.

If you are looking for a way to support local healthcare workers the WMHS Foundation has set up the Healthcare Heroes Fund. Foundation Director Karen Johnson says through the program they will be able to provide $100 worth of groceries to the families of UPMC Western Maryland. Johnson says this program is a way to say thank you to the healthcare professionals in our region. To donate log on to  https://www.wmhs.com/foundation/donate-now/ To hear the interview click here https://soundcloud.com/amanda-mangan/wmhs-foundation-director-karen-johnson-healthcare-heroes-for-pht

April 27th The Allegany County Health Department has reported that two male patients and a female patient at a Cumberland Health Care Center nursing home have died over the weekend of complications from COVID-19. The patients were residents at a nursing home with known cases of coronavirus disease. Both had underlying medical conditions. Three additional cases of COVID-19 were identified over the weekend, bringing Allegany County’s total to 113.Many of the cases are all affiliated with the known outbreak at a Cumberland nursing home and include 14 residents and one staff member. A total of 73 residents at the Cumberland HealthCare Center facility have tested positive for COVID-19.

A Mineral County resident employed at a second Allegany County nursing home has tested positive for COVID-19. As of Friday, a total of 809 Allegany County residents have been tested for COVID-19. Of those, 649 were negative, 110 tested positive, and 50 tests are still pending.The Mineral County Health Department has received notification of the 13th and 14th confirmed case of COVID-19. The 14th confirmed case is employed in Allegany County and a joint investigation is ongoing with the Allegany County Health Department. The Mineral County Health Department confirmed an employee at the Dawnview Center nursing home in Fort Ashy tested positive. The employee is a resident of Allegany County.

The Maryland Department of Health reports 18,581 confirmed cases of #COVID19 in Maryland. This marks an increase of 815 cases since yesterday. Maryland has 827 deaths, 78,084 negative tests and 1,177 patients have been released from isolation. http://coronavirus.maryland.gov

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) reports as of 5:00 p.m., on April 26, 2020, there have been 39,184 laboratory results received for COVID-19, with 1,053 positive, 38,131 negative and 34 deaths. The increase in the number of lab reports today is due to the onboarding of electronic lab reporting from a large number of facilities and the receipt of historical negative lab results from those facilities.

These are considered official numbers reported to the state, which will in turn, be reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Medical providers and laboratories are required to report positive test results to DHHR.

Delays may be experienced with the reporting of cases and deaths from the local health department to the state health department. It’s not uncommon for the local level to report case numbers first and then officially report it to the state.

CONFIRMED CASES PER COUNTY: Barbour (4), Berkeley (131), Boone (2), Braxton (2), Brooke (4), Cabell (40), Fayette (9), Gilmer (2), Grant (1), Greenbrier (3), Hampshire (7), Hancock (8), Hardy (3), Harrison (30), Jackson (127), Jefferson (71), Kanawha (153), Lewis (3), Lincoln (1), Logan (12), Marion (45), Marshall (11), Mason (11), McDowell (6), Mercer (9), Mineral (15), Mingo (2), Monongalia (101), Monroe (5), Morgan (9), Nicholas (6), Ohio (26), Pendleton (3), Pleasants (2), Preston (13), Putnam (18), Raleigh (8), Randolph (4), Roane (4), Summers (1), Taylor (6), Tucker (4), Tyler (3), Upshur (4), Wayne (82), Wetzel (3), Wirt (3), Wood (35), Wyoming (1).As case surveillance continues at the local health department level, it may reveal that those tested in a certain county may not be a resident of that county, or even the state as an individual in question may have crossed the state border to be tested. Such is the case of Calhoun and Lewis counties in this report.A dashboard is available at www.coronavirus.wv.gov with West Virginia-specific data, including information on the health status of COVID-19 positive patients.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health today confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., April 26, that there are 1,116 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 41,165. All 67 counties in Pennsylvania have cases of COVID-19.Today, the state is reporting 1,550 deaths in Pennsylvania. County-specific information and a statewide map are available here. All people are either in isolation at home or being treated at the hospital.“As we see the number of new COVID-19 cases continuously change across the state that does not mean we can stop practicing social distancing,” Sec. of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “We must continue to stay home to protect ourselves, our families and our community. If you must go out, please make as few trips as possible and wear a mask to protect not only yourself, but others. We need all Pennsylvanians to continue to heed these efforts to protect our vulnerable Pennsylvanians, our health care workers and frontline responders.”There are 157,428 patients who have tested negative to date. Of the patients who have tested positive to date the age breakdown is as follows:

Nearly 1% are aged 0-4;
Nearly 1% are aged 5-12;
1% are aged 13-18;
Nearly 6% are aged 19-24;
Nearly 38% are aged 25-49;
Nearly 27% are aged 50-64; and
Nearly 26% are aged 65 or older.
Most of the patients hospitalized are aged 65 or older, and most of the deaths have occurred in patients 65 or older. There have been no pediatric deaths to date. More data is available here https://www.health.pa.gov/…/di…/coronavirus/Pages/Cases.aspx

In nursing and personal care homes, there are 6,813 resident cases of COVID-19, and 822 cases among employees, for a total of 7,635 at 431 distinct facilities in 40 counties. Out of our total deaths, 952 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities. A county breakdown can be found here.All non-life-sustaining businesses are ordered to be closed and schools are closed statewide through the remainder of the academic year. Currently the entire state is under a stay-at-home order.

Statewide – The Wolf Administration has since noon, April 25:

Elaborated on data-driven reopening standard.
For the latest information for individuals, families, businesses and schools, visit “Responding to COVID-19” on pa.gov.

The Wolf Administration stresses the role Pennsylvanians play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
Clean surfaces frequently.
Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell.
If you must go out for a life-sustaining reason, please wear a mask. Residents can sign up online at www.ready.pa.gov/BeInformed/Signup-For-Alerts

The full Maryland congressional delegation, including U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger, John P. Sarbanes, Andy Harris, M.D., Anthony G. Brown, Jamie B. Raskin and David Trone,today announced $207,834,058 for Maryland school districts through the U.S. Department of Education Elementary and Secondary School Education Relief Fund (ESSER). The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act created this fund to allow school districts to pay for the costs of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, including planning and coordination of long-term school closures and purchasing educational technology to support online learning for all students. Schools throughout Maryland have been closed since March 16th and will operate through online learning through at least May 15th. “Providing a high-quality education to all Maryland students is one of the most pressing long-term challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said the delegation. “These funds are urgently needed and must make their way to districts throughout Maryland as swiftly as possible. We have all spoken with local superintendents and school boards throughout our state and each of them have highlighted the significant need for this federal funding to provide educational technology and internet access to low-income students.” Recent reporting indicates that tens of thousands of Maryland public school students – up to 25 percent in some school districts – have not signed on to the internet to do lessons or picked up a packet of papers to complete coursework since schools closed.State education agencies (SEAs) must allocate 90 percent of these funds to local education agencies (LEAs) in proportion to the amount of FY 2019 funds the LEA received under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Up to 10 percent of the SEA’s award may be retained for the state agency to use to address needs related to the pandemic. The CARES Act allocated a nationwide total of $30.75 billion in emergency education funding through its Education Stabilization Fund. The delegation previously announced more than $170 million for Maryland’s institutions of higher education through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund and more than $45 million for the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund. The delegation has previously announced funding for Maryland through the CARES Act including $1.6 million to create temporary disaster relief jobs, $45 million for child care centers, $45 million for the Governor’s emergency education relief fund, $170 million for Maryland’s institutions of higher education, $107 million for airports, $742 million for hospitals and health care providers, $15.6 million for community health centers and $48 million to Maryland local government jurisdictions.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) today urged U.S. Attorney General (AG) William Barr to immediately halt plans to send new out-of-state inmates from COVID-19 hotspot regions to FCC Hazelton and FCI Gilmer to quarantine. This decision puts West Virginia’s already vulnerable population, our correctional officers and their families at a greater risk of exposure to COVID-19.

The Senator said in part, “Instead, I respectfully request you consider helping West Virginia during this challenging time by utilizing the excess capacity at FCC Hazelton and FCI Gilmer to support efforts already underway to relieve the overcrowding in our state jails and waive the cost of housing those state inmates for the duration of the pandemic. This act of compassion by DOJ and BOP would greatly benefit the people of West Virginia while we continue to fight this terrible virus. By working as a partner with the state to better utilize the excess capacity in these facilities we can join together on a solution to enhance physical distancing in our state jails and slow the spread of COVID-19 in West Virginia. Again, I implore you to cease the movement of these new out-of-state inmates to West Virginia and work with the state to bolster ongoing efforts to protect the public, our correctional officers, and the current inmate population.”

The letter can be read in full below or viewed here.

Dear Attorney General Barr:

I write to request your urgent intervention to immediately halt plans by the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to send new out-of-state inmates from COVID-19 hotspot regions of the country to quarantine at two institutions in West Virginia: FCC Hazelton and FCI Gilmer. The move of new out-of-state inmates puts our already vulnerable population, and our correctional officers and their families in West Virginia, at a greater risk of exposure to COVID-19.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, West Virginia is home to the highest-risk population in the country for COVID-19, and West Virginians have buckled down and closely followed public health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 here in the Mountain State. I am aware of the BOP’s efforts to implement an aggressive action plan to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 throughout their facilities nationwide, but transporting new out-of-state inmates, even those who may be asymptomatic for COVID-19, from hotspot regions of the country to West Virginia significantly increases the risk of transmitting the virus across state lines. While I understand statutory obligations facing the BOP to accept newly admitted inmates from the United States Marshals Service, I believe it is imperative that Department of Justice (DOJ) and the BOP consider the potential health risks associated with moving new out-of-state inmates in to the BOP’s facilities in West Virginia during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead, I respectfully request you consider helping West Virginia during this challenging time by utilizing the excess capacity at FCC Hazelton and FCI Gilmer to support efforts already underway to relieve the overcrowding in our state jails and waive the cost of housing those state inmates for the duration of the pandemic. This act of compassion by DOJ and BOP would greatly benefit the people of West Virginia while we continue to fight this terrible virus. By working as a partner with the state to better utilize the excess capacity in these facilities we can join together on a solution to enhance physical distancing in our state jails and slow the spread of COVID-19 in West Virginia. 

Again, I implore you to cease the movement of these new out-of-state inmates to West Virginia and work with the state to bolster ongoing efforts to protect the public, our correctional officers, and the current inmate population.

During this time of a global pandemic, we must take every precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19. That vigilance is especially necessary in our correctional system, where the brave men and women who operate these facilities work in close proximity with our prison populations and then go home to their families. I look forward to your response and remain committed to working with you and the leadership at BOP to keep the citizens of West Virginia, our correctional officers, and inmates safe as we fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

 U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) today released the following statement in light of the proposals from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to transfer inmates into two West Virginia facilities as quarantine sites:

“The impact of this pandemic continues to show no boundaries and it has hit our judicial system as well. While I strongly oppose the release of prisoners from their sentences and understand the need for transfers within the system, I have become increasingly concerned for the health and safety of the men and women at FCI Hazelton and FCI Gilmer as well as their families and surrounding community. We have been extremely fortunate that we have not had a coronavirus outbreak in either of these facilities, and we cannot risk one now. I respect the analysis by the BOP, but too many brave West Virginians who work long hours in an already dangerous environment have expressed their concern about this potential transfer. As such, I am asking the BOP to heed the call to halt these transfers on behalf of the health and safety of these West Virginians as we continue to fight this pandemic.”

BACKGROUND:

Senator Capito has strongly opposed releasing violent criminals. On Thursday, she sent a letter with her Republican colleagues to Attorney General Bill Barr about this.

April 23rd The Allegany County Health Department has reported 13 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Allegany County, bringing the total to 95. All of the new cases are residents at the Cumberland nursing facility with previously reported cases. Samples have been taken from all of the residents of the facility. Some results are still pending.

WV Gov. Jim Justice joined West Virginia health leaders and other officials today for his latest daily press briefing regarding the State’s COVID-19 response.
BACKLOG OF UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS CLEARED
During his remarks today, Gov. Justice announced that staff from Workforce West Virginia, with assistance from members of the West Virginia National Guard, have successfully cleared the massive backlog of unemployment claims that had been submitted over the past several weeks as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 150,000 unemployment claims have been filed since March 1 this year. For perspective, in a typical year, WorkForce West Virginia receives an average of approximately 3,400 claims in the month of March.

“I can’t say enough for how we’ve pounded a massive round peg into a square hole in West Virginia and been able to punch out all these claims,” Gov. Justice said. “I hate like crazy that they didn’t all come out on day one. But all the people that were sitting at home worried, I hope there’s real-live relief coming your way and that all your dollars are going to be backfilled and taken care of.

“Now, there are some claims that need some manual work because the claimant has listed an incorrect business address or other type of personal information that we need to get straight. But WorkForce is dealing with these individuals and calling them and helping them on a personal basis.”

Once again, Gov. Justice also discussed Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), an option for additional assistance benefitting workers who would otherwise not be eligible for unemployment compensation. This includes self-employed workers, independent contractors, workers with insufficient work histories, gig workers, ride sharing drivers, and more.

The Governor reminded qualified workers that applications for PUA will open on Friday, April 24, 2020, at 10 p.m. Applications will be available online at WorkForceWV.org.

PROGRESS CONTINUES TESTING ALL NURSING HOME RESIDENTS AND STAFF
Gov. Justice also announced that the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and West Virginia National Guard continue to work around the clock to test all nursing home residents and staff members statewide for COVID-19.

Visit Coronavirus.wv.gov to view the most up-to-date COVID-19 testing numbers

This week, West Virginia became the first state in the nation to begin a full-scale nursing home testing program. Today, Gov. Justice announced that he expects all testing to be complete by the middle of next week.

“They’ve done amazing work in testing the nursing homes and they are proceeding ahead very, very quickly,” Gov. Justice said. “It’s a monumental task if you think about it. We had tested 22,000 people in 40 days and now we’re going out and testing 28,000 people in a very, very concise period.

“And we’re getting better results than what I’d feared,” Gov. Justice said. “And this program, with West Virginia being first in the nation to do it, you see, if you watch the national news, the CDC and everybody’s coming out and saying we should be doing this on a national basis.”

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE SUPPORTING SMALL BUSINESSES
Gov. Justice also recognized the work of the West Virginia Department of Commerce, specifically the West Virginia Small Business Development Center, helping to support small businesses across the state during the ongoing Stay At Home order.

“We have assisted with 2,000 businesses in the state of West Virginia, as far as helping them and guiding them through the wickets,” Gov. Justice said. “There’s all kinds of stuff that we have up on our website to help small businesses and, I think, very soon, we’re going to have another tranche of federal money that’s opening up to cover the small businesses that were missed on the first go-around.”
MASK-MAKING EFFORTS CONTINUE
Additionally, the Governor recognized the West Virginia National Guard and members of the public for their efforts to produce masks to protect people from COVID-19.

“I’ve highlighted the great work the National Guard has done on this,” Gov. Justice said. “But there’s been lots of individuals, lots of you helping out just as good West Virginians, making masks, donating food, donating your time.

“It’s the true mountaineer spirit. I just love you. Keep doing the great work you’re doing.”

ROADS TO PROSPERITY UPDATE
During his remarks, the Governor also provided an update on the Roads to Prosperity program and the statewide secondary road maintenance initiative. Work by the Department of Transportation has continued through the pandemic, with appropriate safety precautions in place.

The Governor announced today that bids have been awarded for more than three dozen road construction and paving projects across the state, worth more than $216 million combined. He also announced that this year’s roadwork plan, which will outline the State’s plans for the paving season, will be released very soon.

“We’re going to absolutely jump on every pothole, the pulling of every ditch, and we’re going to just stay after it until we get this thing across the finish line,” Gov. Justice said. “We all know that our roads got in this condition by decades of neglect. But my administration has directed more money to roads than ever before in our history. We’ve gotten right after it and we’ve done it without raising taxes.”

WEST VIRGINIANS REMINDED TO BE COUNTED IN CENSUS
Gov. Justice once again reminded all West Virginians to take the opportunity to complete the 2020 United States Census.

Every West Virginian who does not respond to the Census represents a loss of $20,000 in federal funds over the next ten years for the state and its local communities. The funds can go toward things like healthcare, education, infrastructure, school lunch programs, and more.

Respond to the Census online at 2020census.gov.

DHHR ORDERS ADDITIONAL DATA REPORTING AND PUBLISHING GUIDELINES
Also on Thursday, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ Bureau for Public Health filed two orders to implement additional measures regarding the reporting and publishing of COVID-19 data.

The rule changes will allow for collection of additional data to assist in the implementation of public health programs and help control the spread of COVID-19. One order requires the reporting of any COVID-19 positive individual who died with the disease and another order gives DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health the ability to publicly identify long-term care facilities with COVID-19 positive cases among residents and/or employees.

ATTORNEY GENERAL, SECRETARY OF STATE ALERT VOTERS TO SIGNS OF ABSENTEE VOTER FRAUD
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, in conjunction with Secretary of State Mac Warner, issued an alert to West Virginia voters Thursday concerning the increased potential of election fraud due to broad access to absentee ballots for the June 9 primary election.

The leaders’ concerns largely relate to the ability of fraudsters to steal or manipulate absentee ballots now that more people will use a mail-in, absentee ballot due to social distancing concerns driven by the coronavirus pandemic.

WEST VIRGINIA NATIONAL GUARD UPDATE
Today, the West Virginia National Guard conducted COVID-19 testing at four state hospitals for approximately 500 patients and staff. One additional state hospital will undergo testing tomorrow.

This marks seven facilities to undergo testing by the WVNG this week and to date, this team has tested 1,271 people, not including today’s testing, as a part of their response mission.

In addition to conducting COVID-19 testing for nursing homes, the WVNG’s Task Force CRE continues their missions of providing personal protective equipment (PPE) training to long-term care facilities, visiting six locations today. Members are also providing assistance for COVID-19 drive through testing lanes, sanitization of facilities, and N95 mask fit testing. To date, this team has trained 646 stores, 2,924 personnel, and 56 medical or long-term care facilities.

Since beginning operations in support of the state’s COVID-19 response 41 days ago, the WVNG has completed 621 missions.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Click here to view all Executive Orders and other actions taken by Gov. Justice to combat the spread of COVID-19 in West Virginia.

For more information about COVID-19 prevention and more, call the State’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-887-4304 or visit Coronavirus.wv.gov.

US Congressman David Trone (MD-06) voted in favor of the Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act, replenishing relief funds for small businesses, health care facilities, and workers impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The bill was approved by Congress and will head to the President’s desk for signature.The Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act includes over $320 billion in aid to small businesses, including the replenishment of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program. The bill also invests over $75 billion in hospitals and healthcare facilities and $25 billion to expand COVID-19 testing capabilities. “Our small businesses and health care systems need help and they need help now,” said Congressman Trone. “This bill isn’t perfect, but I was proud to vote in favor of it. There’s a lot more work that needs to be done to help the American people through this emergency. 

“The next bill should include funding for broadband to expand our digital highways, an increased focus on mental health resources for our nation, and more money for our state and local governments who have been hit hard by depleted funding streams. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure the next package includes these critical measures.” 

Congressman David Trone was elected to the House of Representatives in November 2018 to serve the 6th District of Maryland, which includes all or part of Montgomery, Frederick, Washington, Allegany, and Garrett Counties. Trone’s website features best practices and information surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak, including a 100 page community resource guide his team updates daily.

April 22nd The Allegany County Health Department has reported 19 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Allegany County, bringing the total to 82. All but two of the new cases involve staff and residents at a nursing facility with previously reported cases. The two additional cases involve two males in their 30s not connected to the nursing home outbreak. None of the new cases have been hospitalized.To date, 726 people in Allegany County have been tested for COVID-19. Of those, 594 were negative, 82 have tested positive, and 50 tests are still pending.

Mineral County Health Department has confirmed an 11th case of COVID-19. The person works in Allegany County

WV Gov. Jim Justice joined West Virginia health leaders and other officials today for his latest daily press briefing regarding the State’s COVID-19 response.
WEST VIRGINIA EMERGING AS NATIONAL LEADER IN INNOVATIVE TESTING METHODS
On Wednesday, Gov. Justice highlighted several aspects of the State of West Virginia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic that are setting new precedents for the entire country.

The Governor recognized the West Virginia National Guard for becoming the first National Guard in the country to be approved by the U.S. Department of Defense to provide mobile testing for COVID-19.

The WVNG established two COVID-19 mobile testing laboratories, which were activated for use today. The units will be primarily stationed in Charleston and Morgantown.

The process for deploying the mobile testing units starts at the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, which will alert the National Guard for the need of a rapid testing response in a particular area. From there, the National Guard will deploy one of the two mobile units within 45 minutes of receiving notification.

“Just think about that – innovation, with goodness in West Virginia, from smart people that are doing absolutely terrific work,” Gov. Justice said.

This comes just days after West Virginia became the first state in the country to begin testing all nursing home residents and staff members statewide.

Today, the Gov. Justice announced that recent testing of 120 people at the veterans nursing home in Barboursville resulted in just one positive case. The proactive testing allowed officials to move quickly in efforts to limit the spread.

Visit Coronavirus.wv.gov to view the most up-to-date COVID-19 testing numbers

“That tickles me to death because we had a few breakouts at nursing homes that were very, very alarming,” Gov. Justice said. “That’s why we went on this crusade to test everybody – something that had never been done in the nation before. Now, many, many states are following suit and, in fact, I’ve been told the CDC is on the verge of making that recommendation nationwide.”

Gov. Justice also highlighted a recent study that ranked West Virginia as the #1 state in the nation for carrying out the best response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It just came out the other day and, of all things, it should maybe be the thing we’re most proud of,” Gov. Justice said. “West Virginia was recognized for being first in the nation in the way that we have handled this thus far. And we need to continue to be first in the nation on how we decide to bring our people back as quickly and safely as we possibly can.”

GOV. JUSTICE WANTS TO GET BACK TO WORK SAFELY AND QUICKLY
Today, Gov. Justice reiterated that his intentions are to get West Virginians back to work as quickly and as safely as possible in the face of the pandemic.

“The one thing I’ve tried, with all in me, to do is guide us on a pathway to keep as many of us from getting sick and as many people from dying as I possibly could. As we move forward…I would tell you that if this nation and this engine doesn’t start back, we’re in incredible peril in terms of what could happen to us,” Gov. Justice said. “We have to go back to work. We have to be able to find a way to live with this dreaded disease until we get the vaccines to then be able to go back to life as normal.

“In that bridge period, what we’re going to do is we’re going to bring back as much as we can possibly do with the experts leading our way at each and every step,” Gov. Justice continued. “I want to put us back to work right now. But I also want to put us back in a way that is guided by our experts, guided by what our President is saying, guided by the guidelines coming out of D.C., and guided in a way that makes us the safest that we can be.”

GOVERNOR SPEAKS TO SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS
With low-interest loan packages from the federal government set to soon come in to small businesses to help keep their operations afloat, Gov. Justice provided a message to small business owners across West Virginia.

“Many of you probably do not think you have business interruption insurance,” Gov. Justice said. “And the insurance companies, especially the great, big, gigantic insurance companies they would look right at you and say ‘You don’t have any coverage.’ Don’t stop there. Get your best accountant, your best lawyer, your very best advisor and push it to the limit because many of you have coverage and you don’t know you’ve got it.”

UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS UPDATE
Today, Gov. Justice provided another update on WorkForce West Virginia and the National Guard’s efforts to process the wave of unemployment claims that have been filed across the State since March, reporting that more than 8,000 claims were processed yesterday alone.

“They’re still on track to have the backlog completely eliminated by tonight,” Gov. Justice said. “I know there are those of you that were frustrated. I was too. I tripled the amount of manpower. That wasn’t enough. So I tripled it again.

“It pleases me that we’re going to get this backlog behind us,” Gov. Justice continued.

Gov. Justice also discussed Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), an option for additional assistance benefitting workers who would otherwise not be eligible for unemployment compensation. This includes self-employed workers, independent contractors, workers with insufficient work histories, gig workers, ride sharing drivers, and more.

The Governor reminded qualified workers that applications for PUA will open on Friday, April 24, 2020, at 10 p.m. Applications will be available online at WorkForceWV.org.

WVDE POSTPONES GOVERNOR’S SCHOOLS FOR SUMMER 2020
Today, the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) announced that they have postponed the 2020 Governor’s Schools planned for this summer. The Department organizes six residential academies each summer as part of this program to provide deep learning opportunities for students from grades 8-12.

Each year, the WVDE holds the Governor’s Schools at West Virginia college and university campuses and state facilities. West Virginia University and Marshall University have both announced that they will cancel on-site courses and resort to online instruction only this summer. Therefore, the venues will no longer be available.

Next year (summer 2021) the WVDE will double the number of programs offered to make sure that those students selected this year will still be able to participate. The exception will be the Governor’s Honors Academy. Since rising seniors attend this program, they will likely be unavailable next summer as they prepare for the next phases of their lives. Therefore, the WVDE hopes to host weekend experiences and recognitions this fall to celebrate their accomplishments. These plans are not yet complete but will be shared with students and their families and released publicly as soon as possible.

WEST VIRGINIA NATIONAL GUARD UPDATE
The West Virginia National Guard (WVNG) continues to make progress in the testing of all nursing home facilities in the state, in coordination with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and the West Virginia Health Care Association.Members of Task Force CRE and Task Force Medical conducted COVID-19 testing at Morgantown Health and Rehabilitation today for more than 120 staff members, who in turn tested patients in the facility. This marks the third facility to undergo testing by the WVNG this week and to date, this team has tested 1,217 people as a part of their response mission.The West Virginia Guard will also assist in COVID-19 testing at numerous state hospitals starting tomorrow and by Friday will have completed four of the seven locations in the state.In addition to conducting COVID-19 testing for nursing homes, Task Force CRE continues their missions of providing personal protective equipment (PPE) wear training to long-term care facilities and plan to visit 10 locations today. Members are also providing assistance for COVID-19 drive through testing lanes and to date, have trained 637 stores, 2,778 personnel and 45 medical or long-term care facilities.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Click here to view all Executive Orders and other actions taken by Gov. Justice to combat the spread of COVID-19 in West Virginia.

For more information about COVID-19 prevention and more, call the State’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-887-4304 or visit Coronavirus.wv.gov.

MD Governor Larry Hogan today officially reopened the Laurel Medical Center in Prince George’s County as part of the state’s COVID-19 hospital surge plan, and announced an expansive contract tracing initiative that will be able to track up to 1,000 cases per day. With significant progress on the four building blocks that are necessary to begin the recovery process for the State of Maryland, Governor Hogan will introduce the ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery’ on Friday. “Our entire team has been working hard and making incredible progress on all four of these necessary building blocks so that, as our numbers start to look better, we will be in a position to safely reopen our state and get people back to work,” said Governor Hogan. “With these crucial components now firmly in place, on Friday we will be introducing our ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery,’ which will lead us safely out of this pandemic and into a brighter more hopeful future.”The governor was joined for today’s announcement by Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks and Dr. Mohan Suntha, the president and CEO of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS).

Below are Governor Hogan’s announcements regarding the four building blocks for Maryland’s recovery plan:

EXPANDING TESTING CAPACITY. The most critical part of Maryland’s recovery plan and the reopening guidelines recently released by the White House is the capability to do widespread testing. Successful testing advancements in Maryland include.
The State of Maryland has successfully expanded its testing capability by over 5,000% in the past month, and more than 76,000 COVID-19 tests have been completed to date.

The Maryland National Guard, in partnership with the Maryland Department of Health, Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, and the Prince George’s County Health Department, established the state’s first coronavirus drive-thru screening location at FedEx Field in Landover.

Drive-thru screening and testing location has been established at five Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program (VEIP) stations across the state.

The State of Maryland recently secured 40,000 additional tests and invested $2.5 million to assist the lab at the University of Maryland, Baltimore to use cutting-edge robotics to build their capacity in order to handle up to 20,000 tests per day.

On Saturday, April 19, through the success of ‘Operation Enduring Friendship,’ the State of Maryland received LabGun COVID-19 PCR test kits from LabGenomics, a South Korean company, which will give Maryland the capability of performing 500,000 coronavirus tests.

On Monday, April 20, President Trump offered to allow the State of Maryland to access the countless federal labs in the state, which could be key to utilizing the 500,000 tests from South Korea.

INCREASING HOSPITAL SURGE CAPACITY. On March 16, Governor Hogan issued an executive order directing the Maryland Department of Health to develop a plan to open closed hospital facilities across the state, and to take other measures necessary to immediately increase the state’s hospital capacity by an additional 6,000 beds. Currently, the state is on track to exceed that goal and reach a surge capacity of more than 6,700 beds. The latest progress on hospital surge capacity includes the following:
The newly reopened and renovated Laurel Medical Center will now provide an additional 135 beds, including 35 intensive care beds, to treat patients infected with COVID-19. The facility is being staffed by nearly 400 contractual medical professionals and health care workers who will be managed by UMMS.

The 250-bed field hospital at the Baltimore Convention Center is now open and will be admitting those patients who no longer require hospitalization, but need a location to complete their care and fully recover.

The first beds have been opened at Adventist Ft. Washington Medical Center in Prince George’s County, near the location of the highest concentration of COVID-19 cases. Additional intensive care beds are also being added to the UM Prince George’s Hospital Center in Cheverly, Md.

22 surge response tents are being built across the state in the areas of greatest need, including at Holy Cross Hospital, Washington Adventist White Oak, Doctors Community Hospital, and Southern Maryland Hospital Center.

100 additional beds are being provided at Jessup and Hagerstown to address the needs of corrections and detention centers.

INCREASED SUPPLY OF PPE. In Maryland, a multi-agency task force has been working around the clock to ramp up our supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), with large deliveries coming into the state’s warehouses on a daily basis. Recent shipments received by the state include the following:
5.9 million surgical masks, including 1 million masks from the Republic of Korea

1.5 million KN95 masks, including 1 million from the Republic of Korea

705,000 N95 masks

2.3 million surgical gowns

1,000 additional ICU beds

1.1 million face shields

ROBUST CONTACT TRACING OPERATION. Governor Hogan announced an expanded contact tracing initiative with a state-of-the-art platform to track positive cases of COVID-19 and limit the spread of the virus over the long term.
This morning, Governor Hogan authorized a contract with the National Opinion Research Center (NORC), which is the nation’s oldest and largest university-based research firm operated by the University of Chicago with corporate offices in Bethesda, Md. Under this agreement, Maryland will quadruple the state’s present disease investigation capability to contact up to 1,000 new cases per day.

Governor Hogan also announced a state-of-the-art contact tracing platform called ‘COVID Link,’ which will assist in collecting information about people who test positive for COVID-19 and any individuals they have come into close contact with. This innovative platform will utilize medical data from the Chesapeake Regional Information Center for Patients, or CRISP. Maryland’s 1,000 contact tracers will be trained on this new technology to make sure all information is collected in accordance with all regulations and guidelines for the security and privacy of medical data. ‘COVID Link’ was developed in consultation with the State of Rhode Island and the City of Austin, TX.For COVID-19 resources, including case counts and clinician guidance, visit coronavirus.maryland.gov.

The UPMC Western Maryland forensic nursing program – which, among its many services, treats domestic and sexual assault victims – has announced it will expand services to the three UPMC Western Maryland urgent care centers in the region.“In these times of uncertainty with COVID-19, our forensic nursing team wants to remind the community that we are a source of strength, and we exist to help patients recover from the unexpected,” said Debi Wolford, Forensic Nursing Service Program Coordinator. “Your health care providers in the UPMC Western Maryland forensic nursing team know that many patients are scared during these unprecedented times. We want to remind them that we are one piece of certainty within the community as we continue to provide safe and healthy care.”Forensic services will now be provided at the three urgent care centers which are open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. seven days a week. A Forensic Nurse Examiner will be available for both sexual-assault exams and domestic-violence-related-injuries. UPMC Western Maryland urgent care locations:

· Advanced Medical Care – 1050 Industrial Blvd Ste 17, Cumberland, Md., 240-964-9300

· Frostburg Urgent Care Center – 10701 New Georges Creek Road SW, Frostburg, Md., 301-689-3229

· Advanced Lakeside Medical Care – 23789 Garrett Highway, McHenry, Md., 240-488-4139

Additionally, forensic nursing services remain available around the clock for abuse and assault patients at the UPMC Western Maryland Emergency Department.

Online Portal Streamlines Local COVID-19 Donations By Garrett County Joint Information Center TeamThe Garrett County Joint Information Center is directing all questions and local offers of donations related to COVID-19 to Garrett County Community Action. The non-profit has been appointed to manage all local contributions related to COVID-19 such as homemade face coverings, food assistance, volunteer sign-ups, and cash donations.A volunteer portal has been designed by the Health Department to aid Community Action with critical digital infrastructure and work as the “top of a funnel.” The portal collects contact information via short forms and shares the offer with a designated volunteer coordinator who will respond to volunteers individually.“We launched a survey at the end of March to gauge community needs, especially related to food insecurity, unemployment, and other vulnerabilities as well as how people are helping others,” said Shelley Argabrite, Chief Health Strategist for the Population Health, Innovation & Informatics Unit at the Health Department. “In less than 24 hours we received over 1,000 responses. From the survey data, we built the volunteer portal to address the main concerns. We listened to your feedback and are responding with a streamlined way to organize volunteers.”Interested persons can reach the volunteer portal at www.garretthealth.org/community and choose from a variety of ways to assist the community. Visit the portal frequently to check for updates.

For those who are not online, any offer of support can be initiated by contacting Courtni Helmick, Family Self-Sufficiency Manager at Community Action, by calling 301-334-9431 ext. 6143. Cash donations are encouraged by the county COVID-19 response team and will be graciously accepted.“The outpouring of support from our community has been truly inspiring,” said Helmick. “Times are certainly a little scary because there is so much unknown, but that has not stopped Garrett County! The portal is a wonderful tool to get the entire community involved and this pandemic has allowed community partners the opportunity to collaborate and create new ideas to best serve our community.”

Community Action is working closely with fire and rescue locations around the county to be convenient drop off sites for food and cleaning supplies. Please check the Portal for contact information, a list of requested food donations, and future donation specifics.

The first two dates per donation sites are listed below:
• Friendsville Volunteer Fire & Rescue, Saturday, April 25th & May 2nd, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
• Bloomington Volunteer Fire Department, Friday, April 24th & May 1st, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
• Accident Volunteer Fire Department, Wednesday, April 29th & May 6th, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
• Southern Rescue Squad, Thursday, April 30th, and Saturday, May 2nd, 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.
• Eastern Garrett Volunteer Fire Department, Tuesday, April 28th & May 5th, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Food giveaways are being coordinated by Community Action.

“We deeply appreciate all those who are able and willing to give during this time to those who are struggling to feed their families,” Argabrite said. “Agencies are working together to ensure no one goes hungry. A second COVID-19 survey is available here at bit.ly/surveynumbertwo. Your input drives change and helps us understand the needs of this community. Please consider taking this important survey.”

In addition, a food drive is being planned in the near future by Mountain Laurel Medical Center in conjunction with the Maryland Food Bank. Details will be announced as soon as they are available.

April 21st The Allegany County Health Department has reported four additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Allegany County, bringing the total to 63. The new cases include one staff member and one resident at a nursing facility with previously reported cases as well as an individual who was recently released from that nursing home. In an unrelated case, a female in her 60s has tested positive for COVID-19 and is self-isolating at home.The health department also reported that one of the previously identified coronavirus cases at the nursing home has died. The resident was a female in her 90s. This is the second COVID-19-related death to occur in Allegany County and the third attributed to the county by the state data. The third individual was a former Allegany resident who was living in a Carroll County nursing home at the time of his illness.

The Mineral County Health Department has confirmed a 10th case of COVID-19. The resident is employed in Allegany County.

The Hampshire County Health Department and Hampshire County Office of Emergency Management has confirmed 1 additional positive case of 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Hampshire County, bringing our total count to seven. Due to privacy, additional information regarding the person, area of residence, and travel history will not be disclosed.Investigation of the person’s previous contacts has been completed. All close contacts who are at exposure risk have been notified. Close contacts include those who live in the same home, care givers, being within 6 feet for more than 10 minutes, or being in direct contact with secretions. All other contact is considered low risk.

WV Gov. Jim Justice joined West Virginia health leaders and other officials today for his latest daily press briefing regarding the State’s COVID-19 response.
WEST VIRGINIA SCHOOLS TO REMAIN CLOSED
Gov. Justice announced today that all pre-kindergarten through 12th grade schools in West Virginia will remain closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 academic year.

“I was really hopeful and I tried in every way to get us to where we would be able to go back to school because I know how much the kids would appreciate it…just the excitement of the kids going back and seeing their friends and their teachers,” Gov. Justice said. “But I’ve promised you over and over that I would never put you in a position that could be harmful. I promised that I would try to protect you in every way. And the bottom line is that this is what we have to do to protect everyone.”

School buildings and facilities will remain closed while remote learning continues through the end of the school year. Meal delivery programs for students will also continue to operate through the end of the school year.

Gov. Justice also encouraged all schools statewide to begin looking for ways to safely hold graduation ceremonies to celebrate the academic accomplishments of outgoing seniors across West Virginia.

“We need to graduate our seniors,” Gov. Justice said. “I would urge each and every school to try to find a way, over the course of the summer, to celebrate their accomplishments.

“I hate this like crazy for our families who have kids that have worked so hard for so long to be able to receive that diploma,” Gov. Justice continued. “It is so meaningful to lots and lots of families and lots of lots of kids. So, again, I would urge all schools to find a way to pull a celebration off.

“For all the children who are out there, please continue to try and keep up with your studies and all the stuff that you’re doing right now. Run through the finish line. Accomplish all you can accomplish this year.”

State Superintendent of Schools Clayton Burch joined the Governor on Tuesday for the announcement.

“Governor Justice has shown great leadership in the face of very difficult circumstances. He took this decision very seriously,” Superintendent Burch said. “I know he really was optimistic that our children would have some time together and the end of the school year and just came to a realization that it was going to be really tough. And decisions of that magnitude are really, really difficult to make.

“So, I can tell you that being in his presence and watching him go through that process to come to this conclusion was really, really tough. But we also were very clear with the Governor that our school systems are ready. We believe that our children, all 260,000 of them in public schools, are being supported by our system.”

EDUCATION TASK FORCE SUSTAINING STUDENT SUPPORT THROUGH END OF SCHOOL YEAR
The announcement that schools will remain closed provides a framework for counties to plan for the end of the school year.

A Graduation Task Force, which consists of West Virginia Board of Education members, county administrators, state PTA members, educators, and WVDE staff, continues to address issues surrounding high school graduation and creating a smooth transition for graduates moving toward the next phases of their lives.

Counties will work with their boards of education and local health departments to determine details around graduation ceremonies which may look very different than in years past. The WVDE will post updated school calendar information this week at wvde.us/COVID19.

On Tuesday, Superintendent Burch provided additional updates on ways the West Virginia Department of Education and others are working to improve opportunities for students during this challenging time.

“The College Board has come forward. They’re going to make sure there are no gaps in children who are taking the AP Exam, they’re going to make sure those are available to them,” Superintendent Burch said. “The Higher Education Policy Commission has come forward to help us make sure all dual credits are complete – that all students finish that. We are also making sure that all children that are in a CTE program have the ability to finish and become a CTE completer.”

Burch also announced that the WVDE is going to cover the cost of all virtual school for high school students this summer and reported that any junior who missed the SAT will be able to take the exam in the fall for free.

HIGHER EDUCATION STUDENTS TO RECEIVE FEDERAL FUNDING
Also today, Gov. Justice discussed students in higher education who are in-line to receive money from the federal government. The Governor said that while the money has not been distributed to the State yet, it is expected soon. And once it arrives, the funding will be distributed quickly.

“I know college students and their families are eager to receive these funds,” Gov. Justice said. “Higher Education Policy Commission Chancellor Sarah Tucker has assured me that as soon as our colleges and universities receive the money from the federal government, they will be distributing it to the students.”

WEST VIRGINIA TESTING NUMBERS ABOVE NATIONAL AVERAGE; BETTER THAN ALL BORDERING STATES
Additionally today, Gov. Justice provided an update on the rate of West Virginians who have been tested for COVID-19.

During his remarks, the Governor announced that West Virginia has now passed up all of its bordering states in terms of the percentage of the overall population that has been tested. In fact, West Virginia’s testing rate currently exceeds the national average.

Visit Coronavirus.wv.gov to view the most up-to-date COVID-19 testing numbers. The data highlighted by Gov. Justice today can be viewed on Page 8 of the dashboard.

“We have not even input all of the testing we’re doing on our nursing homes,” Gov. Justice said.

Last week, Gov. Justice signed an Executive Order, making West Virginia the first state in the country to require the testing of all nursing home residents and staff members statewide.

“For those of you concerned that West Virginia is not testing, that’s not true,” Gov. Justice said. “We’re absolutely testing and we’re aggressively after that.”

GOV. JUSTICE WANTS TO GET BACK TO WORK SAFELY AND QUICKLY
Gov. Justice also provided an update on his plans to get all West Virginians back to work as quickly and safely as possible.

“There’s nobody on the planet that wants us to go back to work any more than I do,” Gov. Justice said. “But, I have a tremendous responsibility to everyone, and that is to try to protect you and keep you as safe as I possibly can.

“What we want to do is we want to move as quickly as we possibly can with the guidance, first and foremost, of the medical experts in telling us the pathway to get us to the finish line without us having to back up.

“If we’ll just stay the course and stay patient, we’re going to get through this. And this will be long, long back in the rear view mirror very soon.”

GOV. JUSTICE PROVIDES UPDATE ON WEST VIRGINIA’S PROGRESS FIGHTING COVID-19 IN NATIONAL INTERVIEW
Also on Tuesday, Gov. Justice was interviewed on the national radio program, Breitbart News Daily, about West Virginia’s early success in fighting the spread of COVID-19.

“We’ve been really proactive,” Gov. Justice said in the interview. “We’ve got the least number of cases east of the Mississippi River and we’re within a rock’s throw of two-thirds of the population of this whole country.

“We declared a State of Emergency before we ever had a positive case,” Gov. Justice continued. “We did a lot of things, in terms of pushing the right buttons, and I think that’s more of a blessing from the good Lord because we happened to be a good bit ahead of the curve.

“My read was really simple, and it was that there’s no way in the world the President of the United States of America is going to shut down the engine of America [the economy] unless he knows this thing is really, really potentially devastating beyond belief. And so, my read on that was to jump out ahead and act as proactively as I could.”

GOVERNOR, DHHR ANNOUNCE SMARTPHONE APP FOR INDIVIDUALS IN RECOVERY ISOLATED DURING PANDEMIC
In response to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Jim Justice and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ (DHHR) Office of Drug Control Policy today announced a free smartphone app to reduce isolation and offer support resources to West Virginians with Substance Use Disorder (SUD).

The Connections app will allow treatment providers across the state to stay connected and engaged with their patients.

“Over the past few years, we’ve made tremendous progress in our fight against the opioid epidemic in West Virginia. We’ve given people struggling with addiction real hope and access to opportunities like never before,” Gov. Justice said. “But, as we’ve had to separate from each other to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus, it’s been really tough on those who may truly need the support of others to stay on a path toward recovery.

“We need to do everything in our power to keep helping these people move forward in their lives, not backward. That’s exactly what this app is going to allow us to do.”

ATTORNEY GENERAL WARNS OF CARES ACT STIMULUS CHECK SCAM
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey issued a consumer alert Tuesday, warning of a CARES Act stimulus check scam.

Nearly every American is set to receive such a check. The CARES Act provides a check for $1,200 for most adults, $2,400 for most couples, and $500 per child per household.

The Attorney General alerts consumers that thieves may call, email, and text West Virginians. They falsely claim people must first provide their bank account, Social Security number, or other personally identifiable information to receive the checks.

“Let me be clear: You do not need to provide information to any third party in order to get your $1,200 or anything else you’re supposed to receive under the CARES Act,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Whether you’re talking about the $1,200 or the Paycheck Protection Program loans for small businesses, make sure you follow only the guidance from our office or the federal government because the scammers only want to steal from you.”

UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS UPDATE
Gov. Justice also provided an update on WorkForce West Virginia’s efforts to process the wave of unemployment claims that have been filed since March, reporting that more than 12,000 claims were processed yesterday alone.

“They’re completely on track to have the entire backlog done by tomorrow night,” Gov. Justice said. “They’re also on track, as far as self-employed workers, independent contractors, and workers who do not have work histories can apply for unemployment benefits as of 10 p.m. Friday night.”

WEST VIRGINIANS REMINDED TO BE COUNTED IN CENSUS
Gov. Justice once again reminded all West Virginians to take the opportunity to complete the 2020 United States Census.

Every West Virginian who does not respond to the Census represents a loss of $20,000 in federal funds over the next ten years for the state and its local communities. The funds can go toward things like healthcare, education, infrastructure, school lunch programs, and more.

Respond to the Census online at 2020census.gov.

WEST VIRGINIA NATIONAL GUARD MAKING PROGRESS ON NURSING HOME TESTING
The West Virginia National Guard is making progress in the testing of all nursing home facilities in the state, following an Executive Order from Governor Jim Justice to accomplish the task in coordination with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and the West Virginia Health Care Association.

Yesterday, two veterans home facilities in Barboursville and Clarksburg were tested, which totaled 411 patients and staff. Testing will take place tomorrow at Morgantown Health and Rehabilitation for approximately 120 people and 14 other nursing homes have identified a need for WVNG assistance in conducting COVID-19 testing at their facility.

“We are working to meet Governor Justice’s intent to have all nursing homes tested this week,” said Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, adjutant general of the WVNG. “Thanks to the work of our public health partners at DHHR and the County Health Departments, nursing home administrators and staff, all the laboratory workers and Lab Corps for the assistance in expanding testing capabilities, we believe we can come very close to meeting that goal.”

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Click here to view all Executive Orders and other actions taken by Gov. Justice to combat the spread of COVID-19 in West Virginia.

For more information about COVID-19 prevention and more, call the State’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-887-4304 or visit Coronavirus.wv.gov.

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) released the following statement in response to the bipartisan agreement reached on the interim COVID-19 relief package:“As the coronavirus wreaks havoc on public health and our economy, it’s crucial that we act quickly to address challenges as they arise. While this interim measure falls short on many fronts, it is a major improvement over the shortsighted proposal initially offered by Leader Mitch McConnell. It not only replenishes both the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and grant programs, but also makes important changes to help main street and minority-owned businesses better access the funds. Additionally, to reopen our economy, we need robust, reliable testing. This bill begins to address the inexcusable lack of COVID-19 testing by holding the Administration’s feet to the fire to increase our country’s testing capacity.

“But the Administration resisted other changes to help small businesses. This included our proposal to allow businesses greater flexibility in the use of relief funds and eliminate barriers the Administration unilaterally imposed which have prevented many from receiving practical relief. They also rebuked our efforts to include funds for our state and local governments – shortchanging Maryland’s communities and emergency responders. And – despite an increase in COVID-19 cases in Washington, DC – Republicans still refuse to provide the people in our nation’s capital with appropriate emergency funds, which directly impacts our regional response to this crisis. The fight on these fronts is not over.

“Our healthcare providers, small businesses, states, and local communities will need more resources – and soon. Clearly our work here is not done.”

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, made the following remarks on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, April 22, 2020.“In 1970, Earth Day was first celebrated when Senator Gaylord Nelson brought more than 20 million Americans together to mobilize in defense of our planet. In the half-century since, our nation has benefitted from a passionate environmental movement that has pushed lawmakers, businesses, and communities to foster a healthier Earth. While this movement has yielded significant progress, we nonetheless must do more to address the gravest threat to our environment: climate change.

“I recognize that in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it might be difficult to wrap our heads around a second crisis. But today, on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we have an important opportunity here to learn from one global emergency about how to navigate another.

“The first lesson from the COVID-19 pandemic: we must listen to experts. 

“Public health experts have long forecast the risk of a viral pandemic. Still, our leaders failed to prepare for COVID-19, and even denied the magnitude of the threat we faced when it was at our doorstep. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has now claimed about 40,000 lives in the United States, a death toll higher than any other country’s. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, believes that at least some of these lives could have been saved had the Trump Administration heeded public health officials’ advice earlier.

“We are witnessing a parallel problem with climate change. For decades, experts have warned that human-caused climate change is heating the Earth. 97% of the world’s scientists agree on this. And scientists are no longer just predicting the future implications of this crisis; they are pointing out the very real consequences of climate change that have already arrived. 

“These include the rise in extreme weather events like floods, hurricanes, and wildfires that we have experienced across the United States in recent years. In Maryland, we have seen communities like Ellicott City devastated by flash flooding from increased rainfall. And our state’s many miles of low-lying coast make us particularly vulnerable to high tide flooding and storm surge. The longer we wait to address climate change, the more natural disasters we will face.

“Nevertheless, many of our nation’s leaders continue to ignore and deny the science of climate change. President Trump has nominated several individuals to oversee environmental regulations despite their concerning lack of expertise. Federal agencies like the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Department of Agriculture have suppressed climate science while carrying out crucial environmental research. And the Administration has advanced a policy agenda that unravels critical environmental protections. 

“Right now, we need to be doing everything possible to protect our planet, not make it more vulnerable.

“Experts tell us that we have a short and critical window for action before the climate crisis becomes far direr. According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we have ten years to reduce global carbon emissions by 45%, or the Earth’s ecosystems will likely begin to collapse. That will mean even greater sea-level rise, more high-tide flooding, more devastating hurricanes, more and faster-spreading wildfires, and more global infectious diseases.

“It is vital that we listen to experts and take steps to curb the development of climate change before it’s too late.

“The second lesson: we must work with the international community to tackle this crisis.

“Much of President Trump’s foreign policy seems to rest on the assumption that the United States can become stronger through isolation. But the spread of COVID-19 makes it painfully clear that we are part of a global community, and that there are certain threats that we will either overcome or succumb to together.

“Climate change is one such threat. As the second-largest emitter of greenhouse gas, America’s failure to improve our environmental practices will have enormous impact on the rest of the world. Likewise, America’s long-term security depends on other countries’ efforts to protect the environment.

“For example, as climate change continues, the number and severity of natural disasters in the United States will increase, which will take a substantial toll on our economy. A report that I requested from the Government Accountability Office shows that the 14 climate disasters in 2018 cost the U.S. at least $91 billion in damage. And today, taxpayer spending on federal disaster relief in the U.S. is almost ten times what it was three decades ago.

“We need help from our friends around the world in order to avoid these repercussions of climate change. And if we ask for help, we had better be prepared to do our part, too.

“It is therefore extremely disappointing that President Trump is finalizing the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement, which we joined alongside more than 190 other countries in 2016. Parties to the agreement committed to lowering carbon emissions with investment in clean and renewable energy sources, placing them at the forefront of the fight against climate change. America’s retreat from this Agreement undermines our global credibility and leadership, and threatens devastating environmental consequences.

“Having led the U.S. Congressional Delegation to the conference where the Paris Agreement was originally adopted, I could not stand by and watch that important work be undone. So, I introduced a bipartisan resolution expressing support for the Agreement and calling on the U.S. to continue working with the global community to address the causes and effects of climate change. It will be up to leaders at the local, state, and national level to ensure that the United States pulls our weight in this worldwide effort.

“The third lesson: meaningful progress is within reach if Americans commit to urgent and bold action.

“Though it pains me to see the suffering that the COVID-19 pandemic is causing, I have been proud to watch communities across the country make the adjustments required to slow the spread of the virus and keep each other safe. People are staying home, teleworking, helping their kids learn remotely, and isolating from friends and family. Health workers, first responders, and other essential employees are inspiring us with their bravery and dedication. And in Congress, we are working in a bipartisan fashion to pass major legislation that will help us weather this storm.

“The resilience of the American people in the face of this public health emergency gives me faith that we can similarly pull together to combat climate change if we recognize it for the life-threatening emergency that it is. After all, the World Health Organization predicts that climate change will kill an additional 241,000 people per year by 2030, and the World Bank estimates that, by 2050, it will force more than 140 million people out of their homes.

“The good news is that, unlike with COVID-19, the adaptations that will help us tackle climate change will also create jobs and stimulate our economy. The U.S. clean energy economy employs more than 3.3 million workers, a number that has been on the rise for the last five years.  Furthermore, producing renewable energy is cheaper in the long run than continuing to rely on coal: by 2025, almost every existing coal plant in the country will cost more to operate than building replacement wind and solar plants nearby. And crucially, energy efficient infrastructure will strengthen communities by lowering utilities costs, improving residents’ health, and increasing economic development. 

“For my part, I will keep working as a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to advocate for laws that protect Americans by protecting our planet. This Congress, I was able to get the first ever Climate Title included in the surface transportation reauthorization bill in order to reduce vehicular emissions, the single the largest source of U.S. carbon pollution. I have also cosponsored bills that will lessen our dependence on fossil fuels and increase the development of renewable energy technologies by supporting the wind and solar industries.

“As always, I will continue to defend the vital wetlands and marshes of the Chesapeake Bay. As climate change causes severe weather patterns to increase, these ecosystems will act as pollution filters and buffers from storm surge and flooding, minimizing the damage to Maryland homes and businesses. The Chesapeake Bay restoration program is a model for the local, state, and federal cooperation that is needed to reach our environmental goals. I am confident that we can address the climate crisis as a whole in an equally collaborative manner.

“Now is the time for all hands on deck. Just like we have in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans must urgently work together, on Earth Day and every day, to slow the causes and consequences of climate change. If we do things right, then perhaps on the 100th anniversary of Earth Day, someone will be standing here, thanking her predecessors for protecting the Earth and looking forward to many more golden anniversaries in our beautiful home.”

 Members of the McCoury family continue to support the region desp[ite the fact the music festival has been postponed. Lisa McCoury who runs the Academy just before Delfest says they knew the area would be hit hard during the pandemic and they wanted to give back since typically there is a food drive during the festival.

Are you concerned about the coronavirus and need health coverage? Have you lost your job or has your household income changed? You can enroll now in a health plan through Maryland Health Connection due to the COVID-19 crisis and may be eligible to receive financial help to help you pay for coverage. Call 888-202-0212 if you need help understanding options or would like to enroll by phone and talk to a navigator in Western Maryland.

Maryland is the first state in the nation to launch a free, opt-in service to check on older residents—a crucial resource during the COVID-19 pandemic.Every day, a call is placed to the participant at a regularly scheduled time. If the participant does not answer after three attempts, calls will be made to notify a family member or alternate person selected by the participant. Register online at: https://aging.maryland.gov/Pages/senior-call-check.aspx

April 20th The Allegany County Health Department reports that the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Allegany County has risen to 59 – an increase of 25 cases since Friday. The majority of the new cases are residents and staff members at a nursing home with previously confirmed cases. That facility now has a total of 32 patients and six staff members who are fighting the virus. Two staff members are Mineral County residents and are not included in the Allegany County case count.
On Friday, the state sent an assessment team to review the nursing home’s practices and steps being taken to limit the spread of illness at the facility. The assessment team concluded that the facility has been very proactive and is following CDC guidance for protecting residents and staff and isolating the ill. The state team was onsite to assist and support the efforts of the nursing home and suggested an expansion of testing of staff and residents. A total of 21 residents and two staff members were tested Saturday. “This virus is highly contagious,” stated Jenelle Mayer, Health Officer for Allegany County. “The virus spreads easily, especially in places like long-term care facilities where many individuals live together.”
“It is not easy to out-maneuver this virus, particularly in congregate living facilities. Healthcare workers at Cumberland Healthcare Center, like healthcare workers everywhere, give of themselves selflessly and deserve the support of the community. ACHD stands by to assist them in any way possible,” added Dr. Jennifer Corder, Medical Deputy Health Officer for Allegany and Garrett Counties.
The Allegany County Health Department continues to work closely with allied agencies, including the Allegany County Department of Emergency Services and UPMC-Western Maryland.
“Our top priority is to ensure the health and safety of Allegany County communities,” stated James Pyles, Director of the Allegany County Department of Emergency Services.

COVID-19 Statistics in Maryland

Number of confirmed cases: 13,684
Number of negative test results: 57,713
Number of deaths: 516
Number of probable deaths: 66
Hospitalizations: 3,014 ever hospitalized
Released from isolation: 917

The Pennsylvania Department of Health today confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., April 20, that there are 948 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 33,232. All 67 counties in Pennsylvania have cases of COVID-19.

The department is continuing to work to increase the types of cases that are being added to our death case counts. Today, 92 new deaths are reported among positive cases, bringing the statewide total to 1,204. County-specific information and a statewide map are available . https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Cases.aspx All people are either in isolation at home or being treated at the hospital.

“As we start to see the number of new COVID-19 cases decrease across the state that does not mean we can stop practicing social distancing,” Sec. of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “We must continue to stay home to protect ourselves, our families and our community. If you must go out, please make as few trips as possible and wear a mask to protect not only yourself, but others. We need all Pennsylvanians to continue to heed these efforts to protect our vulnerable Pennsylvanians, our health care workers and frontline responders.”

There are 129,720 patients who have tested negative to date. Of the patients who have tested positive to date the age breakdown is as follows:

  • Less than 1% are aged 0-4;
  • Nearly 1% are aged 5-12;
  • 1% are aged 13-18;
  • 6% are aged 19-24; 
  • 39% are aged 25-49; 
  • 28% are aged 50-64; and
  • 24% are aged 65 or older.

Most of the patients hospitalized are aged 65 or older, and most of the deaths have occurred in patients 65 or older. There have been no pediatric deaths to date. More data is available here.

In nursing and personal care homes, there are 4,689 resident cases of COVID-19, and 504 cases among employees, for a total of 5,193 at 374 distinct facilities in 35 counties. Out of our total deaths, 682 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities. A county breakdown can be found here. https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Cases.aspx

All non-life-sustaining businesses are ordered to be closed and schools are closed statewide through the remainder of the academic year. Currently the entire state is under a stay-at-home order.

The Wolf Administration stresses the role Pennsylvanians play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
  • Clean surfaces frequently.
  • Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell.
  • If you must go out for a life-sustaining reason, please wear a mask.

Updated Coronavirus Links: Press Releases, State Lab Photos, Graphics

All Pennsylvania residents are encouraged to sign up for AlertPA, a text notification system for health, weather, and other important alerts like COVID-19 updates from commonwealth agencies. Residents can sign up online at www.ready.pa.gov/BeInformed/Signup-For-Alerts.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) reports as of 5:00 p.m., on April 20, 2020, there have been 22,357 laboratory results received for COVID-19, with 908 positive, 21,449 negative and 26 deaths.

A 98-year old woman from Wayne County and a 53-year old man from Wood County have died as a result of COVID-19. “As we continue the fight against this pandemic, we are devastated by the loss of more West Virginians,” said Bill J. Crouch, DHHR Cabinet Secretary. “The families of these residents are in our thoughts.”

These are considered official numbers reported to the state, which will in turn, be reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Medical providers and laboratories are required to report positive test results to DHHR.

Delays may be experienced with the reporting of cases and deaths from the local health department to the state health department. It’s not uncommon for the local level to report case numbers first and then officially report it to the state.

CONFIRMED CASES PER COUNTY: Barbour (4), Berkeley (113), Boone (2), Braxton (1), Brooke (3), Cabell (34), Fayette (5), Grant (1), Greenbrier (3), Hampshire (6), Hancock (7), Hardy (3), Harrison (30), Jackson (101), Jefferson (61), Kanawha (133), Lewis (2), Lincoln (1), Logan (8), Marion (43), Marshall (8), Mason (10), McDowell (6), Mercer (8), Mineral (9), Mingo (2), Monongalia (89), Monroe (5), Morgan (8), Nicholas (4), Ohio (23), Pendleton (2), Pleasants (2), Preston (10), Putnam (15), Raleigh (7), Randolph (4), Roane (3), Summers (1), Taylor (5), Tucker (4), Tyler (3), Upshur (4), Wayne (78), Wetzel (3), Wirt (2), Wood (31), Wyoming (1).

As case surveillance continues at the local health department level, it may reveal that those tested in a certain county may not be a resident of that county, or even the state as an individual in question may have crossed the state border to be tested. Such is the case of Marion, Mason and Monongalia counties in this report.

A dashboard is available at www.coronavirus.wv.gov with West Virginia-specific data, including information on the health status of COVID-19 positive patients.

The coronavirus is something so new that researchers are still learning about how it is transmitted and how we can reduce the spread of the virus. That’s why the recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) change as they adjust to the new understandings.

“Because our understanding of the coronavirus is changing so rapidly, it’s extremely important to stay current by viewing the most up-to-date information from the most reliable sources,” said Garrett County Health Officer, Bob Stephens. “An article that had the most current information when it was published several weeks ago may not have accurate information today.”

For example, researchers recently learned it is likely that persons who never have symptoms (asymptomatic) and others who haven’t developed symptoms yet, are carriers and can spread COVID-19 to others. This is why the CDC is now encouraging, and Governor Hogan is requiring, the wearing of cloth face coverings in public.

“It’s important to do everything we can to slow the spread of this virus,” said Stephens. “Wearing a face covering should not replace other precautions such as hand washing and social distancing. And, like other safety equipment, a face covering will only give you the best protection if you use it correctly.”

Improper use of a face covering could increase the risk of becoming infected and spreading the disease to others. Here are some of the do’s and don’ts of wearing face coverings:

DO –
Use a homemade cloth face covering.
Put on the face covering before entering a new environment, making sure it fits snugly and is covering your mouth and nose.
Complete your activity without touching the face covering or any part of your face.
Take the face covering off from the back when done with the activity – touching the front could contaminate your hands.
Drop it straight into your washing machine after coming home.
Wash your hands after handling the face covering.

DON’T –
Use a medical-grade mask such as an N95. (Save these for health care workers and first responders.)
Touch or move the face covering while wearing it.
Wear the face covering in any position other than over your mouth and nose.
Talk on your cell phone while wearing the face covering.
Take the face covering off from the front.
Put the face covering down on other surfaces after taking it off.
Put a face covering on a child under the age of 2 or someone with breathing problems.

Follow these guidelines closely to keep you and your family safe.

Face coverings can easily become contaminated with COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases such as the flu, making it critical to protect your hands and face from infected droplets. If these germs get on the inside of your covering, they become trapped next to your face resulting in an increased risk of inhalation and infection.

It is also possible for the virus to transfer to your hands if you touch a contaminated part of your face covering. Once the virus is on your hands, it can be transferred to your face and other objects. This is one of the reasons why hand hygiene is so important whether you are wearing a face covering or not.The public is asked to show their support for the safety of the Garrett County community by wearing a face covering, snapping a selfie, and sharing it to their social media with the tag #CoverGC.Remember that face coverings are only the most recent guidelines and you must continue to regularly wash your hands, use hand sanitizer, maintain your social distance, and stay diligent in protecting yourself and others against COVID-19.

For the most current and accurate information about the situation, please refer to the following:Health Department COVID-19 Dashboard: garretthealth.org/covid-19-information/. Local information as well as links to State and National resources.

Health Department Frequently Ask Questions Page: bit.ly/covid-19-answers

Garrett County COVID-19 Medical Hotline: 301-334-7698

Garrett County Government’s COVID-19 Page: garrettcounty.org/covid-19

The local Volunteer/Donation Portal: garretthealth.org/communit

Governor Larry Hogan today announced that the State of Maryland has acquired 500,000 COVID-19 tests from South Korea’s LabGenomics. The governor was joined for today’s announcement outside Government House by First Lady Yumi Hogan.

Following are the governor’s remarks, as prepared for delivery;

“From the beginning of this coronavirus pandemic, one of the biggest problems in America has been the lack of availability of testing. It remains the most serious obstacle to safely reopening our states.

“Here in Maryland, we have been doing everything in our power to acquire more tests from the federal government. Unfortunately, we have also had to compete with every state in America in our attempts to procure tests from every domestic producer in the U.S. and from sources around the globe.

“As I said last week, adequate testing is one of the four critical building blocks of our ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery.’ Over the past 30 days, Maryland has successfully expanded our testing capability by over 5,000 percent, and we have now completed over 71,000 tests to date.

“Last week, we secured 40,000 additional tests, and we invested  $2.5 million to help the University of Maryland, Baltimore lab use cutting-edge robotics to build their capacity in order to handle up to 20,000 tests per day.

“All of that progress to date has been important. But this weekend, we took an exponential game-changing step forward on our large-scale testing initiative. We have been quietly working for a number of weeks on a confidential project called ‘Operation Enduring Friendship.’

“On Saturday, the First Lady and I stood on the tarmac at BWI Airport, to welcome the first ever Korean Air passenger plane, a Boeing 777 which had no passengers, but was carrying a very important payload of LabGun COVID-19 PCR test kits from a South Korean company called LabGenomics, which will now give Maryland the capability of performing half a million coronavirus tests.

“The 500,000 test capacity which we have just acquired is equal to the total amount of testing that has been completed by four of the top five states in America combined.

“‘Operation Enduring Friendship’ was launched on Saturday, March 28th, when I asked my wife, Yumi, to join me on a call with Korea’s Ambassador to the United States, Lee Soo-hyuck. We spoke of the special relationship between Maryland and the Republic of Korea, and we made a personal plea in Korean asking for their assistance.

“That call set in motion 22 straight days of vetting, testing, negotiations, and protocols between our scientists and doctors, eight Maryland state government agencies, and our counterparts in Korea. We convened countless calls nearly every night—sometimes it seemed like all night—working through language barriers and a thirteen-hour time difference.

“And at the last minute, we then navigated clearances across multiple U.S. agencies, including the FDA, the USDA, and Customs and Border Patrol, in order to complete this incredible mission for the people of Maryland.

“I want to sincerely thank our South Korean partners for assisting us in our fight against this common, hidden enemy.

“Each part of this international collaboration was unprecedented, from identifying and vetting the Korean testing company and getting the scientists in our labs to work together through all the technical details with the teams in Korea, to the complexities of the international procurement contracts, to figuring out intricate logistics solutions like arranging the first-ever Korean Air flight from Korea to land at BWI. It really was an amazing team effort.

“I want to personally thank President Moon Jae-in, Prime Minister Chung, Ambassador Lee, and Minister Hong, the Director for Public Diplomacy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who is here today representing the Republic of Korea, and who was there with us at BWI on Saturday.

“I also want to thank LabGenomics who developed and produced the tests, Samsung SDS for the logistical support, Korean Air for the very special charter flight, the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, John S. Connor Global Logistics, and our entire ‘Operation Enduring Friendship’ team here in Maryland, especially Roy McGrath, the director of MES, who spearheaded our efforts; along with Secretary Ellington Churchill and the Department of General Services; Deputy Secretary Fran Phillips and the Maryland Department of Health; Secretary Greg Slater and the Maryland Department of Transportation; Ricky Smith and the Maryland Aviation Administration; Major General Tim Gowen and the Maryland National Guard; Colonel Jerry Jones and the Maryland State Police; Secretary David Brinkley of the Maryland Department of Budget and Management; and a special thanks to Soo Koo from the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives, who stayed awake many nights assisting us with communications and who served as our lead translator throughout this entire process.

“I’d also like to thank our federal partners here in the U.S. for their cooperation. But most importantly, I want to thank Maryland’s First Lady, my wife Yumi. She truly is a champion of ‘Operation Enduring Friendship.’ You may know that she is the first Asian First Lady in the history of our state, but she is also the very first Korean American First Lady of any state in the history of the United States, which is why Maryland is proud to have such a special bond with South Korea.

“In February, the First Lady and I worked with Ambassador Lee to arrange for a reception at the Ambassador’s residence in Washington during the NGA Annual Winter Meeting. It was the first time that America’s governors had all gathered together at the Korean Ambassador’s residence.

“It was a special surprise for us when President Moon appeared on a video screen to recognize our special partnership. He said that Korea was so proud of my wife, and that they considered me a 한국 사위, which means a ‘son-in-law’ to the Korean people. I considered it an honor for him to say that, but I had no idea just how much it would truly come to mean these two very long months later.

“Later this week, we will be introducing our ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery.’ This recovery plan has four building blocks, including a robust contact tracing operation, increasing our supply of PPE, and increasing hospital surge capacity.

“Our team is making significant progress on each of these criteria, but the most critical part of both our recovery plan for Maryland and the reopening guidelines the President introduced on Thursday is the capability to do widespread testing.

“The incredible success of ‘Operation Enduring Friendship’ has not only put us on track to achieve that goal, but it will literally help save the lives of thousands of Marylanders.

“This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Korean War. My wife often says that she would not be here if it were not for the dedication and the sacrifice of the brave Americans who fought for the freedom of South Korea. And she and President Moon have both talked about the incredible debt of gratitude that South Korea feels toward the American people.

“Let me just say that after ‘Operation Enduring Friendship,’ the State of Maryland owes an incredible debt of gratitude to the people of South Korea.

“As Maryland begins its reopening and recovery, Marylanders should feel confident in knowing that we have done everything in our power, gone to every length, and used every tool and every resource at our disposal to defeat this deadly virus.

“May God bless the great State of Maryland, the Republic of Korea, and the United States of America.”

WV Gov. Jim Justice joined West Virginia health leaders and other officials today for his latest daily press briefing regarding the State’s COVID-19 response.

During his remarks, the Governor discussed the delicate process required to safely reopen the state as the number of new COVID-19 cases nationally begins to level off.

“There is surely a balancing act that has to be done between restarting the engine, re-opening West Virginia, and protecting our people in every way,” Gov. Justice said. “We have got to start the engines back. But I will assure you we’ll start back as safely as we possibly can. We’re going to ease ourselves back into restarting, we’re not going to run back.”
UPDATE ON NURSING HOME TESTING
Gov. Justice announced that an effort to test all residents and staff members at every nursing home in West Virginia began this morning.

The action came after the Governor’s Executive Order last week made West Virginia the first state in the nation to require all-inclusive nursing home testing statewide.

“I’ve been assured over and over from our National Guard and from DHHR that we can accomplish this in a week,” Gov. Justice said. “That would be an incredible feat. But I tell you, West Virginia, we’re going to come back with data, sure as I know my name, that’s not as good as we want it to be. But what it will do is it will lead us to save a whole lot more lives.

“What we’re going to do is a task that no one has ever taken on,” Gov. Justice continued. “But we’re going to have real, live data that we hope will help us to isolate and treat people, even those who may not have symptoms yet.”

GOV. JUSTICE PARTICIPATES IN CALL WITH VICE PRESIDENT PENCE
Also today, Gov. Justice took part in another conference with Vice President Mike Pence, members of the Coronavirus Task Force, and other governors across America to update the White House on how various states are progressing in their COVID-19 response efforts.

Gov. Justice highlighted that, according to the latest data, West Virginia’s fatality rate remains comparatively low versus the national average and is far below the rates seen in other countries.

Visit Coronavirus.wv.gov to view the most up-to-date COVID-19 testing numbers

“The bottom line is that you have done really good. We continue to have those we’ve lost in our thoughts, our prayers, and our feelings every day,” Gov. Justice said. “But, West Virginia, you are the place where people should come. You are the place where the manufacturing should be. You are the place that abounds in innovation and smarts. You’re not the place that used to be 50th and people forgot about forevermore. You’re the new place, West Virginia. You’re the place where everyone should be.”

UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS UPDATE
WorkForce West Virginia Director Scott Adkins joined the panel at Monday’s briefing to update the public on the progress that’s been made processing outstanding unemployment claims and to discuss a new opportunity for self-employed workers to receive additional benefits through the State.

According to Adkins, WorkForce West Virginia has taken more than 40,000 claims since March 16. In that same time, WorkForce staff, with additional personnel from the West Virginia National Guard, have taken more than 100,000 phone calls from unemployment claimants, while the office’s automated system has fielded more than 500,000 calls.

“Eligible unemployment claimants have received more than 137,000 weeks-worth of the extra $600 benefits from the CARES Act, totaling more than $82 million,” Adkins said. “And, thanks to Governor Justice’s leadership, West Virginia was the first state in the union to pay the extra $600 benefit.

WorkForce and the National Guard continue to work around the clock, filling three eight-hour shifts per day, to ensure every eligible West Virginian receives their benefits in a timely manner.

All backlogged unemployment claimants, without claims issues, will see their claims processed by Wednesday night, April 22, 2020

Adkins also discussed Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), an option for additional assistance benefitting workers who would otherwise not be eligible for unemployment compensation. This includes self-employed workers, independent contractors, workers with insufficient work histories, gig workers, ride sharing drivers, and more.

Adkins announced that applications for PUA will open on Friday, April 24, 2020, at 10 p.m. Qualified workers will be able to apply online at WorkForceWV.org.

GOV. JUSTICE PROVIDES UPDATE ON WEST VIRGINIA’S PROGRESS ON NATIONAL NEWS
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice made a national television news appearance today on the Fox News show, Your World with Neil Cavuto, to discuss West Virginia’s progress with limiting the spread of COVID-19.

“We’ve punched a lot of right buttons and I’m not patting myself on the back because I’m surrounded by the greatest experts on the planet,” Gov. Justice said.

“On March 12th we stopped visitation to our nursing homes, we issued a travel ban, we canceled the state basketball tournament – and my team is playing in it that very evening. On the 13th we closed the schools and on the 16th we put out a State of Emergency before we ever had one positive case in our state. And then we closed our restaurants and bars when we had our first positive.

“We’ve kept our numbers really, really low in an area where we’re within a rocks throw of two-thirds of the population of this country.”

WEST VIRGINIA NATIONAL GUARD UPDATE
Since beginning operations in support of the state’s COVID-19 response 36 days ago, the WVNG has completed 502 missions through our four lines of effort of operationalizing of the event, stabilizing the population, providing logistical movement of critical supplies and conducting data analysis to combat the virus. Currently, 646 members of the WVNG are on duty serving the citizens of the State of West Virginia.

Today, Task Force Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive (CBRNE) Response Enterprise (TF-CRE) began COVID-19 testing at the Barboursville and Clarksburg veterans homes for approximately 430 patients and staff.

“At the direction of Governor Jim Justice, our medical and CBRN task forces will continue to work with our public health partners at DHHR and the West Virginia Health Care Association to refine the process to carry out all testing at nursing home facilities in the state this week,” said Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, adjutant general of the WVNG.

Today, Task Force Sustainment, our team dedicated to receiving and moving critical supplies across the state, received 9,000 COVID-19 test kits from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the State Public Health Lab and will work with the Department of Health and Human Resources for distribution. In addition, they will be delivering PPE to 20 county emergency managers for distribution.

West Virginia Guard personnel are assisting in setting up an additional sanitization lane for first responder and public transport vehicles in Cabell County tomorrow utilizing an aerosolized hydrogen peroxide system. This site is expecting to be able to sanitize up to 50 buses and 30 ambulances over the next week. In Charleston, this team has sanitized 64 vehicles including ambulances, police vehicles and public transport buses to date.In the last 24 hours, we delivered 2,360 meals to Pleasants, Gilmer, Ritchie and Barbour Counties via refrigerated trucks. Today, we will deliver 4,035 meals to Braxton, Wirt, Ritchie, Webster and Tyler Counties and will transport 15,000 meals from Tamarack to Peterstown and Mountain View Elementary Schools. Guardsmen and women assisted in inventory and sanitization of facilities at Gassaway and Huntington over the weekend.Task Force CRE continues their missions of providing personal protective equipment (PPE) wear and proper cargo/box handling best practices to retail locations across the state and trained 27 retail locations yesterday and will assist nine stores today. They are also providing PPE training to long-term care facilities and plan to visit 11 sites per day moving forward. Members are also providing assistance for COVID-19 drive through testing lanes and to date, have provided training to 625 stores, 2,559 personnel and 26 medical or long-term care facilities.

The number of personnel supporting the Workforce West Virginia mission remains the same and members will begin processing unemployment claims next week, while assisting the agency in implementation of new software to increase capabilities to assist West Virginians.

Our data analysts working with DHHR’s regional epidemiology teams were able to support 79 contact tracing engagements over the weekend. To date, the seven Epidemiology teams have conducted more than 3,015 contract tracings.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Click here to view all Executive Orders and other actions taken by Gov. Justice to combat the spread of COVID-19 in West Virginia.

For more information about COVID-19 prevention and more, call the State’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-887-4304 or visit Coronavirus.wv.gov.

PA Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine today announced that the statewide stay-at-home orders issued on April 1 to protect Pennsylvanians and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 will be extended until Friday, May 8 at 12:01 AM. The initial order was set to expire on April 30.

“It is clear that our early and aggressive efforts to mitigate this spread of this highly contagious and deadly virus are working. While we begin to seek ways to move forward, it’s imperative that we continue to take strong precautions to protect Pennsylvanians and ensure that our health care system is not overwhelmed,” Wolf said. “I am so proud of this commonwealth and the resilience of my fellow Pennsylvanians, and I urge you to continue to stay calm and stay home so that we can all stay safe.”

“We are starting to see a downward trend in the number of positive cases throughout the state, which is definitely encouraging,” Dr. Levine said. “We need to proceed carefully to make sure the strides we’ve made in combatting this virus continue to move forward. Extending our statewide order until May 8 will ensure that we don’t overwhelm our health system, while helping our economy to recover.”

Non-life-sustaining physical business closures remain in effect and all life-sustaining businesses and state services will continue.

Individuals are permitted to leave their residences for tasks essential to maintaining health and safety.

Wolf recommended that Pennsylvanians continue to wear masks when leaving the house for life-sustaining reasons. Dr. Levine recently signed an order directing protections for critical workers who are employed at businesses that are authorized to maintain in-person operations during the COVID-19 disaster emergency.

At this time, law enforcement will continue to focus on ensuring that residents are aware of the order and informing the public of social distancing practices rather than enforcement.

For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, Pennsylvanians should visit: https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/.

PA Governor Tom Wolf signed Senate Bill 841 today that helps local communities and businesses respond to the COVID-19 emergency and protect the public. The bill provides flexibility on property tax deadlines, allows remote public meetings and notarization of documents so online vehicle sales can resume.

“This bipartisan legislation gives local governments and businesses additional options to help property taxpayers and address various needs,” said Gov. Wolf. “COVID-19 remains a very real threat and each of us needs to continue doing our part to cut back on physical interactions. This new law is a measured and safe way to provide relief as we continue to monitor the spread of the virus.”

The bill does the following:

Reauthorizes the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council and requires it to study the impact of COVID-19 on hospitals and health systems.
Allows local governments to conduct remote public meetings.
Provides property tax relief by allowing taxing districts to waive late fees and penalties for property taxes paid by December 31, 2020.
Allows school districts to renegotiate contracts with service providers to ensure payment of personnel and fixed costs during the school closure.
Allows remote notarization of documents.
The governor vetoed Senate Bill 613.

From AC DES: Ellerslie Rd reopened at this time

From AC DES: Ellerslie Rd is closed near Culligan Water due to a single vehicle crash into a telephone pole.

For high school students wondering what it takes to prepare for college and a successful future, how to pay for an education or even what it’s like to navigate the college application process, Upward Bound at Frostburg State University can help. Upward Bound, a free year-round program for qualified Allegany County high school students, can help students determine what classes to take while in high school and help them understand what colleges want.

With more than 35 years of experience, Upward Bound’s qualified staff can help a student transition successfully from high school to college. Upward Bound helps students prepare for the SATs and other college-prep tests, fill out financial aid applications, meet deadlines, visit college campuses and much more.

Upward Bound helps students to succeed in high school and helps them develop successful strategies to prepare them for college. It does this through an academic year program as well as an optional, but intensive, three- or five-week summer residential program. Both take place on FSU’s campus.

At this time, because of the Covid-19 outbreak, Upward Bound’s summer 2020 plans have not been determined. Upward Bound hopes to have its regular residential program, but if that is not feasible, plans are being developed for an alternative online program. Students are encouraged to apply regardless.

Former students report that their experiences in the Upward Bound program helped them get into college and be better prepared for their higher education experience; they also performed better while still in high school.Those who are considering going to college and who would like some support and assistance getting there are encouraged to contact Upward Bound to see if they qualify. For more information, call 301-687-4994 and leave a message or visit www.frostburg.edu/UpwardBound.

April 18th The Allegany County Health Department reports that an Allegany County man in his 70s has died as a result of complications from COVID-19. He had been hospitalized for some time and had multiple underlying medical conditions. This individual is not connected to the recent COVID-19 outbreak at a local nursing home.“We are greatly saddened to report that an Allegany County resident has died as a result of complications from COVID-19,” stated Jenelle Mayer, Health Officer for Allegany County. “Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.”To date, there have been 32 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Allegany County

Late Friday afternoon, the state of Maryland sent an Assist and Assess “Go Team” to Cumberland Healthcare Center (CHC) to assess the situation at the facility as a result of the recent outbreak of COVID-19 and offer assistance to support the work being done to limit the spread of illness.
The state team had many positive things to say about the mitigation practices at CHC and was also able to offer some guidance for improvements, based on their experience with similar outbreaks.
“The National Guard team noted that Cumberland Healthcare Center was actively and effectively implementing strategies advised by the CDC for their long-term care nursing facilities,” stated Dr. Jennifer Corder, Deputy Health Officer for Allegany and Garrett Counties. “Administration and nursing leadership are working together and collaborating with the health department and UPMC Western Maryland on testing and personal protective equipment (PPE).”
Following the assessment on Friday, additional plans were initiated to supplement CHC’s PPE resources and expand capabilities for testing staff and residents of CHC.
“CHC has been very proactive in their response to this disease. They are to be commended. The health department, hospital, and emergency services are here to support their efforts and collaborate as needed,” Dr. Corder added.
Allegany County Department of Emergency Services Director James Pyles, who along with Dr. Corder was on-site with the state team at CHC, credits the swift and well-organized response to the COVID-19 outbreak to the longstanding partnerships and coordination between responding agencies, including long-term care providers like CHC, the health department, the hospital, and emergency services.
“The Allegany County Department of Emergency Services and our allied agencies including the Allegany County Health Department and UPMC-Western Maryland have been working closely together since before the first confirmed case [of COVID-19] on March 23,” said Pyles. He went on to say that partner agencies are in daily communication about the crisis and Allegany County’s coordinated response.
“This crisis, like nothing I have ever witnessed or been in a position of management has truly opened my eyes to the incredible teamwork we have in this county between the agencies,” said Pyles. “Each agency is familiar with their tasks, quick to respond and eager to help their fellow citizen.”

Sunday the Maryland Department of Health reports 12,830 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maryland. This marks an increase of 522 cases since yesterday.Maryland has 486 deaths, 55,061 negative tests and 914 patients have been released from isolation.For more information log on to coronavirus.maryland.gov

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) reports as of 5:00 p.m., on April 19, 2020, there have been 21,675 laboratory results received for COVID-19, with 890 positive, 20,785 negative and 20 deaths.


The 19th death is a 69-year old male from Hampshire County. “Deepest sympathies are extended to the family for their loss,” said Bill J. Crouch, DHHR Cabinet Secretary.

An additional death report was just received by DHHR: an 80-year old male from Kanawha County, which makes the state’s total official death count at 20.

These are considered official numbers reported to the state, which will in turn, be reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Medical providers and laboratories are required to report positive test results to DHHR.

Delays may be experienced with the reporting of cases and deaths from the local health department to the state health department. It’s not uncommon for the local level to report case numbers first and then officially report it to the state.

CONFIRMED CASES PER COUNTY: Barbour (4), Berkeley (109), Boone (2), Braxton (1), Brooke (3), Cabell (34), Fayette (5), Grant (1), Greenbrier (3), Hampshire (6), Hancock (7), Hardy (3), Harrison (30), Jackson (100), Jefferson (60), Kanawha (127), Lewis (2), Lincoln (1), Logan (8), Marion (42), Marshall (8), Mason (11), McDowell (6), Mercer (8), Mineral (8), Mingo (2), Monongalia (87), Monroe (5), Morgan (8), Nicholas (4), Ohio (22), Pendleton (2), Pleasants (1), Preston (10), Putnam (14), Raleigh (7), Randolph (4), Roane (3), Summers (1), Taylor (5), Tucker (4), Tyler (3), Upshur (4), Wayne (78), Wetzel (3), Wirt (2), Wood (31), Wyoming (1).

As case surveillance continues at the local health department level, it may reveal that those tested in a certain county may not be a resident of that county, or even the state as an individual in question may have crossed the state border to be tested.

A dashboard is available at www.coronavirus.wv.gov

Governor Larry Hogan today provided updates on Maryland’s COVID-19 pandemic response and recovery efforts, and announced that he will unveil the state’s roadmap to recovery next week. State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon announced that she has extended school closures to May 15.

“We are beginning to see some hopeful and encouraging signs which have allowed us to begin laying the groundwork to reopen, to rebuild, and to recover as soon as it is safe to do so,” said Governor Hogan. “The recovery plan we have been developing over many weeks has four building blocks that must be solidly in place before the lifting of restrictions: expanding our testing capacity, increasing hospital surge capacity, increased supply of PPE, and a robust contact tracing operation.”

“MARYLAND STRONG: ROADMAP TO RECOVERY.” Earlier this week, Governor Hogan announced the four building blocks that will be necessary to begin the state’s recovery process. The state continues to make significant progress in all four of the following critical areas:

Expanding testing capacity
Increasing hospital surge capacity
Ramping up supply of PPE
Building a robust contact tracing operation
Further updates will be provided throughout the coming days, and later next week Governor Hogan plans to introduce the “Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery.”

SCHOOL CLOSURE EXTENDED TO MAY 15. State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen Salmon announced the extension of school closures through May 15 after extensive consultation with the State Board of Education and leading public health officials. School systems are in the process of developing plans for additional digital learning and the recovery of any lost instructional time in the form of expanding summer school programs. Additionally, state and local school officials are actively preparing for a number of scenarios depending on when educators and students will be able to re-enter school buildings.

UNEMPLOYMENT SYSTEM. The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program is officially launching today on Friday, April 17. This program provides unemployment insurance benefit recipients with an additional $600 per week payment on top of their current regular benefits. On April 24, the Maryland Department of Labor is launching a new one-stop shop comprehensive online application for independent contractors, self-employed Marylanders, and all other types of claims, including federal employees, multi-state wage claims, and members of the military. This will ensure that every Maryland applicant, whether they are a W2 employee or not, will have the option of filing online, which will dramatically decrease call wait times, and it will also help more Marylanders get their checks faster and more efficiently.

$8 MILLION FOR FOOD BANKS. In order to bolster the efforts of food banks around the state, the State of Maryland is investing an additional $4 million dollars to Maryland Food Bank and the Capital Area Food Bank. Additionally, the state has worked with local jurisdictions to match that investment bringing that total to $8 million dollars for these food banks. The Maryland Department of Human Services is also working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to dramatically accelerate the implementation of the state’s online Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) pilot initiative, which will enable families to purchase meals online for free delivery.

FEDERAL STIMULUS. Governor Hogan announced that he has asked President Trump to weigh in and help break the logjam in the U.S. Senate in order to secure an additional $500 billion in relief to help address revenue shortfalls in the states. Last week, the governor announced that Maryland is instituting a budget and hiring freeze amid estimates that the state is facing a projected $2.8 billion shortfall due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

SMALL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE. The governor announced that $8 million dollars of Maryland’s COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund, which is a critical pillar in Maryland’s $175 million relief package, has already been provided to 410 small businesses across the state, helping more than 9,000 Marylanders keep their jobs. To date, the Maryland Department of Commerce has received more than 9,100 applications for the state’s $50 million COVID-19 relief loan fund and more than 20,200 applications for its $75 million COVID-19 relief grant fund.

GRANTS FOR CRITICAL MANUFACTURING. The state created a $5 million fund to incentivize Maryland businesses to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies to meet the current needs of the healthcare industry. The state awarded grants to three Maryland small businesses: DVF Corporation in Washington County, Awesome Ninja Labs in Baltimore City, and NRL & Associates, a Queen Anne’s County manufacturer. The state will award grants to dozens of additional Maryland companies in the days to come.

All of Governor Hogan’s emergency orders and proclamations are available here. For COVID-19 resources, including case counts and clinician guidance, visit coronavirus.maryland.gov.

IMPORTANT CARES ACT UPDATES:

1. Beginning now eligible Marylanders will begin seeing their additional $600 per week payment. This payment is on top of current regular benefits and will be received on the day of your next regularly scheduled payment. If you do not regularly receive your benefit payment on Friday, you will not see this payment today. Marylanders will receive benefits retroactive to their earliest date of eligibility.

2. NEXT FRIDAY, April 24, Labor is launching a new one-stop unemployment insurance application to allow ALL newly eligible Marylanders to file ALL types of claims entirely online.

3. Those who are eligible for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, including those who are self-employed, independent contractors, gig economy workers, and have insufficient work history, will be able to file online using the new application.

4. Individuals who were previously required to file by phone, like federal employees, members of the military, those who have worked in multiple states, and have worked for more than 3 employers in the last 18 months, will also be able to file online using the new application.

5. New and existing claimants will automatically receive an additional 13 weeks of benefits under the CARES Act. Those who have recently exhausted their benefits will be able to reapply online using the new application.

6. In addition to reassigning over 150 state employees and hiring 100 new employees, Labor has partnered with a vendor to bring in 200 additional call and claim takers.

7. Starting April 18, Labor’s claim centers will be open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

WV Gov. Jim Justice joined State health and emergency response leaders today for his latest daily press briefing to update the public on the measures being taken in the interest of protecting the public from the spread of COVID-19.
ALL NURSING HOME RESIDENTS AND STAFF TO BE TESTED FOR COVID-19
Today, Gov. Justice issued an Executive Order, directing the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and the West Virginia National Guard to test every nursing home resident and staff member throughout the state.

Residents and staff members who have previously been tested will be retested to ensure the most up-to-date results possible. The Governor has directed that this effort begin immediately to provide more aggressive support to West Virginia’s nursing home population.

“Our nursing homes, as we all know, are home to some of the most vulnerable of our people. This disease has a way of attacking the elderly,” Gov. Justice said. “Every single one of these people have brought wisdom to all of us for decades and decades. These are not statistics. These are names and families and they absolutely deserve the very best from us in every way. Just ‘good enough’ is not good enough. We need to be perfect.”

LABORATORIES NOW REQUIRED TO REPORT TEST RESULTS TO DHHR
Gov. Justice also directed the DHHR to file an order, effective today, requiring all laboratories across West Virginia to provide immediate, real-time electronic reports of both positive and negative COVID-19 tests to the DHHR and to their respective local health departments.

“Most of our labs are already doing this, but we don’t have the expediency that we need from all the labs,” Gov. Justice said.

GOV. JUSTICE DISCUSSES PRESIDENT TRUMP’S PHASED APPROACH TO REOPENING AMERICA
Additionally today, Gov. Justice offered his support to President Donald J. Trump and his three-phased plan of Opening Up America Again.

“We need to, some way, transition out of this disease and get our engine back going and get back to work,” Gov. Justice said. “Now, as I’ve said over and over, I’m not going to back away from protecting you and listening to our medical experts. But I can tell you that it’s a priority, beyond belief, to get you back to doing the things that you would like to do with your life and get West Virginians back to work.

“It’s a balancing act,” Gov. Justice continued. “And I’m going to do the very best that the good Lord gives me the capability to be able to do to protect you on one hand and to get us back going with our lives and back to work on the other hand.”

UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS UPDATE
Gov. Justice also provided an update on the State’s expedited processing of unemployment claims, reporting that more than 14,000 claims were processed yesterday alone.

With 130,000 unemployment claims into Workforce West Virginia since the beginning of March, efforts continue to clear the backlog and provide assistance to West Virginians as quickly as possible.

“Workforce has promised that, by next week, we’ll be caught up,” Gov. Justice said. “I’m proud to say there’s real relief coming.”

WEST VIRGINIANS REMINDED TO TAKE CENSUS
Gov. Justice offers another reminder to all West Virginians to take the opportunity to complete the 2020 United States Census.

Every West Virginian who does not respond to the Census represents a loss of $20,000 in federal funds over the next ten years for the state and its local communities. The funds can go toward things like healthcare, education, infrastructure, school lunch programs, and more.

Respond to the Census online at 2020census.gov.

WEST VIRGINIA NATIONAL GUARD RESPONSE UPDATE
Since beginning operations in support of the state’s COVID-19 response 35 days ago, the WVNG has completed 447 missions through four lines of effort: operationalizing of the event, stabilizing the population, providing logistical movement of critical supplies, and conducting data analysis to combat the virus. Currently, 632 members of the WVNG are on duty serving the citizens of the State of West Virginia.

During Governor Justice’s daily press briefing, Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, adjutant general of the WVNG announced that the Guard has developed the Department of Defense’s first approved mobile COVID-19 testing lab. Guard personnel, including 1st Lt. Samantha Fabian, a Citizen-Soldier and doctoral candidate studying genetics and developmental biology, developed the idea for a rapid-response mobile laboratory that can test potential COVID-19 patients in roughly 15 minutes.

Two mobile testing labs will be up and running next week, once supplies are obtained, and will stage in two areas of the West Virginia – North and South – to respond to potential hot spots that require quick results.

The West Virginia National Guard took several additional new actions today in support of the State’s COVID-19 response. More information will be posted to the WVNG website when it becomes available.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Click here to view all Executive Orders and other actions taken by Gov. Justice to combat the spread of COVID-19 in West Virginia.

For more information about COVID-19 prevention and more, call the State’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-887-4304 or visit Coronavirus.wv.gov.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) asked West Virginia businesses who are receiving Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans or other financial assistance from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to send their experiences and feedback to his office at common_sense@manchin.senate.gov.

“West Virginia businesses are being hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The SBA programs are meant to help businesses across America, but the rural small businesses like ours in West Virginia aren’t getting the help they need. I’ve been fighting for dedicated funding for small rural businesses in the next COVID-19 emergency funding package and getting feedback from West Virginia businesses will help me advocate in Washington for funding that will help our state and communities,” said Senator Manchin.

Senator Manchin launched an information resources page where West Virginians can learn more about the coronavirus pandemic and how to protect themselves and their families. To learn more please click here https://www.manchin.senate.gov/coronavirus

In March, County United Way launched the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund to serve communities in Allegany, Garrett, Hampshire and Mineral Counties. The initial fund totaled $13,000 and additional grants and donations have brought the total to over $48,000.

County United Way wishes to thank its many donors who have privately contributed, as well as CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, the TRUIST Foundation, Columbia Gas-NiSource, PhRMA, Braddock Middle School SHOP students, and Garrett Cooperative Ministries.

The fund, with 100% of dollars invested back into the community, was created in order for United Way to provide immediate relief to nonprofit organizations offering programs and services related to COVID-19. To date, nearly $4,000 has been granted to the ongoing efforts for community response, a majority to address the increasing need for food and meal services. Nonprofit organizations, churches, and schools are encouraged to submit the short application for consideration, which can be found at http://cuw.org/covid-19-response/.

As many unknown factors remain present, County United Way is proud to serve as a nonprofit funding source to take action in response to growing local needs, both immediate and those that will certainly emerge over time. The organization has a rich history in the community as a trusted and valuable partner among human service agencies.

Those wishing to donate to the fund are encouraged to do so either by check (113A South Centre Street, Cumberland) or through the online giving portal (http://cuw.org/covid-19-response/). A text to give option is also available (CUWCOVID to 44-321). All donations are tax-deductible and very much appreciated. h

April 16th The Allegany County Health Department reports that the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Allegany County has risen to 31. This includes additional cases at a nursing home with previously confirmed cases. That facility now has a total of nine patients and four staff members who are fighting the disease. Of the four staff members, one is a Mineral County resident who is not part of the official count for Allegany County.In an unrelated case, a fifth Mineral County resident employed in Allegany County also tested positive for COVID-19. As with all other cases, a contact investigation is underway and individuals who may have been exposed will be notified.It is more important now than ever to practice social distancing and to stay at home as much as possible. Even essential personnel should stay at home if they feel sick. However, recognizing that there are times when Marylander’s must go out for essential items such as groceries, prescriptions, or medical care, Governor Hogan issued an executive order requiring every individual to wear a face covering when going into any retail establishment or when using public transportation. The Allegany County health department is urging residents to comply with the Governor’s order, which goes into effect on Saturday, April 18 at 7:00 a.m.

 Yesterday Governor Hogan announced an executive order which requires the wearing of face coverings when inside any retail or foodservice establishment or when riding any form of public transportation in Maryland. The statewide order goes into effect Saturday, April 18, at 7 a.m.Several counties throughout Maryland had been creating their own face covering policies in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis but, now, with this latest Order, a face covering is a statewide mandateThe Governor’s Order also requires all retail locations in Maryland to put appropriate social distancing measures in place.“More than a week ago we issued guidance and the recommendation on the local level for people in Garrett County to wear a cloth face-covering in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain,” said Garrett County Health Officer, Bob Stephens. “Now, the Governor has issued an executive order to make face coverings a requirement for both customers and employees in retail or foodservice locations and public transportation across the state.”

Wearing a cloth face covering in public is important because CDC’s studies have shown that people who have no symptoms may still be COVID-19 positive and can unknowingly transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. Governor Hogan’s Order defined “Face Coverings” to mean “a covering that fully covers a person’s nose and mouth, but is not a Medical-Grade Mask. The term “Face Coverings” includes, without limitations, scarves and bandanas.”

Although surgical masks and N-95 respirators meet the face covering requirements, everyone is urged to reserve these specific masks for use by health care workers and first responders.

The internet is full of examples of how to make a face covering from bandanas and t-shirts without sewing. There are also many patterns and designs to sew your own if you are crafty. This link, bit.ly/diy-masks, goes to the CDC file that gives several suggested ways to make a face covering, explains how to wear it, and how to take care of it. A bandana, a scarf, or a neck gaiter will also work as a mask. Any cloth used as a mask should be routinely washed. A washing machine will sufficiently clean and sterilize them for the next use.

The public is asked to show their support for the safety of Garrett County by wearing a face covering, snapping a selfie, and sharing it to their social media with the tag #CoverGC.

From WV Governor During his latest daily coronavirus briefing Thursday , Gov. Jim Justice announced that West Virginia has received $625 million in funding from the federal government to assist the State in its ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Governor added that West Virginia will also receive an additional $625 million within the next two weeks, making for a combined federal stimulus total of $1.25 billion.

“All along, I have believed that our President and Congress would do the right thing and get us the money we are going to need to rebuild West Virginia,” Gov. Justice said. “I want to commend President Trump and our all our Congressional delegation for securing this money. We are grateful beyond belief.”

The United States Treasury is expected to issue guidelines tomorrow on how this money can be used by cities, counties, and states.

“I have asked the President to give us, as a State, as well as our counties and cities, more flexibility with how we can use this money to reopen and rebuild,” Gov. Justice said. “We need the flexibility to put this money where it’s needed most to help us rebuild stronger than ever.

“The sooner we have the flexibility to use this money in the ways we need it most, the better we will be,” Gov. Justice said. “This pandemic has done damage in ways that can’t always be seen. It’s thousands of business owners who have laid off their employees. It’s all the cities, municipalities, and counties who are seeing their revenues dry up. It’s our frontline soldiers who are fighting this disease every single day.”
GOV. JUSTICE PARTICIPATES IN CONFERENCE WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP
Gov. Justice’s announcement today came moments after he participated in a videoconference with President Donald J. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and all of the governors across America.

“It was all about ‘Opening Up America Again,’” Gov. Justice said. “There were a lot of guidelines that he’s given us, as states, to open back up. It would be my goal to get us back to work and a life that’s close to the way we were before. But, my number one job is to protect you all as best I possibly can. We will use our experts, we will use the guidelines from the President, we will absolutely use every means possible to make the very best decisions we can possibly make.

“You’ve done great West Virginia, and I’m really proud of you,” Gov. Justice continued. “We’ve led the nation in lots of different ways and I know that’s what West Virginians will always do.”
DHHR TO PROVIDE $69 MILLION TO WEST VIRGINIA HOSPITALS
Gov. Justice also announced that, in order to provide assistance to West Virginia’s hospitals, he has directed the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources to immediately send out $69 million in directed payment program checks to hospitals across the state.

The checks were due to go out in June, but are being sent now to help infuse cash into hospitals as they manage through the pandemic.

“Our community hospitals have done an incredible job in preparing for this virus,” Gov. Justice said. “The fact that they have had to cancel elective procedures has hurt them financially more than anyone knows. We thank them in every way. And, hopefully, these dollars can help our wonderful hospitals bridge the gap during this difficult time.”
GOVERNOR REMINDS WEST VIRGINIANS TO TAKE CENSUS
Once again today, Gov. Justice offered a reminder to all West Virginians to take the opportunity to complete the 2020 United States Census.

“I continue to remind you, in regard to the Census, to be counted,” Gov. Justice said. “We need you to be counted to get real federal dollars to West Virginia.”

Every West Virginian who does not respond to the Census represents a loss of $20,000 in federal funds over the next ten years for the state and its local communities. The funds can go toward things like healthcare, education, infrastructure, school lunch programs, and more.

Respond to the Census online at 2020census.gov.
UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS UPDATE
Gov. Justice also reported that, with 130,000 unemployment claims into Workforce West Virginia since the beginning of March, efforts continue to clear the backlog of claims to provide assistance to West Virginians as quickly as possible.

“We’re doing lots better,” Gov. Justice said. “We’ve had an incredible effort from the National Guard and Workforce. Getting the checks out is getting better – we’re knocking down every roadblock in front of us.

“We’re now taking applications on the phone and immediately turning around and getting checks out to those people and then we’ll go back and true ourselves up as we have to. But these people have got to get their money and got to get their checks.”

Click here for more information on applying for unemployment benefits
WEST VIRGINIA NATIONAL GUARD UPDATE
Today, the West Virginia National Guard (WVNG) received notification for the approval to increase the number of Title 32 Soldiers and Airmen supporting COVID-19 response to 500.

“We are extremely grateful to Governor Justice for taking quick action to request an increase of Title 32 authorizations for West Virginia National Guard personnel supporting COVID-19 response,” said Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, adjutant general of the WVNG. “Not only does it underscore the Governor’s commitment to our force, but it also affords our service members the benefits they so desperately require during this ongoing pandemic.”

Since beginning operations in support of the state’s COVID-19 response 34 days ago, the WVNG has completed 414 missions through four lines of effort of operationalizing the event, stabilizing the population, providing logistical movement of critical supplies and conducting data analysis to combat the virus. Currently, 619 members of the WVNG are on duty serving the citizens of the State of West Virginia.

The West Virginia National Guard took several additional new actions today in support of the State’s COVID-19 response. Click here to read more.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Click here to view all Executive Orders and other actions taken by Gov. Justice to combat the spread of COVID-19 in West Virginia.

For more information about COVID-19 prevention and more, call the State’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-887-4304 or visit Coronavirus.wv.gov.

ACPS encourages and highly recommends that parents wear masks/cloth face coverings during meal and/or packet pickups to help fight the spread of the new coronavirus.  In a recommendation released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity, and they would recommend wearing a mask or cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. The recommendation is less about preventing the wearer from contracting the coronavirus themselves than it is about limiting asymptomatic people from unknowingly spreading the disease. Wearing cloth masks, the CDC said, could “help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.”

April 15th The Allegany County Health Department reports that two additional Allegany County residents have tested positive for COVID-19. One is a male in his 40s, and the other is a male in his 50s. Neither of them have required hospitalization. A total of 555 Allegany County residents have been tested for COVID-19. Of those, 514 were negative, 22 have tested positive, and 19 tests are still pending. None of Allegany’s 22 confirmed COVID-19 cases have resulted in death. However, the Maryland Department of Health’s online state case map is assigning the death of a Carroll County nursing home patient as an Allegany County fatality based on the decedent’s address of permanent record. The COVID-19 case itself was attributed to and counted in Carroll County where the nursing home is located.“As of April 15, 2020 the state of Maryland is assigning deaths from COVID-19 to the address of permanent record, which may not be the same as an individual’s current residence. In this case, even though the individual lived in another county in a nursing facility, the permanent residence was listed as Allegany County,” explained Dr. Jennifer Corder, Medical Deputy Health Officer for Allegany and Garrett Counties. “This individual did not die in Allegany County or receive care here, and was living in another county when diagnosed with COVID-19. So, while the state lists this as an Allegany County death, this person is not among the 22 confirmed cases reported in Allegany County.”According to state health officials, while attribution data on COVID-19 cases and deaths are considered preliminary and are subject to change, each confirmed case and each confirmed death within the State of Maryland will only be counted once.

MD Governor Larry Hogan today announced that Maryland is now in a position to plan the gradual rollout of the state’s recovery phase amid “very real reasons for hope and optimism,” laying out four building blocks for a recovery plan:

Expanding testing capacity
Increasing hospital surge capacity
Ramping up supply of PPE
Building a robust contact tracing operation
“Fortunately, because of the early and aggressive actions and because of the extraordinary sacrifices of Marylanders, we are now in a position to move from containment and mitigation to planning the gradual rollout of our recovery phase,” said Governor Hogan. “There are some very real reasons for hope and optimism right now and there is clearly a light at the end of this tunnel, but exactly how and when we will get to that light is going to be up to each and every one of us. Right now while our numbers are still climbing and we are still heading up that curve, not down, it is absolutely critical for Marylanders to stay home, to continue avoiding crowds and gatherings, and to aggressively practice social distancing.”

BUILDING BLOCKS FOR RECOVERY PHASE: Governor Hogan announced that over the last several weeks, state officials have been consulting with doctors and public health experts serving on the Coronavirus Response Team to develop a roadmap for the reopening of Maryland and the state economy.

Testing. Governor Hogan announced that Maryland has expanded testing capacity by more than 5,000 percent in the past month and the state is on track with an aggressive plan to more than triple current capacity to perform up to 10,000 tests per day.
The State of Maryland recently secured an additional 40,000 tests, including 30,000 that will utilize Abbott m2000 testing machines.
Today, the state entered into a separate agreement with Abbott Labs to acquire a substantial number of antibody tests.
Hospital Surge. Governor Hogan announced that the state’s efforts to increase hospital surge capacity by 6,000 beds is weeks ahead of schedule and highlighted additional progress.
In partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the state is converting the Hagerstown Correctional Facility and the former Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park to serve COVID-19 patients. The latter site is near the highest concentration of positive coronavirus cases in Montgomery County.
Construction of a surge response tent at Adventist’s Fort Washington Hospital, located in a region of Prince George’s County with a high concentration of COVID-19 cases, is near completion.
60 additional response tents are being set up in Frederick, Jessup, Hagerstown, Annapolis, Baltimore, Germantown, and Randallstown.
PPE. Governor Hogan announced that a multi-agency task force is leading efforts to ramp up the state’s supply of personal protective equipment (PPE).
In the past week, the state received one million additional face shields and 1,000 ICU beds.
In the next week, the state is expecting deliveries of 4.5 million additional N95 masks, 290 oxygen concentrators, and 252 ICU ventilators.
Contact Tracing. Governor Hogan announced plans to build a robust contact tracing operation that will enable the state to investigate every positive case and ensure that those patients are remaining in isolation for the duration of their illness.
The State of Maryland currently has approximately 250 people conducting contact tracing statewide.
Plans are underway to quadruple this force to at least 1,000 dedicated contact tracers by utilizing additional state employees and outside contractors.

FACE COVERINGS ORDER: Governor Hogan announced an executive order which requires the wearing of face coverings when inside any retail establishments or when riding any form of public transportation in Maryland. The order also requires all retail locations to require staff to wear face coverings and requires those businesses to put appropriate social distancing measures in place. To give retailers time to make these adjustments, the order will go into effect Saturday, April 18 at 7 a.m. The CDC has issued detailed guidance and instructions regarding homemade cloth face coverings which can be found at coronavirus.maryland.gov.

STRIKE TEAMS UPDATE: Governor Hogan announced that statewide strike teams, which have become a national model, have now responded to outbreaks in 16 nursing homes and assisted living facilities and 15 group homes for medically fragile children. In partnership with FEMA and HHS, Maryland has augmented these strike teams with three federal Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMAT) made up of physicians, paramedics, and safety officers.

CAPITAL REGION COLLABORATION: Governor Hogan has convened a teleconference with Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser on Friday to discuss regional issues and collaboration. The three leaders issued a joint statement on March 23 regarding their regional partnership.

SHAREHOLDER MEETINGS: Governor Hogan has enacted an emergency order allowing public companies incorporated in Maryland to delay shareholder meetings, or convert previously scheduled in-person meetings to be virtual meetings.

PRESERVING THE SUPPLY OF NECESSARY DRUGS: Governor Hogan has enacted an emergency order to put restrictions on the dispensing of drugs that may be necessary to treat COVID-19, including hydroxychloroquine.

RECOGNITION OF NATIONAL ASL DAY: Governor Hogan presented a citation to Jimmy Beldon, the Certified Deaf Interpreter for the governor’s press conferences, in recognition of National ASL Day.

All of Governor Hogan’s emergency orders and proclamations are available here https://governor.maryland.gov/covid-19-pandemic-orders-and-…. For COVID-19 resources, including case counts and clinician guidance, visit coronavirus.maryland.gov

PA Governor Tom Wolf announced today that Dr. Rachel Levine, under her authority as Secretary of the Department of Health to take any disease control measure appropriate to protect the public from the spread of infectious disease, signed an order directing protections for critical workers who are employed at businesses that are authorized to maintain in-person operations during the COVID-19 disaster emergency.“This order provides critical protections for the workers needed to run and operate these life-sustaining establishments,” Governor Wolf said. “Businesses across the state have already begun to implement many of these protocols on their own, and we applaud their efforts to protect employees and customers.”

“This order will ensure continuity across all life-sustaining businesses and will further our efforts to protect the health and safety of all Pennsylvanians,” Dr. Levine said. “Together, we can all help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

The order establishes protocols to help employees maintain a social distance during work:

Provide masks for employees to wear during their time at the business, and make it a mandatory requirement while at the work site, except to the extent an employee is using break time to eat or drink, in accordance with the guidance from the Department of Health and the CDC. Employers may approve masks obtained or made by employees in accordance with this guidance;
Stagger work start and stop times for employees when practical to prevent gatherings of large groups entering or leaving the premises at the same time;
Provide sufficient space for employees to have breaks and meals while maintaining a social distance of 6 feet, including limiting the number of employees in common areas and setting up seating to have employees facing forward and not across from each other;
Conduct meetings and training virtually. If a meeting must be held in person, limit the meeting to the fewest number of employees possible, not to exceed 10 employees at one time and maintain a social distance of 6 feet.
Ensure that the facility has a sufficient number of employees to perform all measures listed effectively and in a manner that ensures the safety of the public and employees;
Ensure that the facility has a sufficient number of personnel to control access, maintain order, and enforce social distancing of at least 6 feet;
Prohibit non-essential visitors from entering the premises of the business; and
Ensure that all employees who do not speak English as their first language are aware of procedures by communicating the procedures, either orally or in writing, in their native or preferred language.
Upon discovery of an exposure to a person who is a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19, businesses are also ordered to implement temperature screenings before employees enter the business prior to the start of work and send any employee home who has an elevated temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Sick employees should follow CDC-recommended steps. Employees should not return to work until the CDC criteria to discontinue home isolation are met, in consultation with the health care providers and state and local health departments. Employers are encouraged to implement liberal paid time off for employees who are on home isolation.

Upon an exposure, businesses are also ordered to do the following:

Close off and ventilate areas visited by that individual;
Wait a minimum of 24 hours, or as long as practical, before beginning cleaning and disinfection;
Clean and disinfect all spaces, especially commonly used rooms and shared electronic equipment;
Identify and notify employees who were in close contact with that individual (within about 6 feet for about 10 minutes); and
Ensure that the business has a sufficient number of employees to perform these protocols effectively and immediately.
In addition to the social distancing, mitigation and cleaning protocols, businesses that serve the public within a building or defined area are ordered to implement the following, based on the size of the building and number of employees:

Require all customers to wear masks while on premises, and deny entry to individuals not wearing masks, unless the business is providing medication, medical supplies, or food, in which case the business must provide alternative methods of pick-up or delivery of goods, except individuals who cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition (including children the age of 2 years) may enter the premises without having to provide medical documentation;
Conduct business with the public by appointment only and, to the extent that this is not feasible, limit occupancy to no greater than 50 percent of the number stated on their certificate of occupancy as necessary to reduce crowding in the business and at check-out and counter lines in order to maintain a social distance of 6 feet, and place signage throughout each site to mandate social distancing for both customers and employees;
Alter hours of business so that the business has sufficient time to clean or to restock or both;
Install shields or other barriers at registers and check-out areas to physically separate cashiers and customers or take other measures to ensure social distancing of customers from check-out personnel, or close lines to maintain a social distance between of 6 feet between lines;
Encourage use of online ordering by providing delivery or outside pick-up;
Designate a specific time for high-risk and elderly persons to use the business at least once every week if there is a continuing in-person customer-facing component;
In businesses with multiple check-out lines, only use every other register, or fewer. After every hour, rotate customers and employees to the previously closed registers. Clean the previously open registers and the surrounding area, including credit card machines, following each rotation;
Schedule handwashing breaks for employees at least every hour; and
Where carts and handbaskets are available, assign an employee to wipe down carts and handbaskets before they become available to a new customer.
Failure to comply with these requirements will result in enforcement action that could include citations, fines, or license suspensions. Compliance with the order will be enforced beginning Sunday, April 19 at 8:00 PM.

The governor has directed the following state agencies and local officials to enforce orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic to the full extent of the law:

Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board
Department of Health
Department of Agriculture
Department of Labor and Industry
Pennsylvania State Police
Local officials, using their resources to enforce closure orders within their jurisdictions
“It is vital that we require businesses to practice these common-sense and scientifically proven safety protocols for the protection of workers and the public at-large. And that is what this order does,” said state Senator Tina Tartaglione, Democratic chairwoman of the Senate Labor and Industry Committee. “Many of the measures included in this order were part of legislation that I proposed. I applaud this swift action by Secretary Levine and Governor Wolf to implement these much needed protocols.”

This order follows another order by Dr. Levine providing direction for maintaining and cleaning buildings for businesses authorized to maintain in-person operations under her and Governor Tom Wolf’s life-sustaining business orders announced March 19.Governor Tom Wolf also recommends that Pennsylvanians wear a mask any time they leave their homes for life-sustaining reasons.For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, Pennsylvanians should visit https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/.

WV Gov. Jim Justice joined State health leaders and officials from his administration at the Capitol Complex in Charleston today for a virtual press briefing to once again update the public on the many measures being taken in the interest of protecting the public from the spread of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).On Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced that he has begun to have discussions with medical experts and other officials about transitioning into the next phase of the State’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.While discussions are ongoing, the Governor did say that a main tenant of this so-called “Phase 2” would be to fine-tune the testing process for COVID-19.

“As we begin that transition, and let’s just hope and pray that our curve continues to stay rock solid and drift down, but then let’s say that all of the experts and everyone says we’re moving into an arena to where we might be able to bring people back to work and bring communities back and everything else,” Gov. Justice said. “As we’re doing that, you know things are going to be somewhat different, for sure. We’re not going to be able to rush right back out and get ourselves in a bigger mess than we’ve already been in. We have prevented a catastrophic mess and we don’t want to rush right back out and do things that are going to cause us to have a relapse that would be much greater than what we contended with on the first go around.

“There’s lots and lots of contingencies that are already in the works on how we’re going to be able to go about doing this and, as we get further down the line, we want to be able to test on a widespread basis in a much more dramatic way than we’ve done before.”

“As we come back out again, we need to become much more like a scalpel than like a hammer,” said Dr. Clay Marsh, West Virginia Coronavirus Czar. “Ultimately, we need to have the ability, as the Governor said, to test very broadly. We have to think abundantly and create the resources to enable that.

“Instead of the tests that we do today on COVID, which really test for the genetic appearance for the virus in people, we need to move toward looking at tests that tell whether people have immunity toward the virus and that’s a second type of test that is being developed around the country,” Marsh continued. “When we test and identify people that are COVID positive, we need to, very rapidly, identify those people and their contacts and isolate those people versus everybody so that we can reduce that person-to-person spread.”Dr. Marsh also said that systems would need to be put in place to continue manufacturing a stable supply of personal protective equipment (PPE).“There is a lot that’s being done and a lot to do,” Marsh said. “We are committed to moving as quickly and as safely as possible to get back to work, to get back to school, to get people back together. But, as the Governor has instructed us to do and has been an absolute leader doing, the health and well-being of our citizens, of you, is the primary responsibility.”

GOV. JUSTICE DELIVERS “HERO PAY” TO WEST VIRGINIANS ON THE FRONT LINES
Gov. Justice also announced that checks, valued at $100,000 each, went out to all 55 counties across West Virginia today to allow for men and women on the front lines fighting the spread of COVID-19 to receive “Hero Pay” for their service to the state.

“We’re just trying to help out people that are really stepping up and trying to do goodness around our state and help our people in every way,” Gov. Justice said. “We want to give our counties, cities, and municipalities as much latitude as we possibly can, but there will be accountability. The recipients will need to send in how they spent the dollars.”

The funds may only be used to cover expenses that are necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic.

PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM BENEFITING WEST VIRGINIANS
Gov. Justice announced Wednesday that many small businesses across West Virginia are seeing relief from President Trump’s Paycheck Protection Program.

As of April 13, 2020, there have been 5,211 loans approved for West Virginia qualified participants, totaling more than $1.05 billion.

“I need to surely pass on thanks, again, for President Trump and his administration for quickly standing up for this,” Gov. Justice said. “They’re trying to get more money pumped into the funding because they’ve been overrun by small businesses that we need to be taking care of because they’re trying to take care of their employees.”
UPDATE ON SCHOOL CLOSURES
During the address, the Governor reiterated that any decisions on re-opening schools will be made with the health and safety of students and teachers as the top priority.

“Never, no way on this planet, am I going to think about putting our students or our teachers back into a school setting until I’ve been advised, over and over, by our experts that we are good to go,” Gov. Justice said.

“You can rest assured that there’s no way on Earth that I’m going to condone going back unless it has absolutely been advised to be over and over that we’re in great shape to be able to do so,” Gov. Justice continued.

ELECTION DAY HOLIDAY PUSHED BACK TO MATCH NEW PRIMARY DATE
Gov. Justice also clarified that the State Holiday that typically accompanies West Virginia’s Primary Election Day has been moved to match the new primary date: June 15, 2020.

For more information on West Virginia’s elections, visit GoVoteWV.com.
DATA REPORTING IMPROVEMENTS UNDERWAY
The Governor also announced that he has directed leaders with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and the West Virginia National Guard to address inconsistencies in the ways that the State has been collecting data on COVID-19 cases.

“We’re bringing in additional resources to amp that up to where our reporting is better, more timely, and accurate,” Gov. Justice said. “I’m not going to tolerate it being inaccurate in any way.”

Data and more information on COVID-19 is available at Coronavirus.wv.gov.

UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS UPDATE
Gov. Justice also announced that the total number of unemployment claims in West Virginia since March 1 has now reached 130,000.

“We’re continuing to try to catch up,” Gov. Justice said. “During that same time period, we would have probably processed 3,000-5,000 cases on a normal basis.

“When you try to jam into a jar something that’s 40 times as much, jamming it into that jar gets difficult,” Gov. Justice continued. “A lot of people have done a lot of really, really good work, there’s no question about that. But, you still have a lot of people who are home, who are hurting, who are waiting on us.”

The Governor announced that officials at Workforce West Virginia anticipate that, with additional staffing already in place, the backlog will be caught up by the end of next week.

WEST VIRGINIA NATIONAL GUARD UPDATE
Since beginning operations in support of the state’s COVID-19 response 33 days ago, the WVNG has completed 388 missions through our four lines of effort of operationalizing of the event, stabilizing the population, providing logistical movement of critical supplies and conducting data analysis to combat the virus. Currently, 602 members of the WVNG are on duty serving the citizens of the State of West Virginia.

Today, members of the Task Force Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive (CBRNE) Response Enterprise (TF-CRE) provided rapid response COVID-19 testing at Riverside Nursing and Rehabilitation Center for patients and staff. To date, TF-CRE and our Task Force Medical personnel have assisted in testing nearly 500 personnel for COVID-19.

For more information about COVID-19 prevention and more, call the State’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-887-4304 or visit Coronavirus.wv.gov

The COVID-19 outbreak can feel overwhelming for many people and communities. Fear and anxiety about a new disease can be stressful. Info on how to cope with mental health, stress, and anxiety available herehttps://phpa.health.maryland.gov/Documents/FAQ_covid19_Maintaining_Mental_Health.pdf

The outbreak of COVID-19 can feel overwhelming for people and communities. Fear and anxiety about a disease, especially a new virus, can be stressful.

There are online resources to support you. Please reach out if you need help. Text 741-741. It’s Free, Confidential And Available 24/7.

Starting April 17, all eligible for benefits ending week of April 4 receive an extra $600/week, see: Fed Pandemic Unemployment Compensation mdunemployment.com

MD Dept. of Health releases the latest data on MD’s COVID-19 cases every morning 10am, broken down by age, gender, race, and zip code: coronavirus.maryland.gov

Gov. Hogan announced a new registry “COVIDConnect” a community platform where recovered COVID patients can share experiences w/ others! Sign up at https://health.maryland.gov/covidconnect/Pages/Home.aspx

CDC recommends wearing cloth face masks in public settings like grocery stores and pharmacies. Continue 6-foot distancing to slow the spread.

Call your elderly relatives, make an appt to donate blood, give to your local charities! Stay home and help save lives. We’re in this together. https://governor.maryland.gov/marylandunites/

The Annual Friends Aware Ox Roast has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Robert Godfrey with Friends Aware says their staff are still working to serve their clients and can still use community support. If you are making masks consider donating some to Friends Aware. You can also provide monetary support  online  at http://www.friendsaware.org/

The Union Rescue Mission continues to serve the needs of the homeless in our community. David Ziler with the URM says they need spaghetti and spaghetti noodles and monetary donations. He says they serve 200 meals a day. Make a donation online at https://www.urmcumberland.org/

You Count! Every person is worth $1,825 a year in federal funds. That’s $18,250 in ten years. If you fail to fill out your Census Survey, your community loses that funding. Take 10 minutes, fill out your 2020 Census Survey because YOU count. If you’ve already completed the survey, Thanks! To find out more log on to 2020census.gov

The CARES Act also includes direct payments to the American people to help make ends meet during this crisis. Individuals making up to $75,000 ($150,000 for married workers) will receive payments of $1,200 with an additional $500 payment per child under age 17. The payments decrease for workers who earn more than $75,000 per year and stop altogether for single workers making more than $99,000 ($198,000 for married workers and $218,000 for a family of four.)These rebates will be delivered by mail to Americans who file individual federal income tax returns, or via electronic direct deposit in place of a physical check when available.  If you are a Social Security recipient, you will receive your checks automatically. You do NOT need to file a simple tax return to receive your check. The IRS has released a timeline regarding the distribution of these payments. 

  • Week of April 13th — The IRS will make direct deposits to Americans for those who provided direct deposit information on their 2018 or 2019 tax returns.
  • Week of May 4th — The IRS will begin issuing paper checks to Americans at a rate of 5 million per week.

The MarylandHealth Benefit Exchange — Maryland’s health insurance marketplace — continues to hold its special enrollment period through June 15th. Marylanders without health insurance can sign up and get access to coverage.  Find more information https://www.marylandhealthconnection.gov/coronavirus-sep/

The Cumberland YMCA  is in need of continued support as well  to continue to serve the community daily. Thanks to your ongoing support, we help where we can: child care for essential employees, critical care needs for the homeless population, well checks for our seniors and blood drives through the American Red Cross  https://www.cumberlandymca.org

April 14th The Allegany County Health Department reports that 20 Allegany County residents have now tested positive for COVID-19. The two most recent cases involve a school-aged male child who is recovering at home and a male in his 20s who has not required hospitalization.

The Mineral County Health Department has received confirmation of a sixth case of COVID-19 in Mineral County. The resident is employed in Allegany County and a joint investigation is ongoing with the Allegany County Health Department The health department continues to urge residents to stay at home except to go out for essential supplies, prescriptions, and medical appointments. If you must go out, maintain social distancing and cover your nose and mouth with a face covering. For information on how to make a DIY face covering, go to https://www.cdc.gov/

To better protect the public, Hampshire County Health Officer, Dr. Thomas Daugherty, signed an order for additional restrictions due to COVID-19 effective immediately.No groups greater than 5, hotel/motels cannot rent a room for less than 14 days, businesses selling mostly food must limit 2.5 people per 1000 square feet, other businesses must limit 2 people per 1000 square feet. Minimal exceptions are outlined in the order.Please view the entire order at www.hampshirecountyhealthdepartment.com

April 13th The Allegany County Health Department reports that an 18th Allegany County resident has tested positive for COVID-19. The patient is a male in his 80s.Of those, six have required hospitalization. In addition, three Mineral County residents who work in Allegany County are confirmed cases.

As of April 12, 2020, the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) reports a total of 93 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including one inmate death, within its system:
• 18 inmates
• 47 correctional officers
• 3 Division of Parole and Probation employees
• 22 contractual staff
• 1 clinical health employee
• 2 administrative employees
The Department recorded its first death related to the COVID-19 virus on Saturday.
DPSCS extends its deepest sympathy to the loved ones of the inmate who succumbed to the disease.
The following is a summary of the confirmed COVID-19 cases for correctional facilities

In MD

Number of Confirmed Cases: 8,936
Number of negative test results: 42,815
Number of Deaths: 262
Hospitalizations: 1,975 ever hospitalized
Released From Isolation: 603

MD Dept. of Health releases the latest data on MD’s COVID-19 cases every morning 10am, broken down by age, gender, race, and zip code: coronavirus.maryland.gov

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) reports as of 5:00 p.m., on April 13, 2020, there have been 16,748 laboratory results received for COVID-19, with 633 positive, 16,115 negative and nine deaths.These are considered official numbers reported to the state, which will in turn, be reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Medical providers and laboratories are required to report positive test results to DHHR.Delays may be experienced with the reporting of cases and deaths from the local health department to the state health department. It’s not uncommon for the local level to report case numbers first and then officially report it to the state.CONFIRMED CASES PER COUNTY: Barbour (4), Berkeley (98), Boone (1), Braxton (1), Brooke (3), Cabell (24), Fayette (2), Grant (1), Greenbrier (3), Hampshire (5), Hancock (7), Hardy (2), Harrison (28), Jackson (30), Jefferson (51), Kanawha (85), Lewis (2), Logan (8), Marion (38), Marshall (6), Mason (10), McDowell (6), Mercer (8), Mineral (5), Mingo (1), Monongalia (81), Monroe (1), Morgan (6), Nicholas (2), Ohio (23), Pendleton (1), Pleasants (1), Preston (6), Putnam (12), Raleigh (6), Randolph (4), Roane (2), Summers (1), Taylor (4), Tucker (4), Tyler (3), Upshur (3), Wayne (19), Wetzel (3), Wirt (2), Wood (19), Wyoming (1).As case surveillance continues at the local health department level, it may reveal that those tested in a certain county may not be a resident of that county, or even the state as an individual in question may have crossed the state border to be tested. Such is the case of Kanawha and Monongalia counties in this update.

A dashboard is available at www.coronavirus.wv.gov with West Virginia-specific data, including new information on the health status of COVID-19 positive patients and other information.

WV Gov. Jim Justice Monday announced that he has directed the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources to issue a one-time, $500 payment to current recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), also known as WV WORKS, as part of the state’s ongoing response to COVID-19.

WEST VIRGINIANS REMINDED TO BE COUNTED IN CENSUS
Also today, Gov. Justice reminded all West Virginians that responding to the 2020 United States Census is vital to the future of the state and is extremely important when federal funds are dispersed across the country.

“I can’t tell you just how important it is for each and every West Virginian to be counted,” Gov. Justice said. “There are so many programs that we receive federal funds for and what we get is directly tied to our officially recorded population via the Census.”

Residents can complete their official Census registration by either responding to the mailing you should have received in the past month, by going online at 2020census.gov or by calling 844-330-2020 (English), 844-468-2020 (Spanish) and 844-467-2020 (TDD Telephone Display Device).

WEST VIRGINIA NATIONAL GUARD MOBILIZING MASK SANITIZING TRAILER; DEVELOPING PPE SOLUTIONS
Gov. Justice announced today that the West Virginia National Guard has put together a mobile sanitizing trailer that can be deployed across the state to sanitize N-95 masks using FDA approved hydrogen peroxide vapors. This method can sanitize N-95 masks up to 20 times and we are able to process 1,500 masks every three hours.

The Governor also announced that a network of West Virginians have come together to begin developing more of these N-95 masks. The West Virginia National Guard, in collaboration with researchers from West Virginia University, and our colleges and community and technical colleges, have developed a solution to address the critical personal protective equipment shortage.

After working on a prototype, the National Guard stood up a Task Force to coordinate the production of PPE throughout the state. Total daily production could reach as high as 2,500 masks, with the ultimate goal of being able to produce enough masks for every West Virginian.

NEW GUIDELINES FOR FOOD TRUCKS AT REST AREAS
Gov. Justice also announced that, in response to the United States Department of Transportation suspending its prohibition on food trucks at federally funded rest areas, the West Virginia Division of Highways has set guidelines allowing for food trucks at rest areas as a temporary measure to ease the burden on truck drivers during the ongoing pandemic.

WORK PROCESSING UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS CONTINUES
The Governor also reported today that the State is continuing to work toward processing all of the 120,000 unemployment claims that have been filed through Workforce West Virginia since the beginning of March.

 “Over 62,000 West Virginians have already received the extra $600 from the CARES Act and this represents more than $37 million in extra unemployment benefits for those West Virginians.

EXECUTIVE ORDER SIGNED FOR SPEECH LANGUAGE PATHOLOGISTS AND AUDIOLOGISTS
Gov. Justice also signed an Executive Order today at the request of the West Virginia Board for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology that gives the board discretion to waive the five-day limitation on out-of-state licensees practicing speech-language pathology and audiology in West Virginia.

WEST VIRGINIA NATIONAL GUARD UPDATE

TF-CRE will provide training to 29 retail establishments today on proper cargo, box handling and PPE wear. So far, TF-CRE has trained nearly 400 stores and 1,341 personnel while also assisting with COVID-19 drive through testing lanes at six locations across the Mountain State. Drive through testing support will expand to Hampshire County starting tomorrow.

Our mission of supporting the most vulnerable populations in the state continues to make an impact and in the last 24 hours we delivered more than 4,000 meals through our refrigerated trucks to Pleasants, Ritchie, Barbour, Gilmer and Wetzel Counties. In addition, we packed 579 family boxes at the Mountaineer Food Bank. We will be delivering more meals today through our refrigerated trucks to Wirt, Webster, Tyler and Boone Counties.

Task Force Sustainment, the team dedicated to moving critical PPE supplies and running supply chain logistics for COVID-19 response, is working with our agency partners at the Department of Health and Human Resources and Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to streamline plans for PPE distribution throughout the state. We continue to work with the West Virginia Healthcare Association to address any shortfalls in long-term care facilities, as well.

The number of personnel supporting the Workforce West Virginia mission remains the same and 10 of our service members are undergoing training to begin processing unemployment claims this week. Additionally, 17 members of the WVNG worked on Easter to answers calls and help address the backlog for those needing unemployment assistance.

Our data analysts working with DHHR’s regional epidemiology teams were able to support six contact tracing engagements to track the spread of COVID-19 in West Virginia.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
For more information about COVID-19 prevention and more, call the State’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-887-4304 or visit Coronavirus.wv.gov.

US Congressman David Trone (MD-06) announced that eight colleges in Maryland’s 6th District – Montgomery College, Frederick Community College, Hood College, Mount Saint Mary’s University, Hagerstown Community College, Allegany College of Maryland, Frostburg State University, and Garrett College – would receive federal funds allocated by Congress through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).At least half of the funding allocated to these colleges through the CARES Act must be distributed to students in the form of emergency cash grants that will help students pay for basic essentials, including food and housing. Institutions can also use a portion of the money to help recover from any financial losses they might have incurred because of the coronavirus“We cannot forget about our students and cash-strapped colleges and universities during this global pandemic,” said Trone, the only member of the Maryland Delegation on the House Education and Labor Committee. “These funds will help educational institutions in Maryland’s 6th District with the economic fallout from the coronavirus and ensure that we support students during these unprecedented times.”

View the amounts each college received https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/allocationsforsection18004a1ofcaresact.pdf

Locally those funds Include  the Total Allocation Minimum Allocation to be Awarded for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students

Allegany College Of Maryland $1,494,165     $747,083

Frostburg State University $3,925,040     $1,962,520

 Garrett College             $504,992         $252,496

 U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced the potential for$66,559,082 from the U.S. Department of Education for Higher Education Institutions West Virginia. Specifically, the funding, which was made possible following President Donald J. Trump’s signing of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), can provide direct emergency cash grants to college students who have been directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic though the discretion of their university or college.

As Valley Health concludes another week of system-wide COVID-19 planning and mobilization, leaders feel as prepared as possible for an anticipated regional surge in cases.“We began tracking the spread of Coronavirus in late January, updating and adapting our existing pandemic plans to address this particular circumstance,” said Iyad Sabbagh, MD, Valley Health Chief Physician Executive. “By February our system-wide team was meeting regularly with numerous subgroups focusing on specific challenges. The virus’s delayed presence in our community afforded us the benefit of observing its behavior, learning from our peers in other communities, and adapting best practices to our situation,” Sabbagh said.Valley Health created a command structure to ensure that key functions and considerations were addressed to meet the primary objective of protecting staff and patient safety and service quality at its six hospitals, three long-term care facilities, inpatient rehabilitation center, over 50 medical practices and Urgent Care centers, home health agencies, and medical transport service. Changes system-wide have substantially reduced interactions between patients, visitors, volunteers, staff and physicians.

“Over the last few weeks we have focused our efforts on protecting our patients, staff, and the community,” said Valley Health President and CEO Mark H. Merrill. “We have postponed non-emergent surgical and diagnostic services to limit the chance of exposure and preserve our PPE supplies. We have implemented a phone triage line to guide those who have COVID-19 symptoms, a telehealth platform so that our Valley Health physician practices can, whenever possible, see patients without an office visit, and opened four respiratory care clinics to provide safe follow-up for COVID-19 suspicious individuals. We now implore our community to stay home. Avoiding contact with others is the most effective way to mitigate the spread of this virus.”

Valley Health 10,000 Mask Challenge Achieves Halfway Mark

Hospitals nationwide are facing shortages of personal protective equipment, or PPE. While staff on the front lines of COVID-19 patient care must wear N95 masks, the CDC recently endorsed the use of fabric masks to extend the life of PPE supplies in other patient care areas. Anticipating potential shortages and the uncertainty of supply chain promises, Valley Health launched an ambitious community challenge on April 6 to collect 10,000 hand-sewn facemaks in just two weeks. Five days later, the project has already passed the halfway point!

One local business has used its substantial inventory and strong connections with the sewing community to good use. Cindy Toney, who with Kathy Shifman co-owns Cloth Peddler in Stephens City, draws on a family tradition of community involvement, made all the more poignant because her daughter, SusanLessar, Valley Health’s Director of Nutrition Therapy and Integrated Support Services, and her son-in-law, pulmonologist Jeff Lessar, MD, both work at Winchester Medical Center.

While most of the masks donated so far have come from individual sewers, more than ten people donated fabric. Susan asked if the Cloth Peddler would cut donated fabric to make mask kits, which took the effort to a new dimension. Volunteers, including the Lessar children, have assembled several hundred kits containing fabric, elastic and directions to make 10 masks each. Toney encourages interested sewers to visit Cloth Peddler for kits, and assures they will receive more elastic by Tuesday.

“It’s a good way to help the community, and offers people something to do,” Toney said. “I like to think everybody comes together in a difficult time to help each other.”

Toney and project coordinator Jenny Grooms, Interim Executive Director of Valley Health Foundations, encourage community members who have gotten kits from the hospital to return completed masks to the hospital so they can be washed and ready for use as soon as possible.

“Difficult times really do bring out the best in people! The outpouring of community support that Valley Health has received from our communities has been both humbling and inspiring,” Grooms said. “We are so thankful for people’s willingness to share their time and talents by donating supplies, making masks and continuing to help us exceed our community challenge.”

Surgical Services UpdateValley Health announced a further change to surgical services this week. For the safety of patients, providers and staff across the region, and in an effort to maximize the supply of PPE and anesthetic agents, all surgical and endoscopic procedures not previously postponed will now be performed at Winchester Medical Center. Patients who have surgeries or endoscopies scheduled at other Valley Health facilities will be contacted by their physician’s office.We remain focused on ensuring that patients receive the care they need while limiting the risk to other patients, providers and staff, maintaining adequate levels of PPE to serve our region, and mitigating the spread of coronavirus in our community,” said Merrill. For more information on COVID-19 updates, visit www.valleyhealthlink.com/COVID19.

Since the executive orders issued by MD Governor Larry Hogan to only allow essential businesses to continue operations during the COVID-19 pandemic Hunter Douglas,with the exception of few temporary closures, has remained open and operational. According to a statement from Jessie Lison-Brooks with Margrino PR, “Hunter Douglas is a long-standing member of the Cumberland community and as such, the health and safety of our Cumberland-based employees and their families is always in the forefront of our minds.To-date we have implemented substantial measures designed to ensure the wellness of our employees. We follow all COVID-related safety recommendations from health authorities, including the Center for Disease Control and World Health Organization. The steps we have taken include: (1) extensive social distancing measures, both in work stations and common areas, (2) increasing the extent and frequency of cleaning and disinfecting—especially in “high touch” areas, (3) regularly communicating wellness and safety tips, (4) severely restricting visitors, and (5) providing clear directives to employees to stay home if they have a fever or any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or have come into close contact with people who have such symptoms or who have tested positively. We are also providing masks for all employees to use while they are at work.All employees whose functions allow them to effectively work from home are allowed to work from home. For positions that require their activities to be performed on-site, all employees work on a voluntary basis – – we are not requiring any employee who feels uncomfortable about coming in for work to do so.The Hunter Douglas Cumberland facility was closed on Wednesday, April 7 while we discussed the facility’s operating authorization status with the applicable authorities. The situation was resolved the facility has been reopened. Wednesday’s closure was not, however, related to any form of known COVID contamination or as a result of any diagnosed COVID condition at the Cumberland facility.Hunter Douglas greatly appreciates our employees and partners now more than ever. The COVID-19 crisis poses significant and rapidly-changing challenges to all of us, and Hunter Douglas will do its best to adapt to the changing conditions and support its employees in every way possible.

Reminder from MD Government: Starting April 17, all eligible for benefits ending week of April 4 receive an extra $600/week, see: Fed Pandemic Unemployment Compensation mdunemployment.com

Allegany County Government announced the award of emergency funding for the county’s small business community created by the Allegany County Commissioners at their March 26, 2020 business meeting. The Commissioners approved funding so that businesses could have immediate funding to pay rent, mortgages, or utility costs while they were awaiting state and/or federal funding. “Through this program, we were looking to rapidly assist businesses in keeping the lights on and their rent or mortgage paid,” commented Commission President Jake Shade. “This money was to act as a bridge between the here and now and when the state and federal funding began to flow.”Within days of launching the program, nearly 170 local businesses applied for up to $2,500 in grant funding. The first round of funding was mailed to businesses late last week with the remaining being mailed out to recipients this week. In total, the Commissioners were able to access over $100,000 in emergency funds for the program. In all, 86 local businesses representing approximately 51% of the total applicants will receive funds for their immediate building or utility costs.

“We were able to stretch the dollars in order to provide the maximum benefit to these businesses,” added Shade.

The 86 funded businesses employ 630 employees (230 full-time and 400 part-time). Of the 86 businesses:

· 32 were local food service establishments / restaurants
· 18 retail establishments
· 22 service-related businesses
· 4 medical-related businesses
· 10 tourism supporting / experience driven businesses

For more information on local, state, and federal resources regarding COVID-19, please visit http://resources.inallegany.org.

Since the executive orders issued by MD Governor Larry Hogan to only allow essential businesses to continue operations during the COVID-19 pandemic Hunter Douglas,with the exception of few temporary closures, has remained open and operational. According to a statement from Jessie Lison-Brooks with Margrino PR, “Hunter Douglas is a long-standing member of the Cumberland community and as such, the health and safety of our Cumberland-based employees and their families is always in the forefront of our minds.To-date we have implemented substantial measures designed to ensure the wellness of our employees. We follow all COVID-related safety recommendations from health authorities, including the Center for Disease Control and World Health Organization. The steps we have taken include: (1) extensive social distancing measures, both in work stations and common areas, (2) increasing the extent and frequency of cleaning and disinfecting—especially in “high touch” areas, (3) regularly communicating wellness and safety tips, (4) severely restricting visitors, and (5) providing clear directives to employees to stay home if they have a fever or any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or have come into close contact with people who have such symptoms or who have tested positively. We are also providing masks for all employees to use while they are at work.All employees whose functions allow them to effectively work from home are allowed to work from home. For positions that require their activities to be performed on-site, all employees work on a voluntary basis – – we are not requiring any employee who feels uncomfortable about coming in for work to do so.

The Hunter Douglas Cumberland facility was closed on Wednesday, April 7 while we discussed the facility’s operating authorization status with the applicable authorities. The situation was resolved the facility has been reopened. Wednesday’s closure was not, however, related to any form of known COVID contamination or as a result of any diagnosed COVID condition at the Cumberland facility.Hunter Douglas greatly appreciates our employees and partners now more than ever. The COVID-19 crisis poses significant and rapidly-changing challenges to all of us, and Hunter Douglas will do its best to adapt to the changing conditions and support its employees in every way possible.

April 13th The Allegany County Health Department reports that 17 Allegany County residents have tested positive for COVID-19. Of those, six have required hospitalization. In addition, three Mineral County residents who work in Allegany County are confirmed cases.

Garrett County Public Schools Announces New Timeline for the Continuity of Learning Plan Officials at GCPS have heard from a number of parents and families that the learning activities and assignments previously distributed in Phase 2 of the Continuity of Learning Plan take a considerable amount of time for students and require a lot of help from parents. Officials want you to know they understand that this is adding stress to some families during this difficult time. In an effort to address this, and again try to calm anxiety, the Elementary Packets for Phase 3 of the Continuity of Learning Plan will contain fewer assignments and will not be distributed until Friday, April 24, 2020. By changing this date, elementary students will gain an additional week to make direct contact with their teachers, have the opportunity to determine any individual adjustments that may be needed, and to allow additional time to work toward completion of the packets. This change will also align with the next middle and high school pickup timelines so that families will not need to make multiple trips.In addition, we have also heard from a number of parents that the packets could be better organized. To address this, we will ensure that the pages are aligned, numbered when possible, and are not copied front-to-back. We feel like this will make the packets more user friendly and simpler for our youngest students to complete the activities. Please be assured that the goal of the GCPS Continuity of Learning Plan is to offer learning opportunities for each child. It was never our intention to cause undue stress or anxiety during this incredibly difficult time. Please continue to be patient as this is a new way of learning for all of us. The teachers and all of the GCPS staff who support learning are working to ensure that our students have the tools needed to stay engaged. If for any reason you feel that you or your child does not have these tools and resources or if you need an extension, a revision, or a waiver for the included assignments, please do not hesitate to reach out to your teachers and/or your principal.

 US Congressman Trone: US Congressman David Trone (MD-06) announced that eight colleges in Maryland’s 6th District – Montgomery College, Frederick Community College, Hood College, Mount Saint Mary’s University, Hagerstown Community College, Allegany College of Maryland, Frostburg State University, and Garrett College – would receive federal funds allocated by Congress through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). At least half of the funding allocated to these colleges through the CARES Act must be distributed to students in the form of emergency cash grants that will help students pay for basic essentials, including food and housing. Institutions can also use a portion of the money to help recover from any financial losses they might have incurred because of the coronavirus. “We cannot forget about our students and cash-strapped colleges and universities during this global pandemic,” said Trone, the only member of the Maryland Delegation on the House Education and Labor Committee. “These funds will help educational institutions in Maryland’s 6th District with the economic fallout from the coronavirus and ensure that we support students during these unprecedented times.” View the amounts each college received https://www2.ed.gov/…/allocationsforsection18004a1ofcaresac…

Locally those funds Include the Total Allocation Minimum Allocation to be Awarded for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students

Allegany College Of Maryland $1,494,165 $747,083

Frostburg State University $3,925,040 $1,962,520

Garrett College $504,992 $252,496

The Pennsylvania Department of Aging has launched an online COVID-19 resource guide to help older adults easily find useful information related to their health, safety and well-being. The guide is housed on the department’s website under “COVID-19 Resource Guide for Older Adults” and provides older adults, their families and caregivers with information on a variety of subjects, including meals, prescriptions, protective services, scams, and how to stay active and connected. “The Department of Aging’s top priority is to ensure that the needs of older Pennsylvanians are being met. This online guide presents an overview of the resources that can help older adults maintain their health and safety during this critical time,” Aging Secretary Robert Torres said. “Our department will continue to monitor these essential needs and make any changes required in our effort to provide uninterrupted services.” In addition to the COVID-19 resource guide, the department has offered guidance for aging services to help meet the needs of older Pennsylvanians while maintaining safety. This guidance, along with all of the programs that the Department of Aging provides, can be found HEREhttps://www.aging.pa.gov/…/covid-guide-for-older-adults.aspx

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today unveiled a one-stop-shop of federal programs that can be used by rural communities, organizations and individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide (PDF, 349 KB) is a first-of-its-kind resource for rural leaders looking for federal funding and partnership opportunities to help address this pandemic.https://www.rd.usda.gov/…/USDA_COVID-19_Fed_Rural_Resource_…“Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities preparing for and impacted by COVID-19,” Perdue said. “This resource guide will help our rural leaders, whether they are in agriculture, education, health care or any other leadership capacity, understand what federal assistance is available for their communities during this unprecedented time.” USDA has taken many immediate actions to assist farmers, ranchers, producers, rural communities, and rural-based businesses and organizations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information on these actions, visit www.usda.gov/coronavirus.

The Allegany County Health Department reports that there are now 14 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county. This includes three cases at a local long-term care facility. Two staff members and one resident of a nursing home have tested positive for COVID-19. The health department and nursing home are working together to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in the facility.The Allegany County Health Department also reports that another Allegany County resident have tested positive for COVID-19, the twelfth case in the county. The patient is a female in her teens and has not required hospitalization.It is more important now than ever to practice social distancing and to stay at home as much as possible. Even essential personnel should stay at home if they feel sick.The Mineral County Health department announced a fourth positive case of COVID-19 Grant County Health officials announced the first positive case in Grant County A 5th Hampshire County case was confirmed in Hampshire as well. Investigation is underway and contacts will be notified. Bedford County PA has had five cases including one death.Somerset County has had 12 cases.

MD Governor Larry Hogan announced Friday that the state is instituting a budget and hiring freeze amid estimates that Maryland is facing a projected $2.8 billion shortfall due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The governor also announced that he has directed the Maryland Department of Labor to take steps to bolster the state’s unemployment insurance process to handle an unprecedented surge in claims.

BUDGET ACTIONS. After Comptroller Peter Franchot announced a potential $2.8 billion shortfall in the coming months, Governor Hogan outlined a series of budget actions:

Budget freeze. Effective immediately, all agencies must stop discretionary purchases of items or services not related to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic or necessary to support core agency functions.Hiring freeze. Effective Monday, April 13, all vacant positions in the executive branch of state government will be frozen with the exception of those currently subject to COVID-19 response pay. Budget restrictions. The Office of Budget Analysis will be sending state agency budget reduction targets for FY 2021 within the next two to three weeks.The governor also announced that it is unlikely any bills that require increased spending will be signed into law. In addition, the state will be tapping into and spending much, perhaps even all, of the state’s Rainy Day Fund.

UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS PROCESS. Governor Hogan directed the Maryland Department of Labor to take action to bolster the unemployment insurance process to handle the unprecedented surge in claims. While over 94 percent of claims are currently processed online, aggressive steps are being taken to improve service for those who attempt to file by phone.

The Maryland Department of Labor is in the process of more than doubling staffing at claims center across the state, and will expand call center hours to Saturdays.Starting next Friday, everyone eligible for benefits ending the week of April 4 will begin receiving an additional $600 per week as part of the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program on top of current regular benefits. Marylanders will begin to see the increase in their next regularly scheduled payment.
The Maryland Department of Labor is also partnering with a vendor to expedite and streamline the implementation of additional programs under the CARES Act:Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program or PUA, which will expand eligibility to those who are self-employed, independent contractors, gig workers, those who have insufficient work history, and more. These individuals can visit mdunemployment.com and enter their email address to be notified directly as soon as this program is available.
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which will allow Marylanders currently receiving benefits, as well as newly approved claimants, an additional 13 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits.
REGISTRY FOR RECOVERED PATIENTS. Governor Hogan announced the launch of COVIDConnect, a new registry for Marylanders who have recovered from COVID-19. This registry will serve as a community platform to share experiences and lend support to others who are coping with the recovery process. COVIDConnect will also provide opportunities for these recovered patients to learn about potential research or clinical studies that may contribute to scientific progress in the treatment of COVID-19 through vaccine testing or medication trials. To become part of this new registry, recovered coronavirus patients can visit health.maryland.gov/covidconnect.

EXPANSION OF STRIKE TEAMS. Governor Hogan announced that the state has expanded its strike teams for nursing home facilities to include assisted living facilities and group homes for medically fragile children.

LARGE-SCALE TESTING INITIATIVE. Governor Hogan announced that the state is investing $2.5 million in a joint partnership with the University of Maryland School of Medicine to provide the technology to launch a large-scale COVID-19 testing initiative. Read the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s release.

NEW DECONTAMINATION SITE FOR PPE. The Maryland Department of Transportation, in coordination with FEMA, is setting up a new site at BWI Marshall Airport to decontaminate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The site will give Maryland the ability to clean and sterilize up to 80,000 N95 masks per day.

JUNE 2 PRIMARY. Governor Hogan executed a proclamation to ratify the State Board of Elections’ comprehensive plan to hold the June 2 primary by mail. While the board’s plan requires select polling places for those unable to vote by mail, the governor urged all Marylanders who can vote by mail to cast their ballot by mail.

REMOTE WITNESSING. Governor Hogan enacted an emergency order today to allow wills, powers of attorney, and advance directives to be witnessed remotely, i.e. by video conference. Currently, the law requires witnesses to be physically present when these documents are signed.

All of Governor Hogan’s emergency orders and proclamations are available here https://governor.maryland.gov/covid-19-pandemic-orders-and…/. For COVID-19 resources, including case counts and clinician guidance, visit coronavirus.maryland.gov.

The Garrett County Commissioners would like to remind anyone who travels to the county, from outside the state, is required to self-quarantine for 14 days.Over the past month, all of the local emergency service organizations have been working to collaborate and organize COVID-19 response efforts in Garrett County. The ultimate goal is to lessen the potential impact on the local rural healthcare infrastructure.The interpretation and guidance for these response organizations, from the Governor’s office, is as follows:Commuters To/From Adjacent States, and Persons Transiting Maryland. In connection with the announcement of the Order, Governor Hogan stated that persons traveling into Maryland from anywhere outside Maryland are required to self-quarantine for 14 days. This is not expected of persons who regularly commute into Maryland from an adjacent state or the District of Columbia, or vice-versa, unless such persons should otherwise self-quarantine under applicable CDC or MDH guidance (for example, because of recent travel to the New York/Tri-State area);It is not deemed essential travel to come to Garrett County for the weekend. Visitors, or second homeowners returning for the summer season, should not come to the county unless they self-quarantine for 14 days.This quarantine requirement does not apply to commuters, as referenced above, or to those traveling for essential services. For example, West Virginia residents can travel to Garrett County for food or medicine. Also, Garrett County residents can travel to appointments in West Virginia and will not be stopped by State Troopers unless there is a motor vehicle violation.“We are asking for understanding and cooperation from all of our citizens and visitors. It is imperative that we all try to lessen the potential for our hospitals to be overwhelmed,” said Paul Edwards, Chair of the Board of Garrett County Commissioners.For community members with medical questions regarding Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), please utilize the Garrett County Health Department website https://garretthealth.org/coronavirus or telephone hotline at 301-334-7698.For emergencies please dial 911.

The full Maryland congressional delegation, including U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger, John P. Sarbanes, Andy Harris, M.D., Anthony G. Brown, Jamie B. Raskin and David Trone, today announced the award of $742,225,306 for Maryland hospitals and health care providers through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (PHSSEF). Created through the CARES Act, this program was designed to enable health care providers to cover the costs of responding to COVID-19.“Maryland’s hospitals and health care providers are taking extraordinary steps to protect public health and save lives,” said the delegation. “Cost constraints and the need to operate within existing funding structures must not inhibit their ability to respond effectively. Future distributions from this emergency fund must be allocated in a transparent manner, ensuring that all of Maryland’s hospitals have the resources they need, including those in emerging hotspots such as the Baltimore-Washington Corridor, and should recognize the essential role of other health care providers who treat vulnerable and low-income populations.”Approximately $400 million will be allocated to hospitals and $342 million to outpatient health care providers. These awards represent Maryland’s share of the initial $30 billion awarded nationwide today. Congress allocated a total of $100 billion for the program, the remainder of which will be disbursed at a later date.Through the CARES Act, Maryland has also received $15.6 million for community health centers announced Wednesday and $48 million to Maryland local governments announced by the delegation last week. Separately, the delegation has announced a total of $17.1 million in CDC funding through the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act to support the Maryland health system .

ACPS is offering mental health support services. If you need to contact your child’s school counselor, mental health counselor, pupil personnel worker, school psychologist, or behavior specialist, you may email them directly. If you do not have access to email and need to get in touch with any of the service providers, you should call the school and the staff will forward the message to the appropriate personnel to call you back.If your child has been receiving any services at school, the service provider will be contacting you and your child soon. If anyone in your home is having a crisis, you should contact the National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255. There is also a national text line, advertised as follows: “Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor. We’re here to help.”

The Moorefield Town Council has decided to proactively close the Town Park. In order to help prevent social congestion, which increases the risk of spreading the coronavirus, access is being denied to all areas except for the walking and/or jogging trail. Patrons may park in the vacant lot across from Dr. Thorne and Keplinger’s dental office. Thank you in advance for your understanding. Please practice social distancing and stay safe.

Abuse is about power and control. When survivors are forced to stay in their home or in close proximity to their abuser more frequently, an abuser can exert more control over their victim– including during a national health concern such as COVID-19.If you are experiencing an unsafe situation, Family Crisis Resource Center, Inc. is available to support you – whether through safety planning, discussing options, or linking you with community resources. Agency staff continue to work to ensure survivors have access to the support and services they need. To reach an advocate, please call their 24/7 hotline at 301.759.9244.

From ACHD: The Allegany County Health Department reports that a ninth Allegany County resident has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual is a male in his 50s who has not required hospitalization.

From AC HD: The Allegany County Health Department reports that an eighth Allegany County resident has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual is a female in her 40s who has not required hospitalization.

The Hampshire County Health Department has been notified of two positive cases of COVID-19 in Hampshire County residents. We are currently investigating these cases. If you are a contact we will notify you. Please be patient as we gather the information in these cases.

MD Governor Larry Hogan today toured the state’s field hospital site at the Baltimore Convention Center, where he announced additional actions to slow the spread of COVID-19. Actions the governor announced today in Baltimore City include:

New strike teams to help nursing home facilities in need of additional support
A new executive order empowering local health departments to shut down any business, establishment, or construction site it deems unsafe
The release of additional demographic breakdowns of Maryland case data, including hospitalization rates and mortality
The governor also announced that the White House and federal officials have now designated the Baltimore-Washington corridor as an emerging hotspot.

“This virus continues to spread in every single jurisdiction in the state, but the concentration of Maryland cases has rapidly intensified particularly in the Baltimore-Washington corridor,” said Governor Hogan. “Over the past two weeks I have been sounding the alarm with the president, the vice president, members of the president’s task force, and other top administration officials, and I’m pleased to report that we have succeeded in convincing the Trump administration to designate the greater Baltimore-Washington corridor as a priority.”

Below is a comprehensive list of actions and updates the governor announced today:

STRIKE TEAMS FOR NURSING HOMES: Governor Hogan announced the formation of statewide strike teams, the first such effort in the nation, to provide support to nursing home facilities. The teams will be composed of members of the National Guard, representatives of local and state health departments, and EMS clinicians, as well as doctors and nurses from local hospital systems. These strike teams will be activated in response to requests from nursing homes, local health departments, and Maryland Department of Health (MDH) infectious disease experts. There will be three types of teams:

Testing teams, to identify those in close contact with a confirmed case, and collect and send out specimens for the fastest test available.
Assistance teams, to quickly assess the situation on-site, determine equipment and supply needs, and triage residents.
Clinical teams, which will include doctors, nurse practitioners, and registered nurses from major hospital systems, tasked with providing on-site medical triage and stabilizing residents.
SHUTTING DOWN UNSAFE FACILITIES: Governor Hogan has issued a new executive order empowering local health departments to take action against any businesses, establishments, and construction sites they deem unsafe. The local health department, working with local law enforcement, can modify operations, limit movements to and from the facilities, or shut them down altogether. Read the governor’s order.

BALTIMORE-WASHINGTON CORRIDOR: After weeks of pressing for action, Governor Hogan announced that top federal officials have agreed to designate the greater Baltimore-Washington corridor as a priority and emerging hotspot. This includes Baltimore City and Baltimore County, as well as Anne Arundel, Calvert, Carroll, Charles, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s, and Queen Anne’s counties.

RELEASE OF ADDITIONAL DEMOGRAPHIC DATA: Governor Hogan has directed MDH—through the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities—to immediately take all actions necessary in order to provide further demographic breakdowns on race and ethnicity for all case data, including hospitalization rates and mortality. This week, MDH’s coronavirus resource page, coronavirus.maryland.gov, will begin displaying available data on racial and ethnic breakdown of COVID-19 cases, with updates as new data becomes available.

BALTIMORE CITY EFFORTS: Governor Hogan announced that the state will continue to support Baltimore City’s efforts to fight COVID-19, including the field hospital site, where COVID-19 patients who no longer require hospitalization will be able to complete their care and fully recover. The state will continue to provide support to the Baltimore Police Department as needed, and help stand up the community-based screening site at the Pimlico race course.

HOSPITAL SURGE UPDATE: Governor Hogan provided an update on the state’s hospital surge plan, announcing that the state has—on an emergency basis—approved 27 newly licensed assisting living programs, 42 residential sites for individuals with developmental disabilities, six newly licensed residential service agencies to provide home-based services, and 14 newly licensed clinical laboratories.

MARYLAND UNITES: Governor Hogan also encouraged Marylanders to donate and volunteer through the Maryland Unites initiative, saying, “While social distancing keeps us physically isolated from one another, there are so many examples of how in many ways this crisis is bringing Marylanders closer together with compassion and generosity.” Thousands of Marylanders have already answered the governor’s calls to action by registering for the Maryland Responds Reserve Medical Corps, making appointments to give blood, and donating to the Maryland Food Bank and other critical organizations.

PA Governor Tom Wolf ordered commonwealth flags on all commonwealth facilities, public buildings and grounds fly at half-staff until further notice to honor the victims of the 2019 novel coronavirus pandemic.“Too many Pennsylvanians have lost their lives to COVID-19, and, unfortunately, many more will die,” said Gov. Wolf. “Already we have lost friends, parents, grandparents, and siblings. We have lost first responders. We have lost community members. Each of these Pennsylvanians is irreplaceable. Each deserves to be honored individually for their contributions to our commonwealth, but this cruel disease will not give us a respite to mourn.“This virus prevents us from honoring the dead at traditional gatherings. We cannot have funerals, wakes, or sit shiva. I hope this flag lowering provides some solace to the grieving families and friends. And, I hope it serves as a reminder of the reason for the sacrifices Pennsylvanians are making to help their community survive this crisis.”Commonwealth flags should be lowered to half-staff until a date to be announced after the pandemic passes. All Pennsylvanians are invited to participate in this tribute.

The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), in partnership with the Maryland Department of Health (MDH), and the Maryland Department of Information Technology (DoIT), today launched the Maryland Coronavirus (COVID-19) Rumor Control Page. Marylanders are encouraged to visit the page at Bit.ly/Md-Covid19-Rumors.“As part of the State Response to COVID-19, MEMA stood up its Joint Information Center to provide the right information to the right people at the right time so they can be empowered to make the right decisions,” said Jorge E. Castillo, MEMA’s spokesperson. “We have been dispelling rumors and providing factual information since then, and we want Maryland residents to be able to participate in the process by helping us identify rumors and false information that could unnecessarily cause panic or worse, result in decision making that could lead to severe injuries or even death.”Maryland COVID-19 Rumor Page
Maryland’s Rumor Page allows visitors to:

Read through several existing rumors and find the correct information in a variety of topics, including
The Novel Coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19
Maryland and Federal Government Orders
Supplies
School / Education
Subscribe to updates to be notified immediately once a new rumor has been identified and dispelled.
Ask a question.
See a digest of trusted sources and see their latest and most relevant social media posts in real time.
Share the page easily to Facebook, Twitter, email, and more.
“If you see something, say something,” continued Castillo. “You can say it by clicking on the Submit a Rumor button on the right side of the page.”

Allegany College of Maryland (ACM) announced that the college’s Maryland campus and extension sites will not be open to nonessential employees, prospective and current students, and the community until after Maryland Governor Hogan’s current Order Number 20-03-30-01 is lifted. The college will follow a similar approach at its Pennsylvania campus and extension site in concert with the Commonwealth’s Stay-At-Home directive. ACM will continue with remote delivery of student services. Students and community members with questions may mail info@allegany.edu for assistance. ACM will postpone its Spring 2020 commencement exercises for its Cumberland and Bedford County Campuses until August. New commencement dates and further information about the awarding of degrees will be provided to eligible students as soon as possible.

The Allegany County Health Department reports that a seventh Allegany County resident has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual is a male in his 60s who has not required hospitalization.In addition, the Mineral County Health Department has reported a third positive case that a Mineral County resident who is employed in Allegany County has tested positive for COVID-19. The county health departments are working together to identify any potential persons who may have had close contact with the individual. The Allegany County Health Department and Allegany County Government report the following update on local COVID-19 testing to date:

Allegany County residents tested positive for COVID-19   -7
Allegany County residents tested negative for COVID-19   -379
Allegany County residents with COVID-19 results pending  -26
Total Allegany County residents tested for COVID-19   -412

Garrett County Health Department today reported a fourth positive COVID-19 case in the county.  The fourth case is a woman in her 20s who traveled outside of the area. She followed the Governor’s guidelines and has self-isolated since her return, and is currently recovering at home. Total COVID-19 testing numbers for Garrett County residents as of Monday, April 6th, are as follows:

154 – specimens processed
4 – total positive results for Garrett County residents
100 – negative results for Garrett County residents
50 – pending tests results
2 – of the positive cases have recovered and have been released from isolation
1 – of the positive cases remains isolated at home
1 – of the positive cases remains hospitalized

Please note that under current procedures, local health departments are only notified of results on the individuals who reside in their county. Interested community members can go to this link from Johns Hopkins University https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html to zoom in on the local region to see red dots indicating positive COVID-19 cases and numbers in surrounding counties. The recommendation to wear a cloth face covering was recently added to a growing list of measures the public is asked to take to slow the spread of COVID-19. Other recommendations include:

• Stay at home
• Only go out for essential reasons
• If you go out for an essential reason, maintain 6-feet social distancing
• Wash hands frequently and use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available
Wearing a cloth face covering is important in locations where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as restaurants with carryout or drive thru options, grocery stores, pharmacies, and medical settings. The CDC’s studies show that people who have no symptoms may still be COVID-19 positive and can unknowingly transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. The recommended cloth face coverings are NOT surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

For more information about covering your face, or to view a video from the U.S. Surgeon General on how to make an easy homemade mask without needing to know how to sew, visit bit.ly/covid-19-answers.

Accurate COVID-19 information is critical to the community. For the most current and accurate information about the situation, please refer to the following:

●​Health Department COVID-19 Dashboard: garretthealth.org/covid-19-information/. Local information as well as links to State and National resources.
●​Health Department Frequently Ask Questions Page: bit.ly/covid-19-answers
●​Garrett County COVID-19 Medical Hotline: 301-334-7698
●​Garrett County Government’s COVID-19 Page: garrettcounty.org/covid-19
Please call 911 only for medical emergencies, not for coronavirus information or questions.

WV Gov. Jim Justice joined State health leaders and officials from his administration at the Capitol Complex in Charleston today for a virtual press briefing to once again update the public on the many measures being taken in the interest of protecting the public from the spread of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).He also confirmed the state’s fourth death attributed to COVID-19, an 85-year-old male from Harrison County with underlying conditions. “Please join Cathy and me as we think about those who have passed and remember them, and their family and friends, in our prayers…we miss them.” A Workforce West Virginia employee has also tested positive, according to Gov. Justice and that employee has been isolated at home and other measures have been put in place to monitor other Workforce employees.

WORKFORCE WV UPDATE:

Gov. Justice also reported that Workforce West Virginia, with assistance from the West Virginia National Guard, is now operating their call center 24/7 with additional personnel at various locations so that the phone calls and backlog of claims are being addressed.

Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, Adjutant General of the WVNG, said that during the “next couple of days” the claims process should show marked improvement.

workforcewv.org

WEST VIRGINIA NATIONAL GUARD UPDATE
Today, the West Virginia National Guard has nearly 500 Soldiers and Airmen on duty supporting COVID-19 response efforts across the state. As of today, additional members of the West Virginia National Guard are assisting Workforce West Virginia to increase capacity for the state to process unemployment claims and assist our citizens in need during this difficult time. This number will increase to nearly 30 by mid-week with the establishment of up to four call centers across the state, thanks to assistance by West Virginia University’s customer care center staff.

This morning, our Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Response Enterprise (CRE) task force assisted CAMC, Kanawha-Charleston Health Department and Kanawha Count Ambulance Authority in COVID-19 testing of 124 residents and 25 staff from Eastbrook Center. In addition, this team of experts will train an additional nine establishments in proper cargo, box handling, and PPE wear today. So far, this task force has trained 75 stores and 364 personnel.

Our communications team, in conjunction with Marshall University and West Virginia University, tested network capabilities for telehealth initiatives in Wharton last week and Hundred today, where connectivity is sparse. Last week’s test was successful in providing connectivity in some of West Virginia’s hardest to reach areas, which could provide access to telehealth for populations across the state. This team spent the weekend providing assistance at St. Francis Hospital to rewiring of phone lines as former office spaces are turned into COVID-19 treatment rooms.

In the last 24 hours, the West Virginia National Guard, in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Resources, conducted 77 contact tracing and data analysis engagements for the tracking of COVID-19 spread and performed 17 expedited specimen transfers to the state lab.

We are also continuing our mission of supporting the most vulnerable populations in the state and in the last 24 hours our refrigerated trucks assisted with the delivery of 2,700 meals to Pleasants, Ritchie, Barbour and Gilmer Counties.

West Virginia Guardsmen and women are preparing and distributing hand sanitizer to locations across the state today. Support to partner agencies through providing traffic control for drive through testing facilities in Huntington and Grafton is ongoing and we will begin assisting in Wyoming and Mingo Counties this week. Additionally, personnel will provide assistance at St. Francis Hospital this week in the conversion of space to support COVID-19 patients.

UPDATE FROM COVID-19 CZAR:

COVID-19 Czar Dr. Clay Marsh indicated that new modeling being done by the University of Washington shows that the surge in West Virginia, once projected at around May 4 is now April 15 and that the number of projected deaths has changed from 500 to between 150-170.

“We’re doing great but now is certainly not the time to become complacent, doubling down on what we’ve been doing really helps,” Dr. Marsh said. “But it’s time for us to do even better. I implore you not to be satisfied with this. Remain personally responsible for the safety of your family, your community and your first responders.”
DHHR DETAILS DASHBOARD INFORMATION, PROMOTES TELEPHONE HELPLINES:

State Health Officer Dr. Cathy Slemp spoke about the information dashboard that has been set-up at coronavirus.wv.gov to keep the public updated with accurate data and encouraged citizens to use the site to stay informed.

Gov. Justice lauded the DHHR’s efforts and noted that the most recent information posted to the dashboard showed 345 confirmed positive cases out of 9,940 tests that have been conducted, reflecting that West Virginia’s positive rate is at 3.47 percent.

“We are pacing significantly lower than the rest of the nation, except for Minnesota,” said Gov. Justice. “Now we know this pandemic is rough stuff and it’s truly devastating that we have lost four of our residents, but we’ve got to just keep doing the right things, keep social distancing, keep washing our hands.

“We’re doing the right things out there, and while social distancing helps keep your physical help don’t forget about mental health as well,” Sec. Crouch said. He indicated that new information is being added frequently to the coronavirus.wv.gov website including guidance on stress and coping, protective guidance for non-healthcare settings, and guidance for hotels, motels, and other lodging facilities.
COVID-19 WEBSITE UPDATES:

Find these resources at: coronavirus.wv.gov

Under the “Behavioral Health” tab
Guidance on Stress and Coping
Provides tips for reducing stress for parents and caregivers, children, and responders.
Under the “Public” tab
Protective Guidance for Non-Healthcare Settings
Updated with CDC guidance for use of face masks in public.
Under the “Travel” tab
Guidance for Hotels, Motels, and Other Lodging Facilities
Preventative actions for hotel workers, information on out of state travelers and more.
Almost all applications for the benefits DHHR offers can be made online through www.WVPATH.org.

You can also find ways to access local resources in your area by finding the contact info for your county’s Family Resource Network at www.WVFRN.org.
FEDERAL DISASTER DECLARATION APPROVED FOR STATE BY PRESIDENT TRUMP

Gov. Justice also thanked President Trump for approving a disaster declaration for the state on Friday that will provide direct financial assistance to help West Virginia communities recover from the impacts of COVID-19.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
For more information about COVID-19 prevention and more, call the State’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-887-4304 or visit Coronavirus.wv.gov. workforcewv.org

Due to the challenging climate during the current coronavirus pandemic, UPMC Western Maryland has made a push in recent weeks to educate patients about the benefits of telemedicine, which is the practice of caring for patients remotely when the provider and patient are not physically present with each other.
“Depending upon the need, our providers have used either telephone or video technology to see patients safely and securely where they want to be seen,” said Jeff O’Neal Executive Director of Clinics and Practices, Behavioral Health at UPMC Western Maryland.
All providers (urgent care, primary care, specialists) have increased their use of virtual visits. Virtual visits provide continued access to care and keep the providers and staff in contact with patients, especially those who are more vulnerable and come with a higher risk. Virtual visits also provide for the clinical management of patients.
During the pandemic, all office visits that are routine, non-urgent and non-emergent should be completed via a virtual visit. “Our goal is to meet the needs of our patients without bringing them into the office unnecessarily,” O’Neal said, adding, “however, if the patient has symptoms that the provider does not feel can be addressed by telephone or video, an office visit is still appropriate.”
Across the nation, the coronavirus pandemic has put the spotlight on telemedicine, bringing it to areas that had previously seen limited use. “Prior to COVID-19, we used telemedicine pretty infrequently due to a combination of patient and provider preferences,” O’Neal said.
UPMC Western Maryland anticipates that the increased utilization of this technology will continue after the pandemic, as more patients will have experienced the convenience of virtual visits. For example, on March 31 alone, UPMC Western Maryland provided 231 virtual visits.
Telemedicine has many advantages. No travel is involved so it is more convenient for the patient, even without the current COVID-19 pandemic precautions, lowers the exposure of the patient to other viruses and illnesses.
The disadvantage is that not all patients have access to the technology (smartphone, tablet, PC) and bandwidth (broadband, WiFi, cellular data service) to support two-way audio and video. Any televisit solution requires the patient to download an app, which can be challenging for patients unfamiliar with the technology. “We try to make it as easy as possible to establish the visit, and UPMC Western Maryland providers and staff are ready and willing to assist with the virtual visit connections,” said Michael Barth, Information Technology Coordinator. “The process is made as convenient as possible.”
At UPMC Western Maryland, the patient downloads an app called VidyoMobile on their smartphone or can use a computer with a microphone and camera. The provider or their staff sends an email to the patient containing a link to the provider’s “room”. The patient simply clicks on the link, and the Vidyo software or app will automatically open and the patient is placed securely in the room with the provider.
It is important to remember that some conditions are easily handled virtually, but some conditions will always require a face-to-face visit. The UPMC Emergency Department remains fully functional at this time, and if an urgent care visit is needed, centers in South Cumberland, Frostburg and McHenry remain open seven days per week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“Our urgent care centers are also utilizing virtual visits where appropriate,” O’Neal said. “Patients are being asked to call the urgent care center first so that the appropriate care setting may be established.” For more information on telemedicine options, patients should consult their primary care provider.

Potomac Highlands Guild Clinic Offices are open and able to help clients through telehealth or by phone with Mental Health, Substance Abuse, Vivitrol MAT clinic, Recovery Coaching, and DUI counseling daily Monday through Thursday 8;30 AM- 4:30 PM. To schedule an appointment call:

a. Grant County call (304) 257-1155

b. Hardy County call (304) 538-2302

c. Mineral County call (304) 788-2241

d. Hampshire County call (304) 822-3897

e. Pendleton County call (304) 358-2351

Or log onto thephg.org This is a time of tremendous stress. Just know that the PHG is here for you, a phone call away. Highly trained physicians, physician assistants, psychologists, therapists and recovery coaches are available to help you through this difficult time

The full Maryland congressional delegation, including U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, John P. Sarbanes, Andy Harris, M.D., Anthony G. Brown, Jamie B. Raskin and David Trone,today announced $6.4 million to support Maryland’s health care system as it responds to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Funding comes through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Combined with the $10.2 million in COVID-19 response funding previously announced by the delegation, Maryland has now received $17.1 million as a result of the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act with more federal support on the way. “As the demands on our healthcare system grow on a daily basis during the COVID-19 crisis, these federal funds will help meet the most immediate needs of Maryland hospitals, health centers, and laboratories on the front lines,” said the delegation. “Working closely with Governor Hogan, Team Maryland will continue to fight for the resources our state urgently needs and to support health care workers throughout Maryland.” Per the CDC, the funding announced today will go toward lab equipment, supplies, staffing, shipping, infection control, surge staffing, monitoring of individuals, and data management. The funding will also supplement an existing cooperative agreement to state jurisdictions through the Emerging Infections Program (EIP) to enhance surveillance capabilities.This funding is allocated by the CDC to states and local jurisdictions identified as having the highest number of reported COVID-19 cases and jurisdictions with accelerating COVID-19 cases. Nationally, more than $186 million will be allocated this week through this funding source “mode”: “force-https”, “pkp_include_subdomains”: false, “pkp_observed”: 0.0, “sts_include_subdomains”: false, “sts_observed”: 1586351856.263621 }, “EWtaK6MtWUIoCqBt+tPWP4TPZyk+JxJPJ3HP5WXj8pU=”: { “dynamic_spki_hashes_expiry”: 0.0, “expiry”: 1600700474.231292, “mode”: “force-https”, “pkp_include_subdomains”: false, “pkp_observed”: 0.0, “sts_include_subdomains”: false, “sts_observed”: 1584975674.231296 }, “EZ+v2tL5eWV6fGbmchjInZS3VDAZUqDFD5x8YYPHbqk=”: { “dynamic_spki_hashes_expiry”: 0.0, “expiry”: 1617109885.568595, “mode”: “force-https”, “pkp_include_subdomains”: false, “pkp_observed”: 0.0, “sts_include_subdomains”: true, “sts_observed”: 1585573885.568601 }, “EvitYHcSSW/56iek4t0FOg5HH5hFP3QJrTmcfMbhIJk=”: { “dynamic_spki_hashes_expiry”: 0.0, “expiry”: 1615556576.679009, “mode”: “force-https”, “pkp_include_subdomains”: false, “pkp_observed”: 0.0, “sts_include_subdomains”: false, “sts_observed”: 1584020576.679014 }, “F8CDsiT0h6lTN4Nqwoyb2wNyqqjWSTsRj/gzlYU3NfY=”: { “dynamic_spki_hashes_expiry”: 0.0, “expiry”: 1617887873.194934, “mode”: “force-https”, “pkp_include_subdomains”: false, “pkp_observed”: 0.0, “sts_include_subdomains”: true, “sts_observed”: 1586351873.19494 }, “FB/MGIGNJX5Y3IWodmfZHvp8xr76hNpLhe6cQqc025I=”: { “dynamic_spki_hashes_expiry”: 0.0, “expiry”: 1612539234.166978, “mode”: “force-https”, “pkp_include_subdomains”: false, “pkp_observed”: 0.0, “sts_include_subdomains”: true, “sts_observed”: 1581003234.166983 }, “FB6VNBARNL4Vdvg871Wtz/6wws17OcX/P86zXeowPx0=”: { “dynamic_spki_hashes_expiry”: 0.0, “expiry”: 1601937398.653526, “mode”: “force-https”, “pkp_include_subdomains”: false, “pkp_observed”: 0.0, “sts_include_subdomains”: true, “sts_observed”: 1570401398.653533 }, “FJRioBW2WMJKPFmLKrU9AbfqC8XIjCbzZVo+WIEgrx8=”: { “dynamic_spki_hashes_expiry”: 0.0, “expiry”: 1617870398.442582, “mode”: “force-https”, “pkp_include_subdomains”: false, “pkp_observed”: 0.0, “sts_include_subdomains”: true, “sts_observed”: 1586334398.44259 }, “FPJO18fhg9mcdcpHQCH7NASC8NiFNNh4V7bx7N9HeOs=”: { “dynamic_spki_hashes_expiry”: 0.0, “expiry”: 1589686538.248959, “mode”: “force-https”, “pkp_include_subdomains”: false, “pkp_observed”: 0.0, “sts_include_subdomaint

The Allegany County Health Department reports that a seventh Allegany County resident has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual is a male in his 60s who has not required hospitalization.In addition, the Mineral County Health Department has reported a third positive case that a Mineral County resident who is employed in Allegany County has tested positive for COVID-19. The county health departments are working together to identify any potential persons who may have had close contact with the individual. The Allegany County Health Department and Allegany County Government report the following update on local COVID-19 testing to date:

Allegany County residents tested positive for COVID-19   -7
Allegany County residents tested negative for COVID-19   -379
Allegany County residents with COVID-19 results pending  -26
Total Allegany County residents tested for COVID-19   -412

Garrett County Health Department today reported a fourth positive COVID-19 case in the county.  The fourth case is a woman in her 20s who traveled outside of the area. She followed the Governor’s guidelines and has self-isolated since her return, and is currently recovering at home. Total COVID-19 testing numbers for Garrett County residents as of Monday, April 6th, are as follows:

154 – specimens processed
4 – total positive results for Garrett County residents
100 – negative results for Garrett County residents
50 – pending tests results
2 – of the positive cases have recovered and have been released from isolation
1 – of the positive cases remains isolated at home
1 – of the positive cases remains hospitalized

Please note that under current procedures, local health departments are only notified of results on the individuals who reside in their county. Interested community members can go to this link from Johns Hopkins University https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html to zoom in on the local region to see red dots indicating positive COVID-19 cases and numbers in surrounding counties. The recommendation to wear a cloth face covering was recently added to a growing list of measures the public is asked to take to slow the spread of COVID-19. Other recommendations include:

• Stay at home
• Only go out for essential reasons
• If you go out for an essential reason, maintain 6-feet social distancing
• Wash hands frequently and use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available
Wearing a cloth face covering is important in locations where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as restaurants with carryout or drive thru options, grocery stores, pharmacies, and medical settings. The CDC’s studies show that people who have no symptoms may still be COVID-19 positive and can unknowingly transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. The recommended cloth face coverings are NOT surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

For more information about covering your face, or to view a video from the U.S. Surgeon General on how to make an easy homemade mask without needing to know how to sew, visit bit.ly/covid-19-answers.

Accurate COVID-19 information is critical to the community. For the most current and accurate information about the situation, please refer to the following:

●​Health Department COVID-19 Dashboard: garretthealth.org/covid-19-information/. Local information as well as links to State and National resources.
●​Health Department Frequently Ask Questions Page: bit.ly/covid-19-answers
●​Garrett County COVID-19 Medical Hotline: 301-334-7698
●​Garrett County Government’s COVID-19 Page: garrettcounty.org/covid-19
Please call 911 only for medical emergencies, not for coronavirus information or questions.

WV Gov. Jim Justice joined State health leaders and officials from his administration at the Capitol Complex in Charleston today for a virtual press briefing to once again update the public on the many measures being taken in the interest of protecting the public from the spread of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).He also confirmed the state’s fourth death attributed to COVID-19, an 85-year-old male from Harrison County with underlying conditions. “Please join Cathy and me as we think about those who have passed and remember them, and their family and friends, in our prayers…we miss them.” A Workforce West Virginia employee has also tested positive, according to Gov. Justice and that employee has been isolated at home and other measures have been put in place to monitor other Workforce employees.

WORKFORCE WV UPDATE:

Gov. Justice also reported that Workforce West Virginia, with assistance from the West Virginia National Guard, is now operating their call center 24/7 with additional personnel at various locations so that the phone calls and backlog of claims are being addressed.

Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, Adjutant General of the WVNG, said that during the “next couple of days” the claims process should show marked improvement.

workforcewv.org

WEST VIRGINIA NATIONAL GUARD UPDATE
Today, the West Virginia National Guard has nearly 500 Soldiers and Airmen on duty supporting COVID-19 response efforts across the state. As of today, additional members of the West Virginia National Guard are assisting Workforce West Virginia to increase capacity for the state to process unemployment claims and assist our citizens in need during this difficult time. This number will increase to nearly 30 by mid-week with the establishment of up to four call centers across the state, thanks to assistance by West Virginia University’s customer care center staff.

This morning, our Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Response Enterprise (CRE) task force assisted CAMC, Kanawha-Charleston Health Department and Kanawha Count Ambulance Authority in COVID-19 testing of 124 residents and 25 staff from Eastbrook Center. In addition, this team of experts will train an additional nine establishments in proper cargo, box handling, and PPE wear today. So far, this task force has trained 75 stores and 364 personnel.

Our communications team, in conjunction with Marshall University and West Virginia University, tested network capabilities for telehealth initiatives in Wharton last week and Hundred today, where connectivity is sparse. Last week’s test was successful in providing connectivity in some of West Virginia’s hardest to reach areas, which could provide access to telehealth for populations across the state. This team spent the weekend providing assistance at St. Francis Hospital to rewiring of phone lines as former office spaces are turned into COVID-19 treatment rooms.

In the last 24 hours, the West Virginia National Guard, in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Resources, conducted 77 contact tracing and data analysis engagements for the tracking of COVID-19 spread and performed 17 expedited specimen transfers to the state lab.

We are also continuing our mission of supporting the most vulnerable populations in the state and in the last 24 hours our refrigerated trucks assisted with the delivery of 2,700 meals to Pleasants, Ritchie, Barbour and Gilmer Counties.

West Virginia Guardsmen and women are preparing and distributing hand sanitizer to locations across the state today. Support to partner agencies through providing traffic control for drive through testing facilities in Huntington and Grafton is ongoing and we will begin assisting in Wyoming and Mingo Counties this week. Additionally, personnel will provide assistance at St. Francis Hospital this week in the conversion of space to support COVID-19 patients.

UPDATE FROM COVID-19 CZAR:

COVID-19 Czar Dr. Clay Marsh indicated that new modeling being done by the University of Washington shows that the surge in West Virginia, once projected at around May 4 is now April 15 and that the number of projected deaths has changed from 500 to between 150-170.

“We’re doing great but now is certainly not the time to become complacent, doubling down on what we’ve been doing really helps,” Dr. Marsh said. “But it’s time for us to do even better. I implore you not to be satisfied with this. Remain personally responsible for the safety of your family, your community and your first responders.”
DHHR DETAILS DASHBOARD INFORMATION, PROMOTES TELEPHONE HELPLINES:

State Health Officer Dr. Cathy Slemp spoke about the information dashboard that has been set-up at coronavirus.wv.gov to keep the public updated with accurate data and encouraged citizens to use the site to stay informed.

Gov. Justice lauded the DHHR’s efforts and noted that the most recent information posted to the dashboard showed 345 confirmed positive cases out of 9,940 tests that have been conducted, reflecting that West Virginia’s positive rate is at 3.47 percent.

“We are pacing significantly lower than the rest of the nation, except for Minnesota,” said Gov. Justice. “Now we know this pandemic is rough stuff and it’s truly devastating that we have lost four of our residents, but we’ve got to just keep doing the right things, keep social distancing, keep washing our hands.

“We’re doing the right things out there, and while social distancing helps keep your physical help don’t forget about mental health as well,” Sec. Crouch said. He indicated that new information is being added frequently to the coronavirus.wv.gov website including guidance on stress and coping, protective guidance for non-healthcare settings, and guidance for hotels, motels, and other lodging facilities.
COVID-19 WEBSITE UPDATES:

Find these resources at: coronavirus.wv.gov

Under the “Behavioral Health” tab
Guidance on Stress and Coping
Provides tips for reducing stress for parents and caregivers, children, and responders.
Under the “Public” tab
Protective Guidance for Non-Healthcare Settings
Updated with CDC guidance for use of face masks in public.
Under the “Travel” tab
Guidance for Hotels, Motels, and Other Lodging Facilities
Preventative actions for hotel workers, information on out of state travelers and more.
Almost all applications for the benefits DHHR offers can be made online through www.WVPATH.org.

You can also find ways to access local resources in your area by finding the contact info for your county’s Family Resource Network at www.WVFRN.org.
FEDERAL DISASTER DECLARATION APPROVED FOR STATE BY PRESIDENT TRUMP

Gov. Justice also thanked President Trump for approving a disaster declaration for the state on Friday that will provide direct financial assistance to help West Virginia communities recover from the impacts of COVID-19.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
For more information about COVID-19 prevention and more, call the State’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-887-4304 or visit Coronavirus.wv.gov. workforcewv.org

Due to the challenging climate during the current coronavirus pandemic, UPMC Western Maryland has made a push in recent weeks to educate patients about the benefits of telemedicine, which is the practice of caring for patients remotely when the provider and patient are not physically present with each other.
“Depending upon the need, our providers have used either telephone or video technology to see patients safely and securely where they want to be seen,” said Jeff O’Neal Executive Director of Clinics and Practices, Behavioral Health at UPMC Western Maryland.
All providers (urgent care, primary care, specialists) have increased their use of virtual visits. Virtual visits provide continued access to care and keep the providers and staff in contact with patients, especially those who are more vulnerable and come with a higher risk. Virtual visits also provide for the clinical management of patients.
During the pandemic, all office visits that are routine, non-urgent and non-emergent should be completed via a virtual visit. “Our goal is to meet the needs of our patients without bringing them into the office unnecessarily,” O’Neal said, adding, “however, if the patient has symptoms that the provider does not feel can be addressed by telephone or video, an office visit is still appropriate.”
Across the nation, the coronavirus pandemic has put the spotlight on telemedicine, bringing it to areas that had previously seen limited use. “Prior to COVID-19, we used telemedicine pretty infrequently due to a combination of patient and provider preferences,” O’Neal said.
UPMC Western Maryland anticipates that the increased utilization of this technology will continue after the pandemic, as more patients will have experienced the convenience of virtual visits. For example, on March 31 alone, UPMC Western Maryland provided 231 virtual visits.
Telemedicine has many advantages. No travel is involved so it is more convenient for the patient, even without the current COVID-19 pandemic precautions, lowers the exposure of the patient to other viruses and illnesses.
The disadvantage is that not all patients have access to the technology (smartphone, tablet, PC) and bandwidth (broadband, WiFi, cellular data service) to support two-way audio and video. Any televisit solution requires the patient to download an app, which can be challenging for patients unfamiliar with the technology. “We try to make it as easy as possible to establish the visit, and UPMC Western Maryland providers and staff are ready and willing to assist with the virtual visit connections,” said Michael Barth, Information Technology Coordinator. “The process is made as convenient as possible.”
At UPMC Western Maryland, the patient downloads an app called VidyoMobile on their smartphone or can use a computer with a microphone and camera. The provider or their staff sends an email to the patient containing a link to the provider’s “room”. The patient simply clicks on the link, and the Vidyo software or app will automatically open and the patient is placed securely in the room with the provider.
It is important to remember that some conditions are easily handled virtually, but some conditions will always require a face-to-face visit. The UPMC Emergency Department remains fully functional at this time, and if an urgent care visit is needed, centers in South Cumberland, Frostburg and McHenry remain open seven days per week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“Our urgent care centers are also utilizing virtual visits where appropriate,” O’Neal said. “Patients are being asked to call the urgent care center first so that the appropriate care setting may be established.” For more information on telemedicine options, patients should consult their primary care provider.

The full Maryland congressional delegation, including U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, John P. Sarbanes, Andy Harris, M.D., Anthony G. Brown, Jamie B. Raskin and David Trone,today announced $6.4 million to support Maryland’s health care system as it responds to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Funding comes through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Combined with the $10.2 million in COVID-19 response funding previously announced by the delegation, Maryland has now received $17.1 million as a result of the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act with more federal support on the way. “As the demands on our healthcare system grow on a daily basis during the COVID-19 crisis, these federal funds will help meet the most immediate needs of Maryland hospitals, health centers, and laboratories on the front lines,” said the delegation. “Working closely with Governor Hogan, Team Maryland will continue to fight for the resources our state urgently needs and to support health care workers throughout Maryland.” Per the CDC, the funding announced today will go toward lab equipment, supplies, staffing, shipping, infection control, surge staffing, monitoring of individuals, and data management. The funding will also supplement an existing cooperative agreement to state jurisdictions through the Emerging Infections Program (EIP) to enhance surveillance capabilities.This funding is allocated by the CDC to states and local jurisdictions identified as having the highest number of reported COVID-19 cases and jurisdictions with accelerating COVID-19 cases. Nationally, more than $186 million will be allocated this week through this funding source.

MD Governor Larry Hogan today enacted an emergency order to protect residents and staff at Maryland nursing home facilities, and bolster the state’s mitigation and suppression efforts amid outbreaks of COVID-19. Effective immediately, new directives will require facilities to direct all staff who interact with residents to wear personal protective equipment, create separate observation and isolation areas for residents, and expedite all testing through the Maryland State Public Health Laboratory.“As we have been saying for several weeks, older Marylanders and those with underlying health conditions are more vulnerable and at a significantly higher risk of contracting, getting more severely ill, and dying from this disease,” said Governor Hogan. “Of major concern is that we currently have cases or clusters of cases at 81 nursing homes and long-term care facilities across the state. Our highest priority is keeping Marylanders safe, and we will use every tool at our disposal to protect the most vulnerable among us.”

On March 10, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) issued strong guidance to long-term and continuing care facilities to restrict visitation and begin implementing infection control protocols. Today’s directives requires nursing home facilities to adjust and strengthen their policies, protocols, and procedures in line with all state and federal guidance related to COVID-19, and immediately adopt a series of enhanced protective measures:

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT FOR STAFF. All personnel who are in close contact with residents of nursing homes shall wear personal protective equipment (PPE), including a face mask, appropriate eye protection, gloves, and gown. The PPE should be worn at all times while providing care to residents in the facility and personnel should follow CDC guidance for using personal protective equipment. Facilities must use the process established by MDH to request PPE from the state.

EXPEDITED TESTING FOR SYMPTOMATIC RESIDENTS. All facilities must use the most expeditious means available for testing. This includes using either a COVID-19 test kit provided by the state laboratory or another lab to send specimens to the state laboratory for expedited COVID-19 testing of residents and staff. Symptomatic residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities are among the patient groups prioritized by the state laboratory, alongside hospitalized patients and symptomatic health care providers and first responders.

SEPARATE OBSERVATION AREAS. All facilities must designate a unit of staff who are assigned to care for known or suspected COVID-19 residents; designate a room, unit, or floor of the nursing home as a separate observation area where newly admitted and readmitted residents are kept for 14 days on contact and droplet precautions while being observed every shift for signs and symptoms of COVID-19; and designate a room, unit, or floor of the nursing home to care for residents with known or suspected COVID-19.

PLACEMENT OF DISCHARGED PATIENTS. MDH’s Office of Health Care Quality will assist acute care hospitals, if necessary, in discharging patients who require nursing-home level care. Facilities must cooperate with the Office of Health Care Quality and hospitals in the placement of discharged patients.

RIGHT OF RETURN FOR RESIDENTS. Nursing home residents admitted or seen at a hospital for COVID-19 must be allowed to return to the nursing home as long as the facility can follow the approved CDC recommendations for transmission-based precautions. If the residents must temporarily go to other facilities, every effort must be made by the receiving and original nursing homes to transfer the residents back to their original nursing homes as soon as possible.

Governor Hogan’s order makes compliance with these directives mandatory. Anyone who knowingly and willfully violates this order is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding one year, or a fine not exceeding $5,000—or both.

Under her authority as PA Secretary of the Department of Health to take any disease control measure appropriate to protect the public from the spread of infectious disease, Dr. Rachel Levine signed an order providing direction for maintaining and cleaning buildings for businesses authorized to maintain in-person operations under her and the governor’s life-sustaining business orders announced March 19.

According to the Building Safety Measures order, “Cleaning, disinfecting, and other maintenance and security services performed by building service employees are critical to protecting the public health by reducing COVID-19 infections in the commonwealth.”

“Based upon the manner of COVID-19’s spread in the commonwealth and in the world, and its danger to Pennsylvanians, I have determined that the appropriate disease control measure is the direction of building safety measures as outlined in this order to prevent and control the spread of disease,” Dr. Levine wrote.

The measures outlined in the order are for owners of buildings of at least 50,000 square feet used for commercial, industrial or other enterprises, including but not limited to facilities for warehousing, manufacturing, commercial offices, airports, grocery stores, universities, colleges, government, hotels, and residential buildings with at least 50 units.

In addition to maintaining pre-existing cleaning protocols, the order outlines these new protocols:

Clean and disinfect high-touch areas routinely in accordance with CDC guidelines, in spaces that are accessible to customers, tenants, or other individuals.
Maintain pre-existing cleaning protocols established in the facility for all other areas of the building.
Ensure that the facility has a sufficient number of employees to perform the above protocols effectively and in a manner that ensures the safety of occupants and employees.
Ensure that the facility has a sufficient number of security employees to control access, maintain order, and enforce social distancing of at least 6 feet, provided the security employees are otherwise responsible for such enforcement.
The order goes into effect at 12:01 a.m., April 6.

WV Gov. Jim Justice announced that he has signed an Executive Order for Monongalia, Harrison, and Kanawha counties as COVID-19 continues to spread. This Executive Order expands the order issued last evening for Berkeley, Jefferson, and Morgan counties.

“Right now, 38% of the COVID-19 positive cases in West Virginia are in these three counties,” Gov. Justice said. “If you add in Berkeley, Jefferson, and Morgan counties, its 62% of all the positive cases in our state.

“I have been monitoring this situation all day and decided to take this action tonight after my medical experts advised me that these counties are the next areas where community clusters may soon develop. The additional measures I took yesterday for the Eastern Panhandle need to be applied to these counties as well. Today, we had reports of crowds at stores with the nice spring weather, but to stop the spread of COVID-19 we MUST stay at home as much as possible and we MUST remember to socially distance when we go out for necessities. The stay-at-home order and the guidelines by our medical experts need to be taken very seriously at this time.

“Again, I am going to continue to do everything in my power to protect the health and safety of all West Virginians.”

The Order expands to Monongalia, Harrison, and Kanawha counties and gives broad authority to their local health departments.

Provisions of the Executive Order include:
Limiting groups to a maximum of 5 people.
Directing ALL businesses to require employees to work from home to the maximum extent possible. 
Directing the Local Health Departments to establish the maximum occupancy of and proper social distance within essential businesses and taking action to enforce these health regulations. 
Directing the West Virginia National Guard to provide logistical support and services to assist county agencies.
Directing the West Virginia State Police to assist with enforcement of local county orders.
The Governor has directed his medical experts to continue to work with local health departments throughout West Virginia to ensure each county has the tools they need to best respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
For more information about COVID-19 prevention and more, call the State’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-887-4304 or visit Coronavirus.wv.gov.

From Allegany County Transit: Transit officials are asking everyone riding their vehicles to wear a mask, scarf, or any cover over your nose and mouth for your protection and the protection of transit employees.

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to study the spread and effects of the novel coronavirus across the United States, the local recommendations are updated upon receiving new insights. Some recommendations to slow the spread of COVID-19 stay the same:
Stay at home
Only go out for essential reasons
If you go out for an essential reason, maintain 6-feet social distancing
Wash hands frequently and use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available
Now, other recommendations have been added, such as the recommendation to wear a cloth face covering in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. 
Wearing a cloth face covering in these locations is important because CDC’s studies are showing that people who have no symptoms may still be COVID-19 positive and can unknowingly transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. 
This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms. 
Locations where these transmissions could happen include places such as restaurants offering carryout or drive thru, grocery stores, pharmacies, and medical settings.
The recommendation for the asymptomatic general public is to use a cloth face-covering fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost such as:
Bandanas
Neck gaiters
Old t-shirts or cotton fabric
The recommended cloth face coverings are NOT surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.
One risk of wearing any kind of face covering is that the outside surface becomes contaminated. It is important to be very careful taking off the face covering, and putting it back on if you are reusing it. Thoroughly wash hands past the wrists each time you touch the face covering.
Visit bit.ly/covid-19-answers for access to a video from the U.S. Surgeon General on how to make a homemade mask that requires no sewing and can be made in less than 3 minutes. Future opportunities to help with a volunteer effort to make masks may become available and will be posted at that location as well. 
For community members with medical questions regarding COVID-19, please utilize the Garrett County Health Department websitegarretthealth.org/coronavirus or telephone hotline at 301-334-7698.
For emergencies please dial 911.
By Garrett County Joint Information Center Team

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) today confirmed 21 new cases of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have been officially reported to the state, making the total positive case count 345.As of April 6, 2020, at 10:00 a.m., 9,940 residents have been tested for COVID-19, with 345 positive, 9,595 negative and three deaths.DHHR is the official reporting agency for COVID-19, which in turn provides official case numbers to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Medical providers and laboratories are required to report positive test results to DHHR.   The data in the daily reports include all known positive cases but underreports the total number of individuals tested as not all laboratories are able to electronically submit negative test results.CONFIRMED CASES PER COUNTY: Barbour (2), Berkeley (54), Cabell (7), Greenbrier (3), Hancock (6), Hardy (2), Harrison (25), Jackson (16), Jefferson (22), Kanawha (56), Lewis (1), Logan (6), Marion (17), Marshall (5), Mason (4), Mercer (4), Mineral (2), Monongalia (53), Morgan (3), Ohio (15), Pendleton (1), Pleasants (1), Preston (4), Putnam (8), Raleigh (4), Randolph (3), Roane (2), Taylor (1), Tucker (3), Upshur (1), Wetzel (2), Wirt (1), Wood (11). As case surveillance continues at the local health department level, it may reveal that those tested in a certain county may not be a resident of that county, or even the state as an individual in question may have crossed the state border to be tested.  Such is the case of Ohio and Preston counties today. A new dashboard is available at www.coronavirus.wv.gov with West Virginia-specific data and other information.

The Maryland Department of Aging is providing a free senior call check. Call 1-866-50-CHECK or register online at agining.maryland.gov and a daily call will be made to those 65 and older to verify your well-being at a time scheduled at your convenience. Register today or tell a loved one about the program.

The Allegany County Health Department reports that an Allegany County resident has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual is a male in his 60s with underlying medical conditions who is currently hospitalized. The patient recently traveled to a neighboring state.Upon notification of a positive case, the Allegany County Health Department begins a contact investigation. During the contact investigation, the Health Department conducts interviews to determine where the patient has been and who he has been in contact with. The Health Department then notifies all individuals who came in contact with the patient while he was infectious. Individuals who came in contact with the patient must self-isolate or quarantine for 14 days.Health officials stress that community members should stay home and only go out for essentials. Continue to practice social distancing, wash your hands often, avoid touching your face, disinfect high-touch surfaces, and stay away from others if you are not feeling well. If you are seeking medical care, call ahead so your healthcare provider can offer guidance over the phone and take the necessary precautions if you must come into the office.

The Maryland Health Benefit Exchange today announced an extension until June 15 of the special enrollment period that began in mid-March to help uninsured Marylanders during the State of Emergency for Coronavirus (COVID-19) declared by Gov. Larry Hogan. Uninsured Marylanders may enroll through the state’s health insurance marketplace, MarylandHealthConnection.gov. Individuals also can download the free “Enroll MHC” mobile app. Free consumer assistance is available by calling 1-855-642-8572 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays. Request or select “Coronavirus Emergency Special Enrollment Period.”The enrollment period began Monday, March 16, and will now run through Monday, June 15.“We are in a unique situation, and a lot of people across the state are worried about their health and the health of their community. The decision to extend the enrollment deadline was made to ensure as many people as possible get the coverage they need,” said Michele Eberle, executive director of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, which administers Maryland Health Connection.Help is available in more than 200 languages through the call center, as well as Relay service for the deaf and hard of hearing. Trained navigators and brokers statewide will offer help enrolling over the phone. You can find locations and contact information atMarylandHealthConnection.gov or the mobile app.For additional details about Maryland’s response to the ongoing pandemic, visit governor.maryland.gov/coronavirus. Health resource information is at health.maryland.gov/coronavirus.

From Allegany County Transit: All transit bus routes are temporarily cancelled. For essential service Medical, groceries, or work. Call 301-724-1255

The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) announced today that five deaths were reported as a result of COVID-19, bringing the total number of deaths in Maryland to 15: a Carroll County man in his 90s with underlying medical conditions; a Howard County man in his 70s with underlying medical conditions; a Prince George’s County man in his 30s with underlying medical conditions; a Prince George’s County woman is her 50s with underlying medical conditions; and a Prince George’s County man is his 70s with underlying medical conditions.State officials tonight, in coordination with the Carroll County Health Department, announced an outbreak of COVID-19 at Pleasant View Nursing Home in Mount Airy, where a total of 66 residents have tested positive, with 11 currently hospitalized.

Number f Confirmed Cases: 1239
Number of negative test results: 12,354
Hospitalizations: 277 ever hospitalized
Released From Isolation: 39

Cases by Age Range and Gender:
0-9 4
10-19 21
20-29 165
30-39 203
40-49 241
50-59 243
60-69 191
70-79 117
80+ 54
Female: 634, Male: 605

Information and resources regarding COVID-19 are available at coronavirus.maryland.gov.

Through the Marion County Health Department and United Hospital Center, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) today confirmed an 88-year old female from Marion County has died as a result of COVID-19.To protect the patient’s privacy, no additional details will be released.“We extend our sincere condolences to this family,” said Bill J. Crouch, Cabinet Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

WVU Medicine Potomac Valley Hospital is an official testing site for patients that are suspected of having COVID-19. Patients presenting for testing are required to be pre-screened and have a valid physician’s order before testing can be performed. Patients without a valid order for testing should contact their primary care office to determine if they need a screening test. They can also contact the WVU Medicine Nurse Navigator line at 304-598-6000 Option 4. Patients presenting at the hospital for testing will notice a triage tent sitting outside the Emergency Department entrance. All patients must call the phone number posted on the signage and a nurse within the hospital will walk them through the next steps that need to be completed. All testing processes comply with the current CDC recommendations. Testing itself is supported by outside laboratories, which will process the specimens collected by WVU Medicine.  Potomac Valley Hospital has not implemented a drive up testing center, but is considering implementing this option shortly.

Senator Manchin released the following statement after President Trump signed the COVID-19 emergency funding package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, into law. The Protecting Jessica Grubb’s Legacy Act was also signed into law as part of the larger emergency funding package.“I am relieved the House of Representatives passed this bill today and President Trump quickly signed it into law. After days of tough negotiations, this emergency funding package has more than $150 billion for hospitals, $31 billion for our schools and $150 billion for state and local governments. We also fought to ensure four weeks of unemployment insurance as opposed to three. Now comes the hard work of ensuring every West Virginian gets these resources we have allocated. I will continue to work around the clock to help West Virginians navigate this process,” Senator Manchin said. “Today’s package also included the Protecting Jessica Grubb’s Legacy Act meaning we have taken an another important step in changing the way our medical system treats patients with substance use disorder to protect patients from preventable accidents that lead to their addiction.”

US Senator Manchin fought for a week to include additional funding for West Virginia’s most vulnerable populations.
· The original Mitch McConnell bill included $75 billion for hospitals. Senator Manchin fought to double that and the final bill included $150 billion for hospitals.
· The original Mitch McConnell bill included $20 billion for our schools. Senator Manchin fought to include an additional $10 billion bringing the total to $31 billion for our schools.
· The original Mitch McConnell bill included no funding for state and local governments. Senator Manchin fought to include $150 billion for states and local governments.

Stopping the Spread
· Helping Hospitals and Healthcare Providers – We cannot begin to heal our economy until we can stop the spread of COVID-19. As a result of negotiations over the weekend, the amount of funding for hospitals and medical facilities increased from $75 billion to $150 billion to cover unreimbursed healthcare related expenses or lost revenues attributable to the public health emergency resulting from the coronavirus. This includes $50 billion in increased Medicare payments to providers.
· Protecting Healthcare Workers – We cannot do enough to arm our healthcare professionals with the equipment they need to protect themselves. The CARES Act includes various provisions to increase our domestic supply of masks, gloves, gowns, and other essential Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including $16 billion for the Strategic National Stockpile, $4.3 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and $1 billion to increase production under the Defense Production Act.

Immediate Assistance to Unemployed Workers
· Expanded Unemployment Insurance – We must take care of those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. This relief package includes a dramatic expansion and reform of the existing unemployment insurance program. It expands eligibility to include part-time, self-employed, and gig economy workers; it provides an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits; and it increases individual benefits by $600 per week to ensure that no one is penalized for practicing responsible social distancing.

· Direct Payments – To address additional, unforeseen financial challenges, the bill authorizes direct payments of $1,200 ($2,400 for couples) to all Americans making less than $75,000 ($150,000 for couples). Above that threshold, benefits will be reduced by $5 for every $100 of income and phased out entirely for those making $99,000 or more ($198,000 for couples). Families are also eligible for an additional $500 per child. Working class Americans that file their taxes will receive a direct payment. Those who are on Social Security or otherwise do not file income taxes will receive their payment in the form of check. We are pushing the Treasury Department to issue these checks as quickly as possible.
Supporting Small Businesses
· Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) – The CARES Act includes nearly $350 billion for a Paycheck Protection Program through the Small Business Administration (SBA) that will provide small businesses and other entities with zero-fee loans of up to $10 million. Up to 8 weeks of average payroll and other costs will be forgiven if the business retains its employees and their salary levels. Principal and interest will be deferred for up to a year and all borrower fees are waived.

· Emergency Economic Injury Grants – To address immediate cash flow concerns, the CARES Act includes $10 billion for advances of $10,000 to small businesses and nonprofits that apply for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). EIDLs are loans of up to $2 million that carry interest rates up to 3.75 percent for companies and up to 2.75 percent for nonprofits, as well as principal and interest deferment for up to 4 years. The loans may be used to pay for expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred, including payroll and other operating expenses.
Funding for State and Local Governments
· Coronavirus Relief Fund – Funding for state and local governments was a major source of debate around this bill. Thankfully, the final package includes what previous versions lacked – $150 billion to support state and local governments on the front lines of the response effort, including no less than $1.25 billion for West Virginia. It also authorizes an additional $454 billion to leverage more than $4.5 trillion in lending for distressed states, municipalities, and businesses.
· Resources for Federal, State and Local Law Enforcement – The CARES Act also includes $850 million for the Byrne-Justice Assistance Grant Program (Byrne-JAG) to help state and local police departments and jails meet their needs, including the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other needed medical items and to support overtime for officers on the front lines. Includes over $6 million in dedicated funding for West Virginia.
· Additional Funding for Schools – The final version of the CARES Act includes more than $10 billion more than initially proposed for elementary schools, secondary schools, and institutions of higher education. In total, the bill provides $31 billion in grants to educational institutions so they can continue to serve their students. This includes $13.5 billion for elementary and secondary education and another $14.25 billion for higher education.

To view the full bill text, please click here
https://www.manchin.senate.gov/…/d…/FINAL%20Bill%20Text.pdf…

The State of Maryland now has 774 confirmed cases of COVID-19—an increase of 425 cases over the last three days. There are now more than 1,500 confirmed cases in the National Capital Region—in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia—4.5 times more than there were just one week ago.

Governor Larry Hogan today issued the following statement: 
 
“Over the last three days, the number of COVID-19 cases in Maryland has more than doubled. Cases in the National Capital Region have more than quadrupled over the last week alone. There is no timetable and no model that can tell us exactly how long this will last or how bad this is going to get.
 
“The federal administration’s swift approval of our request for a Major Disaster Declaration will drive more resources to our coordinated response. As chairman of the National Governors Association, I will continue to press for additional federal resources, including a Title 32 designation for Maryland and all the states to fund National Guard missions.
 
“Later today, I will convene conference calls with my full Cabinet and our Coronavirus Response Team of Maryland’s top doctors and public health experts to continue to address this crisis. I cannot stress this enough: Marylanders need to stay in place at home to help slow the spread of this deadly virus. 
 
“Our state has already faced and overcome daunting challenges before, and we will do so again.”

From UPMC Western MD: CUMBERLAND, Md., March 26, 2020 – In order to ensure the safest environment possible for care during the COVID-19 pandemic, as of noon on Thursday, March 26, all access to UPMC Western Maryland will be restricted to the Medical Arts Center (MAC) entrance. This entrance is located at the rear of the hospital adjacent to the parking garage. Additionally, all employees, providers, special-approved visitors, essential vendors, non-UPMC providers and outpatients will be screened in order to gain access to the facility and visitors will be required to wear a mask. These new procedures, combined with the restricted visitation implemented on March 25, will remain in place until further notice. For full details on the restricted visitation policy, please visitwww.UPMCWesternMaryland.com and click on the orange coronavirus banner at the top of the screen.

From MD Governor: MD Governor Larry Hogan announced tonight that the State of Maryland has received a Major Disaster Declaration from the federal administration in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier today, Maryland reported 580 confirmed cases of COVID-19—an increase of 157 new cases, which is by far the largest one-day increase to date. The number of confirmed cases in the National Capital Region has quadrupled over the past week.

The announcement comes just hours after Governor Hogan pushed for disaster declarations for the states during a teleconference with the White House. As chairman of the National Governors Association, he also continued to press for further action on the five requests he submitted to the president and vice president last week.

“We are pleased that our federal partners answered our calls for action and swiftly granted Maryland’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration,” said Governor Hogan. “This declaration will help provide much-needed funding for state and local governments and nonprofits, and it will be another important step in Maryland’s aggressive and coordinated response to COVID-19.”

Tonight’s announcement means Maryand will be eligible for reimbursement for the Emergency Protective Measures taken by state and local government agencies and certain non-profit groups under its Public Assistance program under the Robert T. Stafford Act.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on our entire state and country unlike anything we have seen before,” said Russell Strickland, Executive Director for the Maryland Emergency Management Agency. “We have been working alongside Governor Hogan and our local partners to ensure the continued safety and wellbeing of all Marylanders. This declaration is an important and necessary step to continue on our path of resilience.”

Information and resources regarding COVID-19 in Maryland are available at coronavirus.maryland.gov.

From WV Governor:To assist those affected by economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 virus, the West Virginia Department of Commerce launched a directory on Thursday with information about state and federal resources available to businesses.

The directory, which is available online at www.westvirginia.gov/covid19, includes topics such as Small Business Administration loans, Department of Labor standards, unemployment benefits and tax deadlines.

“A lot of small business owners, entrepreneurs and employers in West Virginia are hurting right now and we want each of them to know that we are all in this together,” said West Virginia Department of Commerce Secretary Ed Gaunch. “With the launch of this resource directory, we hope to connect people to the resources that will provide real economic relief that will hopefully help our businesses weather this storm.”

The directory will be updated as new state and federal resources are made available, so business owners and members of the public are encouraged to sign up for email updates from the West Virginia Department of Commerce to stay up to date on new developments related to COVID-19 economic relief.

For public health recommendations, businesses should review the websites for the Department of Health and Human Resources and Gov. Jim Justice.

From AC DES: County fire and EMS agencies have been educated by local and state medical direction on a new protocol used to self-quarantine patients at home with symptoms consistent with the COVID-19 virus, according to emergency services officials.

“The Viral Syndrome Pandemic Triage protocol will be used in situations where the patient wants to be evaluated by EMS; meets certain criteria to stay at home, in self-quarantine and will be contacted by an Allegany County EMS Operation staff member the following day,” Allegany County Department of Emergency Services Chief Christopher Biggs said. “The intent of this protocol is to allow mild to moderately sick patients with no life-threatening conditions to stay at home, in self-quarantine to rest and recover.

The Maryland State Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems has implemented similar protocols Garrett County.

“We want to emphasize that if you want to be transported to the hospital, the EMS unit dispatched will still do that,” Emergency Services Director James Pyles said. “Implementation of this protocol will allow pre-hospital clinicians to screen the patients and assist them in making an informed decision whether to be transported or stay at home to rest and recover. These patients should follow-up with their primary healthcare provider.”

Pyles and Biggs said that this is just one of several changes that have occurred since this pandemic began. Dispatch questioning, unit staffing, first responder dispatching, and crews self-monitoring are just a few other policy and procedure changes for county fire and EMS personnel.

“We continue to work with MIEMSS and MEMA on a daily basis for the latest updates,” Pyles said. “We make changes as directed by these agencies and local medical direction.”
Pyles continued that the Allegany County Health Department has been releasing testing results on Monday, Wednesday and Friday to the public via their website and social media.
“When there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 the public will be notified,” Pyles said. “We have fortunately been spared for the time being. Our resources are mobilized and ready to respond.”

From WV Governor:Gov. Jim Justice joined State health leaders at the Capitol Complex in Charleston today for a virtual press briefing to once again update the public on the many measures being taken in the interest of protecting the public from the spread of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Gov. Justice continued to urge all West Virginians on Thursday to “stay the course” on practicing social distancing and good hygiene and praised the population for helping to limit exposure to the disease.

“Now is not the time to panic, we need to remain cautious, smart and strong,” Gov. Justice said. “The curve is not spiking and we are making headway, but this is a long way from being over. Every one of us needs to clearly understand that.”

He also made it clear that while many across the country may be looking to West Virginia as a potential “safe haven” from the pandemic, that people coming from out-of-state, especially from Hot Zones like New York, “should self-quarantine for 14 days.”

“It’s my job to protect our citizens and I’m very serious about that,” Gov. Justice said. “We welcome you and will embrace you after those 14 days, but these guidelines and recommendations have got to be followed.”
DR. CLAY MARSH, VICE PRESIDENT AND EXECUTIVE DEAN FOR HEALTH SCIENCES AT WVU, APPOINTED AS STATE COVID-19/CORONAVIRUS CZAR

“I have solicited WVU and they have agreed to loan us the services and expertise of Dr. Clay Marsh, so today I am appointing him as our COVID-19/Coronavirus Czar,” Gov. Justice said. “Dr. Marsh has done an incredible job, as have all the members of our team, to guide us through this challenging time and him coming on board full time adds one more layer of experience and knowledge.”

Calling the appointment a “big job,” Dr. Marsh said the “tremendous team that has been assembled has worked tirelessly” addressing the pandemic and will continue to do so in the days and weeks ahead.

“We have great medical schools, a great hospital system, and great public and community health groups in this state,” Dr. Marsh said. “And we’ve got to make sure those people on the front line are safe and we need to protect them so they can feel safe and protect us and do the great jobs they do.”

Dr. Marsh also noted that while the number of positive test results has stayed stable at 5 percent over the last few days, the state has ”bought ourselves more time” to try and flatten the curve of the spreading virus.

“West Virginians have done a good job of doing the right things, staying home, washing their hands…but we can’t get complacent,” Dr. Marsh added. “We’ve just got to stay together and focus on what we are doing and if we do I sincerely believe we can become a model for the nation.”
DHHR UNVEILS NEW TEST REPORTING PLAN, PROVIDES INFORMATION FOR UNINSURED, BEHAVIORAL HEALTH, HOMELESS, CHILDREN, AND OTHERS IN NEED

Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Bill Crouch and State Public Health Officer Dr. Cathy Slemp issued the following information during the briefing:

Beginning Monday, with the assistance of the National Guard, thecoronavirus.wv.gov website will have daily postings of unofficial test numbers at 9 a.m., 12 noon and 4 p.m. Official numbers will then be provided when the DHHR issues its daily COVID-19 report in the evening.

For the uninsured, DHHR’s Bureau for Medical Services (BMS) is allowing all COVID-19 testing and subsequent treatment for COVID-19 diagnosis, as needed, without prior approval from our Utilization Management (UM) vendor.

Testing and treatment for all uninsured individuals will be covered by WV Medicaid during the national state of emergency.

For those seeking behavioral health support, citizens can call or text 844-HELP4WV (844-435-7498). HELP4WV offers a 24/7 call, chat and text line that provides immediate help for any West Virginian struggling with an addiction or mental health issue. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is also available by calling 800-273-TALK (8255). The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones.

The National Disaster Distress Helpline is accessible by calling 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. The Disaster Distress Helpline is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories. Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster.

West Virginia 211 is available by calling 2-1-1 or text your zip code to 898-211. Every day hundreds of people across West Virginia turn to 211 for information and support—whether financial, domestic, health or disaster.

West Virginia’s comprehensive behavioral health centers are open and offer an array of services for children and adults. 
“ALL HANDS ON DECK” AT DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE TO ASSIST WITH UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS, BUSINESS NEEDS

Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Commerce Ed Gaunch joined the panel today and provided this update:

Under the Governor’s directive, all West Virginia Department of Commerce agencies are operating in an “all hands on deck” manner to assist our fellow West Virginians at this time.

WorkForceWV has processed more than 41,500 initial claims for benefits since the Governor’s Executive Order issued on March 19, 2020. In addition, they have processed more than 10,000 low earnings claims.

Please keep in mind, if you file late in the week, it is possible the initial benefit may not be delivered the following week due to processing time. However, the benefit you are due will be provided the following week with your second week’s benefit.

The West Virginia Development Office is working with federal and state agencies to help navigate the clearest path to connecting resources with our businesses impacted by this situation.

The Development Office is also launching a COVID-19 Business Relief Directory at the West Virginia Development Office’s website. To access this resource, go to westvirginia.gov/COVID19.

The site will be updated as additional resources and information are released.
GOVERNOR JUSTICE SPOKE DIRECTLY WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP TODAY ABOUT MEDICAL SUPPLIES, FEDERAL ASSISTANCE

“I spoke directly to President Trump earlier today on a teleconference and I just told him simply this ‘We have to have the additional supplies for our front line workers’” Gov. Justice said. “In short, I trust that we will receive our fair share of those supplies.

“We’ve got to keep our hospitals operational and our doctors, nurses, and others healthy and safe so they can help those who need it.”

Gov. Justice also talked with President Trump about making sure the businesses closed or scaled back, and those forced into unemployment by the pandemic, are made whole.

“We don’t have all the specifics yet but there is an incredible amount of money coming to help make people and businesses whole. I can’t promise it will make everyone whole but the goal is to get the funds so people can survive.”
NATIONAL GUARD CONTINUING TO ASSIST MULTIPLE AGENCIES WITH TESTING, ACQUISITION, AND DISTRIBUTION OF MEDICAL SUPPLIES, FOOD DISTRIBUTION

Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, Adjutant General of the West Virginia National Guard, delivered the following update during today’s briefing:

The WV National Guard currently has more than 160 members on duty and we have increased our LNOs to 19 personnel assisting agencies across the state including local health departments, DHHR, Dept. of Education, Bureau of Senior Services, VOAD and Threat Preparedness.

We are reaching out to Health Departments across the state to anticipate needs for drive-thru testing and have personnel identified to assist in testing.

We have additional training opportunities coming up for area first responders on proper PPE use in Cabell and Putnam counties.

Over the last 24 hours, WVNG members assisted in the preparation of 1,073 30-day family of 4 meals in Gassaway and 1,800 meals and delivery in Greenbrier County.

We continue our work with Clayton Burch, State Superintendent of Schools and the West Virginia Tourism Office on feeding plans to ensure no child or family is without a need in the state.

Within the last 24 hours, we brought on Fire Marshals in the state to assist in supply chain delivery of critical PPE; they were able to deliver 30 PAPRs to WVU and 30 additional PAPRs were delivered to CAMC for distribution among the 4 hospitals in their system.

Today we are picking up an addition 100 PAPRs and filters from Maryland for any surge capacity needs in the state and we are utilizing our force’s expertise to ensure proper handling of cargo and are working with the Retailers Association to provide training and assistance that will minimize any potential spread of contaminants while these essential workers are providing critical functions for West Virginia.
GOV. JUSTICE EXTENDS FREE FISHING DAYS

Governor Jim Justice today announced today that West Virginia residents can enjoy a month of free fishing. Beginning today through Friday, April 24th, the requirement to possess a fishing license to fish in state-regulated waters has been waived for state residents. Anglers must practice safe social distancing.

DNR Law Enforcement will continue to patrol all state waterways. Officers may require proof of West Virginia residency, a valid driver’s license, or a state-issued ID. Existing license and stamp requirements for non-residents will remain in place. All fishing regulations remain in effect both for residents and nonresidents; these include bag limits, slot limits, catch-and-release areas, and fly-fishing-only areas.

This waiver of the license requirement applies only to fishing licenses. It also includes a waiver for trout and conservation stamps. All requirements for hunting licenses remain in effect.

The DNR announced earlier this week all regular trout stockings will continue in frequency as set forth in the 2020 Fishing Regulations, but the DNR will no longer provide updates to its trout stocking hotline or online trout stocking report. Gold Rush stockings, originally scheduled to begin March 27, have been postponed. To make sure no crowds interfere with trout stocking personnel and that anglers maintain a safe distance from hatchery staff, a DNR Law Enforcement officer will join each stocking run.

To learn more about fishing in West Virginia, visit wvdnr.gov.

WEST VIRGINIA TAX DEPT. RELEASES ADMINISTRATIVE NOTICE REGARDING ANNUAL INCOME TAX RETURNS

The West Virginia State Tax Department today released Administrative Notice 2020-16, Extension of April 15, 2020, Due Date for Filing 2019 Annual Income Tax Returns Due to the COVID-19 Outbreak.

It is available on the Tax Department website here.

The Administrative Order officially extends the deadline to file 2019 annual income tax returns for individuals, trusts or estates, and corporations from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020.

The Order also covers estimated tax payments, relief limited to income tax, “no filing of extension request needed,” payment deadline, and penalties and interest.

This follows Gov. Jim Justice’s announcement yesterday that he asked West Virginia Tax Commissioner Dale Steager to extend the West Virginia income tax filing and payment deadline until Wednesday, July 15, 2020, to correspond with the federal government’s recent tax filing extension to the same date.

In conjunction with the Administrative Notice, Gov. Justice also signed an Executive Order today which suspends certain statutory provisions regulating the dates by which taxes must be paid and filed.

From GC Health Dept:As one of the responses to the COVID-19 situation, the Garrett County Health Officer, with the support of the Board of Garrett County Commissioners, has ordered all transient rentals in Garrett County to be closed effective March 27, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. This closing does not include hotels or motels.

Garrett County is unique because it is populated with many properties that are used as residential “Transient Vacation Rental Properties” (TVRUs). Generally, these properties are not being offered as traditional “lodging” but rather for rental on multi-day, week, monthly or seasonal basis.

The Board of Garrett County Commissioners supports the declaration made by the health department.

“Because of COVID-19, the rental of these TVRU properties has placed, and has the likely potential to place, a significant burden on the health resources of Garrett County, and may unduly lead to the spread of COVID-19,” said Health Officer Bob Stephens.

“I have determined that it is imperative, and in the interest of public health and safety, that all TVRUs be closed, and not further rented,” Stephens said. “This means all existing bookings be canceled. This decision applies to all Transient Vacation Rental Unit properties until or unless the Governor’s Orders are further modified or the Interpretive Guidance of the Office of Legal Counsel directs otherwise.”

This means all existing bookings must be canceled until the Governor’s “Prohibiting Large Gatherings” order is lifted.

The TVRU category includes individually rented properties such as Airbnb and vacation rental by owner, whether individual managed or coordinated through a management agency. Because of this, they are being used as a business being conducted by the owners and are not considered an essential business, and they are not included under the Governor’s Orders and the Guidance that permits certain “Lodging” to remain open.

Are you seeking unemployment insurance? visit labor.maryland.gov for info on how to apply. Businesses affected by COVID-19govstatus.egov.com/md-coronavirus-business

Maryland Public Schools will be closed until April 24th according to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen Salmon. According to ACPS officials Allegany County Public Schools will be adhering to this directive. ACPS has been working on a plan for the continuity of learning, and once the Maryland State Department of Education provides a timeline for the implementation of the continuity of learning plans, it will be communicated to the ACPS staff, parents, and students.

From Sheetz: Today Sheetz, a major restaurant and convenience chain across the Mid-Atlantic, announced extra compensation for its employees. From March 13th to April 23rd, Sheetz will pay its store employees an additional $3 per hour in an effort to continue to support its frontline employees who are working tirelessly through the COVID-19 crisis.

“Our employees are the heart and soul of Sheetz and their commitment to serve our customers and communities as an essential business during this critical time has been nothing short of extraordinary,” said Travis Sheetz, President & COO of Sheetz, Inc. “This special compensation is just one way to express our gratitude during this difficult time.”

Sheetz is also actively hiring store employees as the company focuses on its response to increased consumer demand. Full-time and part-time positions are currently available in both daytime and evening shifts.

The health and well-being of its team members, customers and the communities remains a top priority as the situation around COVID-19 continues to evolve. In response to COVID-19, Sheetz has instituted several changes including suspending self-serve coffee, self-serve fountain beverages, fresh brewed tea, frozen drinks and F’Real milkshakes as well as self-serve bakery items. Sheetz has also implemented enhanced routine daily cleaning procedures with a focus on high touch surface areas such as gas pumps, order points, counter tops, checkout lines and door handles as well as reinforcing and re-training all employees on proper hand washing and hygiene. Additionally, to follow social distancing recommendations, Sheetz’s full menu is available to order and pay on the Sheetz website and through its app 24/7.

Sheetz is deeply committed to continuing to deliver on its mission to provide total customer focus across all the communities it serves with the safety of all who walk through its doors as the top priority.

Interested job applicants can apply at https://jobs.sheetz.com/.

Allegany County Government released resources.inallegany.org an online community resource guide for the COVID-19 state of emergency. The online tool offers a variety of features to better connect the community with resources being organized by the government, local businesses, and charities.

“This is an incredible testament to the strength of the community here in Allegany County in bringing this tool together,” said Jake Shade, President of the Board of County Commissioners. “We believe it will support thousands during this crisis in connecting to
volunteer and job opportunities, businesses who can help, and special programs to support in these uncertain times.”

The tool provides a very easy to use singular news and update portal that connects to federal, state and local government news updates, but also affords the ability for community stakeholders to submit their own information into intuitive categories. There is
also a community generated online resource directory that as individuals and organizations submit their information as a resource partner, will populate the director in a categorized and geographically sorted way to help the community search for services and goods that they need.

“We have been inundated with individuals looking to help and for ways to volunteer,” said Shade. “We’re populating that information into a volunteer board that will allow folks to both post opportunities and digitally connect with opportunities posted.”

The county has announced it is also working on a donation portal that will allow for people to use the tool to donate money or volunteer goods digitally to be distributed to local charities and support initiatives.

The COVID-19 Emergency Response website can be found atwww.resources.inallegany.org and was developed in partnership with Zest Social Media Solutions of Towson, Maryland.

From WV DE: Due to the continued spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in West Virginia, Governor Jim Justice announced today that all public and private schools will remain closed with plans to reopen on Monday, April 20, 2020. During this closure period, pre-k-12 public and private school facilities will not provide traditional, in-person instructional opportunities.

To align with Governor Jim Justice’s top priority, the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) will continue to work closely with counties to ensure children are fed. The WVDE Office of Child Nutrition has worked tirelessly with counties, the West Virginia Division of Tourism, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture and the West Virginia National Guard to meet children’s nutritional needs.

During this unparalleled time, we must avoid assuming that continuity of education outside of typical school buildings only can occur through online means. Counties will continue to provide student engagement opportunities using learning materials, phone contact, email, technology-based virtual instruction or a combination of all of the above to meet student needs. Forthcoming guidance regarding student engagement will be grounded in compassion, communication and common sense rather than traditional compliance measures that most are accustomed to in our education community.

“Our schools are the backbone of communities,” said State Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch. “It is important that our families are supported during this time in our state. We appreciate the Governor’s guidance and support of West Virginia children,” said Superintendent Burch. “We have all had to pull together and find ways to address unforeseen challenges, and I know our hard working educators and school personnel will do what is needed to support our children.”

From WV DHHR: The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) today confirmed 12 new cases of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have been reported to the state, making the total positive case count at 51. New cases were identified in Jackson, Kanawha, Logan, Marion, Monongalia, Ohio, Preston, Putnam and Raleigh counties. A new case previously identified as a Hancock county resident is instead a resident of Jefferson County, Ohio.

The state breakdown of cases by county are two individuals from Berkeley County, three from Harrison County, three from Jefferson County, four from Jackson County, five from Kanawha County, one from Logan County, one from Marion County, two from Marshall County, two from Mercer County, 18 from Monongalia County, two from Ohio County, two from Preston County, two from Putnam County, one from Raleigh County, two from Tucker County, and one from Wood County.

As of March 25, 2020, at 11:59 p.m., 1,082 residents have been tested for COVID-19, with 51 positive, 1,031 negative and 19 tests pending (at state lab).

Since COVID-19 is a new disease, it is newly reportable to West Virginia’s public health system. Medical providers are required to report test results to their local health departments, which provide them to DHHR. Commercial (private) labs are also required to report test results to DHHR. However, the reporting of negative and pending tests to DHHR has been inconsistent. Only DHHR’s state lab has consistently reported all its negative results and pending tests. DHHR is working with its public and private partners to ensure all required information is properly reported.

For the most up to date information, please visit www.coronavirus.wv.govor http://www.cdc.gov/COVID19.

From WV DOH: Beginning Monday, March 23, 2020, West Virginia Division of Highways implemented a plan which will allow continued public service for essential roadwork and emergency situations while reducing the number of workers present at one time in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Transportation workers have been divided into two groups and two-week time periods have been established. For each two-week time period, one group will telework from home, completing a rigorous training course. The other group will continue roadwork and emergency response, while taking precautions to avoid COVID-19 exposure. At the end of two weeks, the groups will switch.

“There is no way we could maintain our supply chains across the country without the Division of Highways on the ground,” Deputy Secretary of the Department of Transportation Jimmy Wriston, P.E. said. “They make sure that accidents get cleaned up, guard rails get repaired, and issues on the highway are taken care of. To do that, you have to have a good, sound, qualified workforce. We’re going to follow every one of the Governor’s orders; we’re going to create space, wash our hands, make sure we’re not congregating in places, and take care of the highways by separating our workforce.

“I’m extremely proud of the Division of Highways. At every level of this organization today, we are rising to the occasion. We’re all leaders, and we care very much about the people we serve. We’re going to continue to serve them.”

In addition to transportation workers, many WVDOT office employees are also teleworking from home. Meetings are being held by teleconference and large trainings and conferences have been put on hold. Bridge inspection crews will continue to inspect bridges on the pre-determined schedule, but specialized crews that travel all over the state will be temporarily shut down to avoid increased exposure. Secretary Byrd White, Deputy Secretary Jimmy Wriston, and key personnel deemed essential for in-office work continue to report to their regular working locations each day.
The West Virginia Department of Transportation asks you to please use caution when driving in work zones — Just. Slow. Down. It’s everybody’s responsibility. Drivers should download the WV 511 app for regular traffic and road work updates or go to the website at www.WV511.org. For information about the project, visit Drive Forward WV or the WVDOT Facebook​​​.

From PA Governor: PA Governor Tom Wolf announced that new funding is available to help small businesses impacted by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, through a new program under the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority’s (PIDA) Small Business First Fund, the COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program (CWCA).

The Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) recently authorized the transfer of $40 million to the Small Business First Fund for CWCA. PIDA authorized making $60 million available to provide loans of $100,000 or less to for-profit businesses with 100 or fewer full-time employees. Funds are expected to become available this week.

As of 12:00 AM, March 25, there are 276 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,127 in 44 counties. The Department of Health also reported four new deaths, bringing the statewide death total to 11. County-specific information and a statewide map are available here. All people are either in isolation at home or being treated at the hospital.

Gov. Wolf has enacted stay-at-home orders for 10 counties: Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Erie, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, and Philadelphia counties. The newest order, for Lehigh and Northampton counties, takes effect at 8:00 PM today, Wednesday, March 25. All orders will continue until April 6, 2020.

“My top priority is to save Pennsylvania lives, then save their livelihoods. I am utilizing every resource available to assist Pennsylvania’s business during this incredibly difficult time, and this small business funding availability is a step in the right direction. It will help provide a little peace of mind to hundreds of small business owners and their employees,” Wolf said. “I will continue to develop ways to assist Pennsylvania’s business community, as well as our workforce. I also need every Pennsylvanian to step up and do their part. The best way we can preserve our economic future is by minimizing the spread of COVID-19.”

“In the wake of the unprecedented Coronavirus pandemic, it’s important that state government is trying to respond to all manner of its impacts, and that includes providing support to our small business community,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa, Jr. “The CFA took necessary and swift action to provide low interest loans to small businesses to help keep them afloat during these difficult times. I commend the leadership of Governor Wolf and the other caucuses of the General Assembly for working together so quickly to come up with a viable plan to provide this assistance.”

For the purposes of this program a retail or service enterprise is defined as a for-profit business entity that is involved in the business-to-business service, business-to-public service, mercantile, commercial, or point of sale retail sectors. An agricultural producer is defined as a business involved in the management and use of a normal agricultural operation for the production of a farm commodity. A “farm commodity” is any Pennsylvania-grown agricultural, horticultural, aquacultural, vegetable, fruit, and floricultural product of the soil, livestock and meats, wools, hides, furs, poultry, eggs, dairy products, nuts, mushrooms, honey products and forest products.

“There’s been major disruption to small businesses and their employees,” said House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody. “This is a bipartisan down payment to get some working capital out quickly. Much more help is needed and we’ll keep working on that.”

Eligible costs include working capital, which for purposes of this program is considered capital used by a small business for operations, excluding fixed assets and production machinery and equipment.

Any eligible working capital cost, as defined above, incurred by the eligible business enterprise three months prior to submission of the loan application will count as an eligible cost toward either the loan amount or, if applicable, the matching investment requirement. Retail / service enterprises are able to incur eligible working capital costs up to six months prior to submission of the loan application.

All loan applications must be submitted through a Certified Economic Development Organization (CEDO). For the list of CEDO’s operating within Pennsylvania, please refer to dced.pa.gov/p…/covid-19-working-capital-access-program-cwca/.

Businesses seeking guidance from DCED can also contact its customer service resource account at ra-dcedcs@pa.gov. For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, Pennsylvanians should followwww.governor.pa.gov and www.doh.pa.gov.

From PDE: The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) announced that all schools in the commonwealth will remain closed through at least April 6 as a result of the COVID-19 response efforts. The closure order could be extended beyond April 6 if necessary to save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19. When it’s determined that students can return to school, administrators, teachers and other staff will be given two days to prepare classrooms, set up cafeterias, schedule transportation and arrange other business operations. Students would return on the third day.

Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera said his decision to close all schools for the additional period aligns with the governor’s stay-at-home directive announced today for seven counties – Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Monroe, Montgomery and Philadelphia.

“Protecting the health and safety of students, families, teachers and all employees who work in our schools is paramount during this national health crisis and we must continue our efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus,” he said. “The number of positive cases increases daily and we’re seeing it spread to more counties. We must adhere to the social distancing guidelines. Extending the closure will help every community in its efforts to mitigate the spread.”

Today’s additional school closure will be for 14 days, beginning Tuesday, March 24.

To assist schools during the extended closure, Secretary Rivera said the state’s 29 intermediate units are ready to provide technical assistance to help develop continuity of education plans for all students.

“We know students are eager to engage with their teachers and return to learning,” he said. “Beginning tomorrow, all schools will be able to work with their local intermediate unit to develop instructional plans for all students, including those with disabilities and English language learners.”

Also today, Secretary Rivera cancelled standardized testing for students in career and technical education (CTE) programs for the 2019-20 school year. These include exams from the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI) and National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS).

Last Thursday the department cancelled all PSSA testing and Keystone exams for the 2019-20 school year, as well as the Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA). The U.S. Department of Education approved Pennsylvania’s waiver request the following day, and further waived accountability and reporting requirements for the 2019-20 school year.

The department has been providing ongoing guidance to school communities in the form of FAQs. The guidance information is available ateducation.pa.gov/COVID19.

From ACPS: AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR EARLY COLLEGE STUDENTS:On Monday, March 30, 2020, ACPS early college students will begin or resume completion of their Allegany College of Maryland (ACM) spring semester college course(s) via an online platform. ACM is requiring this action as a result of the recent closure of ACM and ACPS due to the coronavirus pandemic. Early college students must finish their coursework through the online platform and must obtain a passing grade to earncollege credit(s) from ACM. This also includes P-TECH students who are taking a college course(s) through ACM for the spring semester.

ACPS early college teacher(s) has/have been instructed to contact their students regarding each early college course that he/she is taking during the spring semester. Students are encouraged to please check their ACM email accounts and Brightspace for information from their teacher. If a student does not hear from an early college teacher by Monday, please contact the appropriate ACPS content supervisor listed below:

Dr. George Brown- Social Studies/Psychology- George.brown@acpsmd.org
Katie Buskirk- English/Lit/Speech- Kathryn.buskirk@acpsmd.org
Dr. Steve Thompson- Mathematics/Statistics- Stephen.thompson@acpsmd.org
Eric VanSlyke- Science- Eric.vanslyke@acpsmd.org
Melissa Kaye- P-TECH Cybersecurity- Melissa.kaye@acpsmd.org
Joe Brewer- Computer Science (non P-TECH students)-Joseph.Brewer@acpsmd.org

Students needing assistance regarding course content or anything related to this information should email their early college teacher or contact the content supervisor listed above.

Students without Internet access or a device to complete coursework should contact their early college teacher or the content supervisor listed above.

From ACPS: IMPORTANT REMINDER TO PARENTS/STUDENTS/COMMUNITY MEMBERS: With the closure of schools due to COVID-19, all areas managed by Allegany County Public Schools are off limits to individuals. This includes school tracks, tennis courts, playgrounds, Greenway Avenue Stadium, football, soccer, baseball and softball fields, gymnasiums, weight rooms, and all other indoor and outdoor areas managed by the school system. Please refrain from utilizing these locations throughout the duration of the mandated closure.

The State of Maryland now has 580 confirmed cases of COVID-19—an increase of 157 new cases, which is by far the largest one-day increase to date. There are more than 1,200 confirmed cases in the National Capital Region—in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia. The number of cases

Governor Larry Hogan today issued the following statement:

“We are only at the beginning of this crisis, in our state, in the National Capital Region, and in America. As I have repeatedly stressed, we should continue to expect the number of cases to dramatically and rapidly rise.

“Today, we are also seeing an unprecedented increase in the number of Marylanders filing for unemployment. We are going to do everything we can to help people and small businesses get back on their feet.

“This battle is going to be much harder, take much longer, and be much worse than almost anyone comprehends. We have never faced anything like this ever before, and I continue to urge the people of our state to stay in place at home and stay safe.

“I want Marylanders to know that if we continue to lead and work together—if we rely on and help each other—together we will get through this crisis.”

A 90-day extension on many driver and vehicle transactions has been granted through the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles due to the closure of all Regional Offices, in keeping with the most recent guidelines and best practices recommended by both the CDC and West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources regarding COVID-19.

DMV is extending the expiration date of any of the following documents with an expiration date in March or April of 2020 for three months from the date of expiration on the face of the document:

  • Any Driver’s License including Commercial Driver’s License
  • Instructional Permits, including Commercial Permits
  • Vehicle registration, including temporary vehicle registrations or plates

In addition, any CDL holder whose medical certification expires in March or April will have an additional three months to provide a new medical certification to avoid the downgrading of the CDL.

Also, many of DMV’s most requested transactions can be done online or mailed in and do not require a trip to a regional office. Online services include:

  • Driver’s license renewal (if no changes, and every other cycle)
  • Duplicate driver’s license request
  • Vehicle registration renewals
  • Duplicate vehicle registration decals and cards
  • Print your driving record
  • Check your driver’s license status

A full list of online services may be found by going to dmv.wv.gov.

The West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles is taking this extraordinary action in response to the National and State states of emergency due to the COVID-19 virus.

For more information, you may contact the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles at 1-800-642-9066.

For more information about COVID-19 prevention and more, call the State’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-887-4304 or visit Coronavirus.wv.gov.

Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz says she knows there are a lot of questions including what businesses should stay open and why and the best place to get some of those questions answered ishttps://govstatus.egov.com/md-coronavirus-business. Folks can find out about which businesses qualify as essential and why under the new executive order.If you have questions or concerns surrounding the essential designation, please email psector@maryland.gov, which is monitored by the Maryland Emergency Management team https://soundcloud.com/amanda-mangan/maryland-commerce-secretary-kelly-schulz-for-pht

The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) today announced the state’s fourth death as a result of COVID-19: a Prince George’s County resident in his 60s who suffered from underlying medical conditions. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones.Information and resources regarding COVID-19 are available at coronavirus.maryland.gov.

 The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) today confirmed 19 new cases of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the state, making the total positive case count at 39. New cases were identified in Berkeley, Harrison, Jackson, Monongalia, Preston and Wood counties.The state breakdown of cases by county are two individuals from Berkeley County, three from Harrison County, three from Jefferson County, two from Jackson County, four individuals from Kanawha County, two from Marshall County, two from Mercer County, 16 from Monongalia County, one from Preston County, one from Putnam County, two from Tucker County, and one from Wood.As of March 24, 2020, at 8:00 p.m., 798 residents have been tested for COVID-19, with 39 positive, 759 negative and six tests pending (at state lab). These numbers include positive and negative tests from the state’s public health lab, commercial labs and hospitals.For the most up to date information, please visit www.coronavirus.wv.gov or http://www.cdc.gov/COVID19.

From UPMC Western MD: Visitation Restrictions Effective 3/25/20 at 6:00 a.m. Beginning Wednesday, March 25, inpatient and outpatient visitation guidelines will shift from limited to restricted, outlined below. Rare exceptions will be made in end-of-life and special circumstances. Any exceptions must be approved by James Karstetter, Vice President, Chief Nursing Officer. Any non-patient with new shortness of breath, fever, cough, or contact with someone who is under investigation for COVID-19 should not enter UPMC Western Maryland. A triage line is available for those patients who suspect they have acquired the virus (240)-964-1000.

Inpatients being tested for or diagnosed with COVID-19
• No inpatient visitors

Non-COVID-19 inpatients (all hospital departments, excluding obstetrics and L&D) AND outpatients (of all physician practices, rehab, cancer centers, imaging, and all outpatient locations)
• Inpatients: No visitors.
• Inpatient surgery patients: One visitor for post-surgery discussion and accompany to inpatient room, then immediately leave.
• Outpatient surgery patients: One visitor for post-surgery discussion and assistance for discharge.
• Emergency Department patients: One visitor is permitted to stay with the patient during clinical assessment.
o Patient is discharged: Visitor may stay with the patient, staff may encourage waiting in the vehicle if 
appropriate.
o Patient is admitted: Visitor may accompany patient to inpatient room, then immediately leave.

All other outpatients (in hospital and outpatient settings): Allowed one companion only if patient requires assistance; otherwise, companion will be requested to wait in the car.

No children visitors will be permitted in any care setting, must be 18 years of age or older

Obstetrics, labor and delivery inpatients:
• Any visitors must be screened prior to entry, via symptom/travel screen questionnaire not body 
temperature scan at this time.
• No visitors who are ill, sick, frail, elderly, or at-risk (i.e. immune compromised or serious chronic illness)
• No children will be permitted, must be 18 years of age or older.
• Obstetrics and L&D: Visitors will be limited to the same 1 support person per patient for the entire stay (i.e. partner, doula)
• Peds and NICU: Visitors will be limited to the same 2 support persons per patient for the entire stay (i.e. parent, guardian)

Behavioral health services (all inpatient behavioral health settings):
• No visitors on inpatient units are permitted. ​

Elective Surgery/Non-Emergent Procedures and Appointments
Effective 3/24/20 at 5:00 p.m.
During his press conference on Monday, March 23, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced all hospitals in Maryland will cancel elective procedures. Governor Hogan applied the order broadly as our hospitals respond to this public health emergency.
• All non-emergent procedures and appointments will be cancelled, postponed, performed remotely through telephone or video transmission.
• Such decisions will be between the physician/advanced practice professional and the patient.

Urgent Care Centers
Effective 3/23/20
All locations are open for patients with urgent needs that do not require an emergency room visit. These locations are requesting all patients to return to their vehicles and call in to enter the facility. This will allow staff to screen the patients for COVID-19 symptoms before entering and providing necessary direction.

According to Mineral County Public Schools Superintendent Troy Ravenscroft they are suspending the current meal program which was intended to supply meals to as many as possible, regardless of need and the school system did not suspend their plans to keep providing meals. According to Ravenscroft “as things changed rapidly both nationwide and statewide in response to the coronavirus, we knew:

1.       It would not be in be in the best interest of our communities to have so many of our people working in such close proximity—it takes a lot of help at each location to prep, package and deliver thousands of meals;

2.       We would not be able to sustain the volume of meals we had hoped to provide as new orders were issued.We will develop a safer alternative to help our most needy without too much personal interaction.  I let my staff know plans Sunday evening so we could plan accordingly Monday and send as much food as possible.  We delivered yesterday, most bags included 3-5 days of meals–this will buy us a bit of time to develop a new plan to reach those who need us the most.I’m confident we’ll be able to have new plans to share soon.”

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) today confirmed four new cases of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the state, making the total positive case count at 20. New cases were identified in Kanawha and Monongalia counties.

The state breakdown of cases by county are three individuals from Jefferson County, one individual from Jackson County, four individuals from Kanawha County, two from Marshall County, two from Mercer County, five from Monongalia County, one from Putnam County and two individuals from Tucker County.

As of March 23, 2020, at 8:00 p.m., 630 residents have been tested for COVID-19, with 20 positive, 610 negative and no tests pending (at state lab). These numbers include positive and negative tests from the state’s public health lab, commercial labs and hospitals.

For the most up to date information, please visitwww.coronavirus.wv.gov orhttp://www.cdc.gov/COVID19.

The Allegany County Health Department in partnership with Allegany County Government report the following data on local COVID-19 testing to date:

Allegany County residents tested positive for COVID-190
Allegany County residents tested negative for COVID-19141
Allegany County residents with COVID-19 results pending23
Total Allegany County residents tested for COVID-19164

“At this time, there are no lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Allegany County. However, this doesn’t mean that the virus isn’tpresent in our community,” said Jenelle Mayer, Health Officer.  “Community members should take precautions and practice social distancing to prevent the spread of disease.”  

Health officials continue to ask community members to stay home as much as possible and only go out for essentials; wash your hands often; disinfect high-touch surfaces; if you are not feeling well, avoid contact with others; and if you are seeking medical care, call ahead so your healthcare provider can offer guidance over the phone and take the necessary precautions if you must come into the office. 

Laboratories are experiencing a surge in COVID-19 tests.  Testing is prioritized for hospitalized patients, symptomatic healthcare workers and emergency responders, symptomatic patients who are medically fragile and live in congregate housing such as nursing homes, and symptomatic high-risk unstable patients whose care would be altered by a diagnosis of COVID-19. 

“Testing today for COVID-19 is not as simple as it sounds,” said Dr. Jennifer Corder, the Allegany and Garrett County Deputy Health Officer. “Testing supplies are in short supply, and

labs are unable to keep up with the nationwide demand. As a community, we need to prioritize testing for our sickest and most at risk.  Speak to your health care provider over the phone to determine if your case requires COVID-19 testing.”

From MD Governor: Governor Larry Hogan today ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses in the state and announced a $175 million relief package to assist employees, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The governor again urged Marylanders to help their neighbors by staying home in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“We are telling all Marylanders to follow all of the directives and to follow the state law against crowds of more than ten people,” said Governor Hogan. “And we are telling you, unless you have an essential reason to leave your house, stay in your home. Today’s actions of closing non-essential businesses are absolutely necessary to protect the health of Marylanders and to save lives.

“To my fellow Marylanders, let me say that I know how difficult this is on each and every one of you,” continued the governor. “There is a great deal of fear and anxiety, and the truth is, none of us really know how bad this is going to get or how long it’s going to last. But I can promise you that there are a great many dedicated people doing tremendous things, working around the clock, and doing their very best to help keep Marylanders safe.”
Below is a list of the comprehensive actions Governor Hogan announced today:
• CLOSURE OF ALL NON-ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES: Governor Hogan has enacted an emergency order to close all non-essential businesses across the state, effective ‪at 5 pm today‬.
◦ In addition to what is already closed by prior orders, this order requires the closure of anything that is not included in the new federal guidelines for critical infrastructure sectors. Interpretive Guidance from the Office of Legal Counsel.
◦ While this is not a shelter-in-place order, all Marylanders are urged to remain home and adhere to the governor’s guidance for social distancing. The governor announced that beginning today, further enforcement actions will be taken to disperse any gatherings in violation of the governor’s orders.
• ECONOMIC RELIEF PACKAGE: Governor Hogan announced more than $175 million to assist small businesses and workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. More information and resources about these programs is available at businessexpress.maryland.gov/coronavirus.
◦ The Maryland Department of Commerce will offer up to $125 million in loans and grants to small businesses and nonprofits through the Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. A $75 million loan fund and a $50 million grant fund, with $1 million in grants dedicated to non-profits, will provide working capital to be used for payroll, rent, fixed-debt payments and other mission critical cash operating costs. Businesses and nonprofits with under 50 full- and part-time employees will be eligible, and loans will range up to $50,000 and grants up to $10,000. Additional eligibility requirements can be found here.
◦ Maryland Commerce is also working on creating a $5 million fund to incentivize businesses to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies to satisfy the increasing needs of the healthcare industry.
◦ The Department also has a number of existing financing programs, like Advantage Maryland, which provides conditional loans for new businesses or business expansions; the Maryland Industrial Development Financing Authority and Fund (MIDFA), which provides loan guarantees; the Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority (MSBDFA), which provides financial assistance to economically disadvantaged businesses; and the Non-Profit Interest-Free Micro-Bridge Loan Program, which provides loans to nonprofits to support ongoing operating costs while waiting on a future government grant or contract. A total of about $40 million is available through these existing programs.
◦ Governor Hogan has allocated $5 million and the Maryland Department of Labor has allocated $2 million to collaboratively launch the COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund. A total of $7 million in funds will be available to provide flexible rapid response services to proactively support businesses and workers undergoing economic stresses due to COVID-19. Funding can help Maryland’s workforce adhere to social distancing policies by purchasing remote access equipment and software to allow employees to work from home, providing on-site cleaning and sanitation services at businesses that have workers delivering essential services, and implementing other creative strategies to mitigate potential layoffs or closures in the business community.
AN ORDER TO PROHIBIT PRICE GOUGING: Governor Hogan has signed an emergency order to protect families from price gouging on everyday household items and essentials. Retailers who attempt to exploit this crisis for profit or personal gain will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Read the emergency order.
FIELD HOSPITAL AT BALTIMORE CONVENTION CENTER: As part of the state’s hospital surge plan, Governor Hogan has ordered the establishment of an Alternate Care site at Baltimore Convention Center and Hilton Hotel. This will be a joint partnership with the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) and Johns Hopkins. The governor has asked FEMA to deliver 250 beds and 50 bed packages to support the initiative.
REOPENING OF LAUREL HOSPITAL: As part of the state’s hospital surge plan, UMMS has agreed to reopen Laurel Hospital, which will make another 135 beds available.
PILOT ASSESSMENT LOCATION AT FEDEX FIELD: Governor Hogan has directed the Maryland National Guard and the Maryland Department of Health to collaborate with Prince George’s County and UMMS on a pilot assessment location at FedEx Field in Landover.
FAST-TRACK PROCESS FOR TESTS: The governor has enacted an emergency order to authorize a fast-track process to bring more testing capacity online without FDA approval—dramatically shortening a process that would ordinarily take several months. Read the governor’s order.
NEW HEALTH TESTING ORDERS: The Maryland Department of Health is issuing an order requiring health care providers to prioritize tests for hospitalized and chronic care patients, symptomatic first responders, and symptomatic nursing home patients; and requiring all health care facilities to cease elective or non-urgent medical procedures ‪at 5 p.m. tomorrow‬. Read the Health Department’s order.
State of Emergency. The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic. The State of Maryland is continuing to operate under a state of emergency, and all levels of government are taking a comprehensive, collaborative approach to keep Marylanders safe. The list of ongoing state actions is available at governor.maryland.gov/coronavirus.
For health resources regarding COVID-19, including case counts and clinician guidance, Marylanders should visit coronavirus.maryland.gov.

 Governor Larry Hogan today announced that Maryland has allocated more than $175 million to assist small businesses and nonprofit organizations impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak. Up to $130 million in new funding, through the Maryland Department of Commerce, will help support new loan and grant programs as well as manufacturers, and $7 million in funding through the Maryland Department of Labor is designed to help small businesses retain their workforce.

“We know that the steps we have taken to protect the health and well-being of all Marylanders have made a significant impact on our business community. Today, in addition to funding through the U.S. Small Business Administration, we are making new financial assistance programs available to help our businesses continue to operate during this unprecedented crisis,” said Governor Hogan. “These programs will offer the kind of much-needed support our businesses need right now, and help them to pay bills and retain their workforce as much as possible.”

·   The Maryland Department of Commerce will offer up to $125 million in loans and grants to small businesses and nonprofits through the Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. A $75 million loan fund and a $50 million grant fund, with $1 million in grants dedicated to non-profits, will provide working capital to be used for payroll, rent, fixed-debt payments and other mission critical cash operating costs. Businesses and nonprofits with under 50 full- and part-time employees will be eligible, and loans will range up to $50,000 and grants up to $10,000. Additional eligibility requirements can be found here.

·   Maryland Commerce is also working on creating a $5 million fund to incentivize businesses to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies to satisfy the increasing needs of the healthcare industry. 

·   The Department also has a number of existing financing programs, like Advantage Maryland, which provides conditional loans for new businesses or business expansions; the Maryland Industrial Development Financing Authority and Fund (MIDFA), which provides loan guarantees; the Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority (MSBDFA), which provides financial assistance to economically disadvantaged businesses; and the Non-Profit Interest-Free Micro-Bridge Loan Program, which provides loans to nonprofits to support ongoing operating costs while waiting on a future government grant or contract. A total of about $40 million is available through these existing programs.

“It is our top priority to support our business community as much as we can during this difficult time,” said Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly M. Schulz. “We have heard from hundreds of businesses about their greatest need right now which is working capital, and designed these programs to have the most significant impact possible.”

·   Governor Hogan has allocated $5 million and the Maryland Department of Labor has allocated $2 million to collaboratively launch the COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund. A total of $7 million in funds will be available to provide flexible rapid response services to proactively support businesses and workers undergoing economic stresses due to COVID-19. Funding can help Maryland’s workforce adhere to social distancing policies by purchasing remote access equipment and software to allow employees to work from home, providing on-site cleaning and sanitation services at businesses who have workers delivering essential services, and implementing other creative strategies to mitigate potential layoffs or closures in the business community.

·   The Department’s Division of Unemployment Insurance is fully operational and remains dedicated to helping both employers and employees who have been affected by COVID-19. Marylanders that have been laid off can immediately file a claim by phone, email, or submit an application online. Maryland does not have a waiting period like many other states do. No matter when or how they file, Marylanders become eligible for benefits starting after the day after they separated from employment.

·  During this state of emergency, the department will allow workers who have not been terminated to collect unemployment insurance if their employer has been closed due to COVID-19, if they have been quarantined, or if they are caring for a family member who is quarantined. Labor has temporarily waived work search requirements for all current and new unemployment insurance benefit recipients. For more information about eligibility for benefits during COVID-19, visit the frequently asked questions page.

·  Due to an unprecedented volume of inquiries, Labor has also extended call center hours and added network servers to allow more users to simultaneously file a claim online. Bulk Claims Services are now available for any employers with 25 or more employees who will be impacted by a coronavirus-related layoff or shutdown. For more information, visit mdunemployment.com

“As state and federal governments take unprecedented actions to save the lives of Marylanders during the coronavirus outbreak, the Maryland Department of Labor is here to support and protect our state’s businesses and workforce,” said Maryland Department of Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson. “Through the new COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund, we look forward to implementing creative strategies to keep Marylanders working and to help businesses continue operations.”

This assistance comes in addition to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), for which Maryland received the designation last week. The program provides low-interest federal disaster loans for small businesses impacted by the Coronavirus and will help alleviate financial strain and allow businesses to pay bills, payroll, and accounts payable, with long-term payments stretching up to 30 years. Small businesses and private non-profit organizations can apply directly to the SBA for financial assistance at this link.

For additional business resources available during the COVID-19 outbreak, please visit businessexpress.maryland.gov/coronavirus.

From AC DES: During Governor Larry Hogan’s Monday morning press conference, he has enacted an emergency order to close all non-essential businesses across the state effective at 5 p.m. today to aid in the slowing the spread of COVID-19. Allegany County remains one of four counties in Maryland with no confirmed cases, according to local health officials.

“Public health and public safety have been working together around the clock to ensure that citizens of Allegany County are protected and safe,” Emergency Services Director James Pyles said.

Pyles said his team at the Department of Emergency Services and allied agencies including the Allegany County Health Department, Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems, Maryland Emergency Management Agency, UPMC-Western Maryland and county law enforcement spend hours daily receiving updates on the best practices and procedures for citizens and healthcare providers.

“We have an incredibly experienced, talented and passionate team working for you,” Pyles added.

After Governor Hogan’s morning announcement, essential personnel are limited to the following categories: Healthcare; Public health; Law Enforcement; Public Safety and First Responders; Food and Agriculture, including grocery stores, pharmacies, farms and food delivery services; Energy, including electricity, petroleum, nature and propane gas workers; Water and Wastewater; Transportation and Logistics; Public Works; Communication and Information Technology; Community-Based Government operations with essential functions; Critical Manufacturing; Hazardous Materials management; Financial Services; Chemical Industry; and Defense Industrial Base.

This emergency order is not a shelter-in-place order, however, Pyles echoed Governor Hogan’s comments and urged Marylanders to remain home, adhere to social distancing guidelines.

“I want to thank the amazing residents of Allegany county for staying home and helping us maintain and control this pandemic. At this time there are 20 counties to include Baltimore City that have positive, confirmed cases of COVID-19,” Pyles said. “Allegany County remains one of four counties with no positive cases.”

Pyles reminded citizens that testing for COVID-19 is not as simple it may seem. However, UPMC-Western Maryland and other healthcare providers are testing citizens at same rate as other counties in Maryland. Some patients may experience extended wait times for results as labs are overwhelmed and unable to keep up with the nationwide demand.

“County health officials report that test kits and materials are in short supply,” Pyles said. “As a community, we need to prioritize the testing for the sickest citizens.”

The Allegany County Health Department reports that not everyone needs a COVID-19 specimen collection. The sicker you are, the more likely you should be tested for COVID-19. Get immediate medical attention if you start to experience difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in your chest, confusion, difficulty staying alert or bluish color in your lips or face. We are all in this tougher. Speak to your healthcare provider by phone to determine if your case requires a COVID-19.

“Public safety and public health want to remind citizens to do their part to conserve resources in this critical time,” Pyles said. “You as Allegany County Residents remain vigilant and passionate on bringing our community together as one.”

A third local case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Garrett County, according to the Garrett County Health Department and Garrett Regional Medical Center (GRMC).

The patient is a man over 60 from Garrett County who had no history of international travel, and no known contact with a COVID-19 case. He did, however, travel within the U.S. to an area known to have COVID-19 cases. All three of the confirmed positive cases in Garrett County traveled together. The patient has underlying health issues that made him more susceptible to the effects of the virus.

“This patient was admitted to GRMC, and given his symptoms, as well as his health and travel history, we identified him as a potential case upon admission,” said Mark Boucot, the hospital’s President & CEO. “Our staff treated him using precautions and approaches outlined by the CDC as we awaited test results. He was then transferred to WVU Medicine where his treatment is continuing.”

The two original positive cases reported on Sunday, March 22, continue to self-isolate at home and have not needed hospitalization.

“The Health Department is coordinating our response efforts and will continue to work to reduce the spread of infection and protect the health of all people in Garrett County,” said Garrett County Health Officer Bob Stephens.

“In response to the positive test outcomes, the Garrett County Health Department is following protocol and gathering information from the tested individuals,” Stephens said. “The Health Department staff is reaching out to all individuals who had contact with those who have tested positive. If you do not receive a phone call from the Health Department you should not be concerned that you have been exposed to these individuals.”

Because of privacy laws, no additional information about the positive cases will be released.

Following the announcement of positive cases in Garrett County, the Board of Garrett County Commissioners issued a Declaration of Emergency effective Sunday, March 22, 2020, at 5:00 PM local time. This declaration on the local level provides additional powers and resources to our County Departments to deal with the COVID-19 situation. The Garrett County Health Department is the lead agency in this emergency and is supported by all county departments under the coordination of the Department of Emergency Services.

Health leaders are asking people to take the illness seriously and to limit unnecessary social exposure by staying home, washing your hands, remaining home if you are mildly sick, and following the CDC’s guidance.

Patients with COVID-19 have experienced mild to severe respiratory illness. Symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. Call your provider if you develop symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if you live in or have recently been in high exposure areas.

Information and updates about COVID-19 in Garrett County and around the world are available at garretthealth.org. Residents can also call the Health Department COVID-19 Hotline at 301-334-7698.

Please call 911 only for medical emergencies, not for coronavirus information or questions.

From Washington County Government: The Washington County Joint Information Center (JIC) announces the second confirmed case of 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Washington County. The case is a male in his 30’s who is in good condition with mild symptoms and is recovering at home. The Washington County Health Department is investigating this case with the help of the Maryland Department of Health. Communicable Disease nurses will identify contacts and advise them of any necessary actions to take. Information will be released as soon as possible if any risk to the public is identified.

The JIC announced the first coronavirus (COVID-19) case at a press conference held Saturday, March 21, 2020. A woman in her 50’s who is in good condition with mild symptoms and is recovering at home.

The health risk from COVID-19 to the general public in Washington County, MD remains low at this time, but everyone is strongly urged to engage in practices that reduce the risk of spread.

It is likely there will be more cases reported in Washington County, MD in the coming days and weeks. Moving forward, a COVID-19 case count for Washington County, MD will be included in the daily briefing.

STAY INFORMED
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can cause mild to more severe respiratory illness. Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person. COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. If symptoms develop, please contact your health care provider and describe the situation.

To lower the risk of transmission, the Health Department recommends the following:
Avoid non-essential travel and public gatherings, especially if you are an individual who is at increased risk for severe illness, including pregnant women, older adults and persons of any age with underlying health conditions.
Avoid travel to all areas where there are outbreaks of COVID-19.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
If you are mildly sick with a fever, stay home except to get medical care.
Those with high risk factors and who have fever or new or worsening cough, should consider contacting their providers earlier when they are sick. Call ahead to let them know of your symptoms.

This is not a time to fear but to be aware, prepared, and informed. Please do not accept or share information unless it is from a credible source. Please follow https://www.washco-md.net/coronavirus-info/ for updates related to COVID-19 in Washington County, Maryland.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) today confirmed four new cases of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the state, making the total positive case count at 16. New cases were identified in Jefferson, Kanawha and Monongalia counties.

The state breakdown of cases by county are three individuals from Jefferson County, one individual from Jackson County, three individuals from Kanawha County, two from Marshall County, two from Mercer County, two from Monongalia County, one from Putnam County and two individuals from Tucker County. All cases are travel related.

As of March 22, 2020, at 7:00 p.m., 460 residents have been tested for COVID-19, with 16 positive, 444 negative and 4 tests pending (at state lab). These numbers include positive and negative tests from the state’s public health lab, commercial labs and hospitals.

For the most up to date information, please visitwww.coronavirus.wv.gov orhttp://www.cdc.gov/COVID19.

The first two local cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Garrett County, according to the Garrett County Health Department and Garrett Regional Medical Center (GRMC).

Both persons who tested positive are women over 60 who traveled within the U.S. to areas known to have COVID-19 cases. The two women have had contact with each other. The patients began self-isolating at home as soon as they were tested and have not needed hospitalization.

Both cases were tested at GRMC and when they were notified of the positive test result, GRMC immediately contacted the Garrett County Health Department, as per state reporting protocol.

“Garrett County has been preparing for the possibility of a case of COVID-19 since it was first reported in the United States,” said Garrett County Health Officer Bob Stephens. “The Health Department is coordinating our response efforts and will continue to work to reduce the spread of infection and protect the health of all people in Garrett County.”

Dr. Jennifer Corder, Garrett County’s Deputy Health Officer, agreed. “This news confirms that rural Garrett County is indeed part of the wider world, and COVID-19 will impact us to some degree. The most important thing the public can do is to follow the CDC guidance, which includes the standard hygiene practices we recommend to prevent the spread of flu and other viruses. In addition, it is critical to minimize potential spread by maintaining social distance between people. Most importantly, we must protect our precious healthcare providers including hospital-based workers from unnecessary potential exposure. Stay at home, especially if you are mildly ill, and speak to your provider by telephone.”

“GRMC will continue to work toward keeping our community healthy and safe as this health crisis evolves,” said Mark Boucot, GRMC’s President & CEO. “We are coordinating efforts with the Health Department and the County’s Emergency Management team, and we will continue to update the community as things develop. We want the public to remember that most COVID-19 patients can self-quarantine and recover at home with the help of their physician. If you are exhibiting symptoms or have been exposed to someone diagnosed with the virus, contact your doctor. Your physician will know what steps to take and will advise accordingly.”

While there are only two confirmed cases of the virus locally, we know more cases will follow. Health leaders are asking people to take the illness seriously and to limit unnecessary social exposure by staying home, washing your hands, remaining home if you are mildly sick, and following the CDC’s guidance.

In response to the positive test outcome, the Garrett County Health Department is gathering information on the tested individuals’ contacts in order to encourage home quarantine/isolation for those who may have been exposed.

Residents should continue to stay at home as much as possible and practice every day, preventative actions such as:• Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.• Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not available.• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue.• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.• If you are sick, stay home and call your provider for medical guidance.

For those at higher risk, it is especially important to take actions to reduce risk of exposure. According to the CDC, higher risk people are older adults and people who have severe chronic medical conditions like lung, heart, or kidney disease. These groups are advised to take additional precautions:• It is especially important to stay at home as much as possible.• Encourage others to go out for you if you need something such as medication or groceries.• Make sure you have access to several weeks of medications and supplies.

Patients with COVID-19 have experienced mild to severe respiratory illness. Symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. Call your provider if you develop symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if you live in or have recently been in high exposure areas.

Information and updates about COVID-19 in Garrett County and around the world are available at garretthealth.org. Residents can also call the Health Department COVID-19 Hotline at 301-334-7698.

Please call 911 only for medical emergencies, not for coronavirus information or questions.

By Diane Lee, Public Information Officer, Garrett County Health Department



Testing today for COVID-19 is not as simple as it sounds. Test kits and materials are in short supply. Labs are unable to keep up with the nationwide demand. Test results can take a week or longer, even for hospitalized patients. As a community we need to prioritize testing for our sickest members and also for the healthcare workers on the front lines taking care of the ill. Not everyone needs a COVID-19 specimen collection. The sicker you are the more likely you should be tested. Get immediate medical attention if you start to experience difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, difficulty staying alert or bluish color in the lips or face. We are all in this together. Speak to your health care provider over the phone to determine if your case requires COVID-19 testing. Please do your part to conserve resources. You can also assess your symptoms using the CDC’s coronavirus self-checker at coronavirus.gov 

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) today confirmed four new cases of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the state, making the total positive case count at twelve. New cases were identified in Putnam, Marshall, and Mercer counties.

The state breakdown of cases by county are two individuals from Jefferson County, one individual from Jackson County, one individual from Kanawha County, two from Marshall County, two from Mercer County, one from Monongalia County, one from Putnam County and two individuals from Tucker County. All cases are travel related.

As of March 21, 2020, at 6:00 p.m., 397 residents have been tested for COVID-19, with 12 positive, 385 negative and 1 test pending (at state lab). These numbers include positive and negative tests from the state’s public health lab, commercial labs and hospitals.

For the most up to date information, please visitwww.coronavirus.wv.gov orhttp://www.cdc.gov/COVID19.

From AC DES: One patient has been transported to an area hospital after requesting an ambulance for flu-like symptoms, according to emergency service officials.

“Fire and EMS units from Corriganville were dispatched to the intersection of Rockcut Road and Mount Savage Road to meet an Amtrak Train for a sick person,” Lt. Todd Bowman, public information officer for the Allegany County Department of Emergency Services said. “Additional resources were required on the scene to assist in moving the patient from the train due to a pre-existing condition.”

Bowman confirmed three people were in the train passenger car, two were asymptomatic and did not require emergency medical care, the third person was transported to UPMC-Western Maryland for evaluation by a Corriganville Volunteer Fire Department ambulance.

“With the current health crisis in the United States, all EMS units in Maryland under direction by the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems and local medical direction will continue to use universal precaution on incidents where COVID-19 and/or other respiratory illness is suspected…until proven otherwise,” Emergency Services Director James Pyles said. “First responders in Allegany County will uphold these precautions on incidents to ensure their protection.”

An Allegany County Department of Emergency Services EMS Division Lieutenant also responded to the 7:32 p.m.incident.

In a Saturday morning release, the Allegany County Health Department continues to report no confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been documented in Allegany County. 

From US Senator Joe Manchin: Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) is calling for West Virginians to support our medical professionals by making medical supplies they need desperately during the coronavirus outbreak.

“West Virginians have always supported those on the front lines. Right now, our medical professionals are on the front lines. It’s more important now than ever to support them as they fight this virus. Today I’m calling on West Virginians and our companies to be creative and do what they can to supply the crucial gear our medical professionals need. I’ll be keeping you informed on how to do this in the coming days. If you’re in the Charleston area, here’s how you can help now,” said Senator Manchin.

From the Charleston Area Medical Center (CAMC):

Calling those who sew! Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE). CAMC is asking volunteers who have the ability to sew to make masks.

Starting Monday, March 23, CAMC will have designated bins for the community to drop off masks and donate supplies. The bins will be available Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the following locations.

CAMC Human Resources – 419 Brooks St, Charleston, WV 25301

CAMC Women and Children’s Hospital (Physician offices side) – 830 Pennsylvania Ave, Charleston, WV 25302

CAMC Breast Center – 3415 MacCorkle Ave SE, Charleston, WV 25304

CAMC Teays Valley Human Resources – First Floor, Putnam Plaza, Hurricane, WV 25526

Christ Church United Methodist – 1221 Quarrier St, Charleston, WV 25301

Elizabeth Memorial United Methodist Church – 108 Oakwood Rd, Charleston, WV 25314

Bible Center Church – 100 Bible Center Dr, Charleston, WV 25309

If you would like to use your own fabric, please note that the pattern requires 100% cotton material. If you need materials, CAMC Volunteer Services will make arrangements to provide it to you.

Visit this link for the instructions and materials needed to make the masks: https://www.craftpassion.com/face-mask-sewing-pattern/.

For any questions, please call the CAMC Volunteer services office at (304) 388-7426 or email Kelly Anderson, Volunteer Services Director at kelly.anderson@camc.org. Thank you for supporting your hospital and health care workers!

From Garrett County Government: Governor Larry Hogan’s Executive Order released Thursday concerning Social Gatherings has given Marylanders a clear directive that any social grouping of more than 10 people is banned. The order is the latest in a series of changes being made to increase social distancing in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Social Distancing is a way to keep people from interacting closely or frequently enough to spread an infectious disease.

A section of the Governor’s order specifically states, “Social, community, spiritual, religious, recreational, leisure, and sporting gatherings and events (“large gatherings and events”) of more than 10 people are hereby prohibited at all locations and venues, including but not limited to parades, festivals, conventions, and fundraisers.”

Thus, the Executive Order requires that rentals be cancelled for all rental properties that sleep 10 or more persons.

The Board of Garrett County Commissioners encourages that all vacation rentals be cancelled, whether through rental companies, Air BnB, Vacation Rental by Owner (VRBO), or private individuals.

Locally, Garrett County Health Department and The Board of Garrett County Commissioners have been working with the vacation rental businesses to minimize the potential impact of the COVID-19 virus on their employees and on our community.

Safety for everyone living and/or working in Garrett County is of the utmost importance.

The strategies that are being employed by the rental industry to minimize impact of this pandemic are as follows:

• ​not accepting new reservations for the upcoming weeks
• ​working diligently to move existing reservations to alternate dates
• ​proactively enhancing policies and procedures to protect their staff.

“We want to thank the rental agencies for what they have already done to protect their employees and customers against the spread of the deadly Coronavirus,” said Garrett County Health Officer Bob Stephens. “We are aware that you have been taking precautions, and we are very pleased with your proactive measures to date to protect not only your employees and customers but also the general public.”

Information and updates about COVID-19 in Garrett County and around the world are available at https://www.garrettcounty.org/commissioners/coronavirus. Residents can also call the Health Department COVID-19 Hotline at 301-334-7698.

As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to change on a minute-by-minute basis, the Garrett County Health Department and the Board of Garrett County Commissioners are urging citizens to stay home, be responsible and avoid crowds.

State of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan also reminded Marylanders that the dramatic actions being taken across the country are to save lives.

“To further protect our residents, visitors and hospitality employees we request that visitors postpone trips to the mountains, Deep Creek Lake and the surrounding area beginning immediately,” commented Chairman Paul Edwards. “This action is necessary to ensure compliance with social distancing and flatten the curve of this dangerous coronavirus. At this point, the only weapon we have to combat this potentially fatal virus is to take drastic measures. All of us have to work together to outlast and shorten the cycle of this pandemic.”

Maryland has continued to take extreme actions to slow the spread of COVID-19. Governor Hogan announced several new statewide restrictions including limiting travel, closing shopping malls and enclosed entertainment venues and urging all Marylanders to stay home. Also, with the first COVID-19 death in Maryland, events and gatherings of 10 people or more are prohibited.

“We are urging citizens to stay home, be responsible and avoid large crowds. We will continue to monitor this changing situation and will not hesitate to take additional actions necessary to protect our community” said Garrett County Health Officer Robert Stephens.

Information and updates about COVID-19 in Garrett County and around the world are available at https://www.garrettcounty.org/commissioners/coronavirus. Residents can also call the Health Department COVID-19 Hotline at 301-334-7698.


From ACPS: Allegany County Public Schools would like to gather information on the availability of online access at our students’ homes. Visit the school system’s website or crisis management website to find the link to complete a very brief survey that will help us ensure online access for continuity of instruction during the mandatory school closure. https://www.acpsmd.org/site/default.aspx?DomainID=4

From WV DHHR: The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) today confirmed four new cases of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the state, making the total positive case count at twelve. New cases were identified in Kanawha, Marshall, and Mercer counties.

The state breakdown of cases by county are two individuals from Jefferson County, one individual from Jackson County, two individuals from Kanawha County, two from Marshall County, two from Mercer County, one from Monongalia County, and two individuals from Tucker County. All cases are travel related.

As of March 21, 2020, at 6:00 p.m., 397 residents have been tested for COVID-19, with 12 positive, 385 negative and 1 test pending (at state lab). These numbers include positive and negative tests from the state’s public health lab, commercial labs and hospitals.

For the most up to date information, please visit www.coronavirus.wv.gov or http://www.cdc.gov/COVID19.

From Cumberland City: With the increased use in disinfectant products, wipes and paper towels, the City of Cumberland Utilities Division would like to inform the community to NOT flush disinfectant wipes or wipes of any kind down the toilet.

Items, including wipes labeled by manufactures as “flushable” should never be flushed down the toilet. They do no break up in the sanitary system like toilet paper and can cause sewer back-ups in homes, apartments, and businesses, as well as in the sewer system. These back-ups can require costly plumbing repairs and create an environmental hazard.

The following items are considered trash and should be placed in the trash can (do not flush):

Wipes (baby, disinfecting, personal, etc)
Personal hygiene products​
Paper towels and other disposable cleaning clothes
Facial tissue, Q-tips, Dental floss, etc…

Please only flush toilet paper. Toilet paper is made to break apart after it is flushed.

From FSU President Ronald Nowaczyk: Following guidance from the University System of Maryland, the state of Maryland and the federal government, Frostburg State University classes for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester will be presented online – no face-to-face class meetings.

As a result, we are in the process of developing several additional policies and making additional operational decisions.

  1. ACADEMICS: The academic leadership team and faculty are developing processes and procedures to assist with the extended online learning protocol. They are also developing policies with regard to courses that cannot be completed online. Watch for emails from Provost Dr. Elizabeth Throop no later than Monday, March 23, on this information.
  2. ADVISING AND REGISTRATION: Course advising and scheduling for both summer and fall semesters will be online. Watch for emails about registration from the Office of the Registrar no later than Tuesday, March 24.
  3. STUDENTS LIVING ON CAMPUS: Residence halls will NOT reopen this weekend. (They had been scheduled to reopen for some students on Sunday, March 22.) No exceptions will be granted without the express approval of the Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Artie Lee Travis, requested via email to studentaffairs@frostburg.edu. Access cards will not work for those not pre-approved, and students who are home should stay there. Students who stayed on campus during spring break may remain, but if they want to return home, they should do so. Any students who need to live in the residence halls for whatever reason must get advance permission from the VP for student affairs
    Residence Life will follow the guidance of USM and the State of Maryland on its plan for on-campus students to retrieve their personal items. DO NOT come to campus to pick up your items from the residence halls until you have been contacted by Residence Life.
    The halls affected are Allen, Annapolis, Cumberland, Diehl, Frederick, Frost, Gray, Simpson, Sowers, Westminster. If you live in one of these residence halls, you will receive an email from the Residence Life Office no later than Friday, March 20, outlining the plan.
    Students residing in Edgewood Commons should contact Susan Kramer at 301-689-1370 for instructions.
  4. ROOM AND BOARD REFUNDS: A pro-rated refund plan for on-campus rooms and meal plans for students not approved to return to campus is being developed. Watch for emails from University Billing no later than Wednesday, March 25, with updates on this information.
  5. STUDENTS, PLEASE STAY HOME IF YOU CAN: For those students who do not need campus services (e.g., housing, internet access), please remain at home to complete your studies. Students who need to be on campus should contact Student Affairs at StudentAffairs@frostburg.edu for accommodations.
  6. COMMENCEMENT: Commencement will be postponed. Students approved for graduation will be contacted by email no later than Tuesday, March 24, for their input about alternatives.
  7. CAMPUS COMMUNICATIONS: In addition to our campus emails and web postings, the every-Monday StateLines publication will provide updated information and helpful tips. The Office of Student Affairs will continue to send regular campus updates to the family contacts for whom we have email addresses.
https://www.frostburg.edu/brady-health/Coronavirus-resources.php

From ACM: Allegany College of Maryland has made the difficult decision to continue classes online until the end of the semester.

Effective at close of business today, Friday, March 20, 2020, no faculty, staff, or student should come to any campus location (Cumberland Campus, Bedford County Campus, Gateway Center, Bedford County Technical Center, Garrett County Nursing Site, and Somerset Education Site). This will remain in effect through at least Sunday, April 12, 2020. There will be no face-to-face classes or on-site student services. A decision about the status of campus operations will be announced on or before Wednesday, April 8, 2020. Willowbrook Woods will remain open to student residents.

Additional information regarding clinical and laboratory programs will be provided to students at a later date. Students are encouraged to check in with their faculty members if they have questions about online coursework or concerns about online access.

Non-credit classes and training through the ACM Center for Continuing Education and Workforce Development are suspended until further notice.

ACM staff is available to answer questions, advise students on courses, connect them with accommodations and disability resources, address billing questions, and discuss financial aid and scholarship options, etc. through email and online platforms.

Plans for commencement exercises and other future college events and activities will be decided by Wednesday, April 15, 2020. Information about registration for summer and fall classes will be forthcoming.

Students are encouraged to utilize remote counseling services if they are experiencing mental health concerns. More information is available through the coronavirus response page on the college’s website.

“Our hope is to minimize, to the greatest extent possible, the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on our students’ academic pursuits while remaining in compliance with current State and Federal guidance,” said ACM President Dr. Cynthia Bambara. “It’s changing how we operate, but we’re already finding new and innovative ways to engage with our students and one another.”

Questions may be directed to the ACM Information Center at info@allegany.edu.

From Cumberland City: In response to the temporary closure of Cumberland City Hall to public traffic in order to help control the spread of Coronavirus disease, the Mayor and City Council’s regular meetings are going to be livestreamed to a special Facebook page. The page is being created by city staff in the spirit of transparent government to keep interested city residents and stakeholders informed about public actions of the council. The page will also allow the City to live-stream bid openings, board and commission meetings, and other public business as the need arises. The official city website at http://www.cumberlandmd.gov/ will also feature a link to the live-stream page.

Citizens who wish to follow the page can access it at fb.me/CityHallLiveStream and click “Like.” Messages about page content can be sent to m.me/CityHallLiveStream

The Mayor and City Council encourage everyone to comply with the Governor’s directives and remain vigilant and educated on news pertaining to the virus. The local informational clearinghouse is the Allegany County Health Department. The Health Department’s website has additional information that may be accessed at: https://health.maryland.gov/allegany/Pages/Home.aspx


From MD Park Service: Maryland State Parks Are Open, With Some Restrictions

The safety and well-being of our staff and visitors to Maryland State Parks is our top priority and we take that responsibility very seriously. With that in mind, Maryland State Parks will remain open at this time; however, staff will be taking extra safety precautions to mitigate the risk of contact with the COVID-19 virus. This includes the implementation of enhanced cleaning protocols at all of the parks’ restrooms. All other State Park buildings are closed to the public. All planned events and gatherings of groups larger than 10 people are cancelled through the end of April. We will continue to monitor the situation and adjust operations as events warrant. This website will be updated as new information becomes available.

What we are doing to keep you safe:

Essential park staff remains on duty to assist visitors, protect facilities, and ensure safe
conditions.

We have closed most park buildings to minimize congregating in enclosed spaces. Some restrooms remain open to support acceptable sanitary conditions, and provide access to hand washing/sanitation. Those restrooms are supplemented with portable toilets in some cases.

Shelters, full-service cabins and playgrounds have been closed to prevent gatherings. All those with full-service cabin and other lodging reservations for dates prior to May 11 are being notified of the Governor’s Executive Order restricting planned gatherings to no more than 10 people, and their reservation cancelled. Change of date/refunds will be granted for all cancellations.

Campground opening dates have been delayed until May 11, in order to allow the Maryland Park Service and our visitors to monitor the rapidly developing situation. Further information will be provided as it becomes available.

Enhanced cleaning procedures have been implemented for those buildings that remain open.

The Duty Ranger cell phone number will be posted on closed buildings, so that visitors can contact park staff. All planned special events are canceled through the end of April, and special events in May are tentative. All park interpretive programs are canceled through the end of April, and May programs are tentative. All those with shelter reservations for dates prior to May 11 are being notified of the Governor’s Executive Order restricting planned gatherings to no more than 10 people, and their reservation cancelled. Change of date/refunds will be granted for all cancellations.

What you can do to help us keep you safe:

• Do not visit State Parks if you are sick, or have
been sick within the past two weeks.

• Do not enter/remain in any park areas where
people typically congregate. Avoid popular areas
such as playgrounds, buildings, parking lots,
scenic overlooks, heavily used trails, etc.

• Practice social distancing, maintaining a distance
of at least six feet from other visitors.

• Practice good hygiene, including hand washing
or hand sanitizing prior to, during (if possible)
and after your visit.

From WV Governor: Gov. Jim Justice joined State health leaders at the Capitol Complex in Charleston today for a virtual press briefing to once again update the public on the many precautionary measures being taken in the interest of protecting the public from the potential spread of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
CLOSURE OF STATE PARK LODGES, HATFIELD MCCOY TRAIL
During his remarks, the Governor announced that he has issued an Executive Order, mandating the statewide closure of all West Virginia state park lodges as well as the closure of the Hatfield McCoy Trail to the general public.

This order will officially go into effect tonight at midnight.

This closure only pertains to lodges and the Hatfield McCoy Trail specifically. It does not mandate the closure of entire state parks, campsites, or cabins.

“We want you to enjoy the parks. We want you to get outside. We want you to bike and hike and fish. But you just need to stay away from people,” Gov. Justice said. “Taking in the wonderful, pristine air from our parks can be very calming.

“Absolutely go to our parks and enjoy the parks. We’ve just got to close down our lodges.”

Gov. Justice also announced that trout stockings around the state will continue as planned. Gov. Justice urges West Virginians to participate by casting a line at their favorite West Virginia state park.

SUSPENSION OF SEVERAL STATUTORY RULES
Also during the briefing, Gov. Justice announced that he has also issued an Executive Order, mandating the suspension of several statutory regulations. These include:
Suspending the requirement that any medical provider “hold an active, unexpired license” issued by the Board of Medicine, with the exception of those with pending complaints, investigations, consent orders, board orders, or pending disciplinary proceedings.
Suspending the requirement for telemedicine providers to be licensed in West Virginia, provided that such provider possesses a license within their own state.
Suspending the requirement that medical licenses are only valid for two years.
Suspending the requirement that an educational permit is only valid for one year.
Suspending the requirements for Physician Assistants licensure, reinstatement of licenses, written authorizations from the boards, collaboration limits, and collaborative agreements.
Suspending the requirements that boards of examination or registration conduct investigations and adjudication of complaints of professional and occupational misconduct in specific timeframes.
Suspending the requirement that any person to practice or offer to practice medicine or surgery as an osteopathic physician or surgeon “hold an active, unexpired license” issued by the Board of Osteopathic Medicine, with the exception of those with pending complaints, investigations, consent orders, board orders, or pending disciplinary proceedings.
Suspending the requirement for post-graduate training that will no longer be available after July 1, 2020 and the requirement that individuals graduating from ACGME programs have to complete 40 hours of Continuing Medical Education prior to licensure.
Suspending the requirement that physicians biennially furnish proof of completion of 32 hours of continuing medical education prior to renewal.
Suspending the requirement that the first educational permit issued be valid for a period of 15 months and subsequent educational permits issued to the same person may be valid for not more than 12 months.
Suspending the requirement that telemedicine be performed by video only.
Suspending the procedures for applications for licensure by out-of-state medical practitioners under the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact.
Suspending vehicle size and weight limitations.
Suspending the deadlines for annual vehicle inspections.
Suspending the deadlines for renewal and payment of annual fees for video lottery machines.
Suspending the deadline to renew permits from Alcohol Beverage Control Administration.
Suspending any other statute or rule that prescribes time limits or deadlines by which state agencies or political subdivisions or agencies thereunder must hold hearings, and allowing abeyance of such hearings or for such hearings to be conducted by telephonic means, at the sole discretion of the applicable state agency or political subdivision or agencies thereunder.

GOV. JUSTICE ENCOURAGING BLOOD DONATIONS
The Governor also announced today that The American Red Cross is facing a severe blood shortage due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations during the COVID-19 outbreak. As the COVID-19 pandemic has grown in the U.S., blood drive cancellations have grown at an alarming rate. Healthy individuals are needed to donate now to help patients counting on lifesaving blood.

The Red Cross has implemented additional precautions to ensure the safety of donors and staff. The Red Cross only collects blood from individuals who are healthy and feeling well at the time of donation. Donating blood does not impact or weaken the immune system.

If you are healthy and feeling well, please make an appointment to donate as soon as possible by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Drives are being updated constantly so you can find a blood drive.

TOURISM OFFICE UNVEILS MAP OF OPEN RESTAURANTS
Today, the Governor also announced that the West Virginia Tourism Office has launched an interactive map of open restaurants that shows the locations of all eateries in the state that are continuing to operate drive thru, carryout, and delivery services at this time.

DHHR REQUESTS SUSPENSION OF DRUG TESTS FOR TANF APPLICANTS
Today, at the direction of the Governor, the Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Children and Families requested the immediate suspension of the rule requiring applicants of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to participate in drug screening, which often requires close contact between multiple individuals.

HIGHER-ED SYSTEMS PROVIDING FINANCIAL AID FLEXIBILITY
Also today, the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and Council for Community and Technical College Education voted to provide students with greater flexibilities in accessing and renewing state financial aid programs. This move comes as higher education institutions across the state continue adjusting methods for course delivery this semester in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in West Virginia, with many transitioning to online or other non-face-to-face methods for their classes.

A summary of ongoing changes being made across West Virginia’s college campuses to prevent the spread of COVID-19 can be found at wvhepc.edu/coronavirus.
MORE INFORMATION ON PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT
Following Gov. Justice’s announcement yesterday that the state has purchased 100,000 N95 surgical masks and 275 sets of highly protective Tyvek suits, state leaders said today that the priority recipients of these pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) are and will remain healthcare workers and local health department staff, as these individuals are on the front lines of treating COVID-19. Ensuring their health and safety is vital to protecting all West Virginians.

The Department of Health and Human Resources will maintain its prioritization as further quantities become available, with additional consideration to EMS, clinics, physicians, and other community partners.

There are no plans to release any PPE to any other individuals or organizations at this time. The Justice Administration continues its efforts to identify other sources of PPE
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Gov. Justice is continuing to encourage West Virginians to follow the guidelines presented Monday by President Donald J. Trump to avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people.

For more information about COVID-19 prevention and more, call the State’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-887-4304 or visit Coronavirus.wv.gov

From WV DHHR: The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) today confirmed three new cases of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the state, making the total positive case count at eight. New cases were identified in Jackson, Jefferson, and Kanawha counties.

The state breakdown of cases by county are two individuals from Jefferson County, one individual from Jackson County, one individual from Kanawha County, one from Mercer County, one from Monongalia County, and two individuals from Tucker County. All cases are travel related.

As of March 20, 2020, at 6:00 p.m., 338 residents have been tested for COVID-19, with 8 positive, 330 negative and 2 tests pending (at state lab). These numbers include positive and negative tests from the state’s public health lab, commercial labs and hospitals.

For the most up to date information, please visit www.coronavirus.wv.gov or http://www.cdc.gov/COVID19.

From MD Governor: Governor Larry Hogan has issued the following statement regarding Maryland’s second COVID-19 death, a Baltimore County resident in his 60s who suffered from underlying medical conditions:

“A second Marylander has lost his life as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. On behalf of our entire state, we send our heartfelt condolences to his family and to all those who loved him.

“As the number of positive cases in Maryland continues to dramatically rise, we need everyone to take this seriously. This is a public health crisis like nothing we have ever faced before—we are all in this together, and we will get through this together.”

 UPDATED: Businesses who paid their Maryland Sales & Use Taxes for March early may request a refund of their payment by emailing taxpayerrelief@marylandtaxes.gov or by calling 410-260-4020. To assist businesses affected by the economic impact of COVID-19, Comptroller Peter Franchot wants to remind business owners that he has extended business-related tax filing deadlines. Sales and Use Tax payments that typically would be due today do not have to be paid until June 1.

The extension applies to certain business returns with due dates during the months of March, April and May 2020 for businesses filing sales and use tax, withholding tax, and admissions & amusement tax, as well as alcohol, tobacco and motor fuel excise taxes, tire recycling fee and bay restoration fee returns.

Business taxpayers who file and pay by the extended due date will receive a waiver of interest and penalties.

“Our state’s top priority is safeguarding public health for Marylanders, but we must also protect the financial health of our economy,” said Comptroller Franchot. “This extension will provide much-needed relief to our business owners as they adjust to changes in consumer behavior, tourism trends and employee workforce output.”

The Maryland Comptroller’s Office also will offer a 90-day extension of income tax filings & payments from April 15 to July 15, 2020. Comptroller Franchot said both Maryland individual and corporate income taxpayers will be afforded the same relief for state income tax payments. No interest or penalty for late payments will be imposed if 2019 tax payments are made by July 15, 2020.

Fiscal and calendar year filers with tax years ending January 1, 2020 through March 31, 2020 are also eligible for the July 15, 2020 payment extension. The due date for March quarterly estimated payments is extended to July 15, 2020.

The agency has set up a dedicated email address — taxpayerrelief@marylandtaxes.gov — to assist businesses with extension-related questions. Business owners can also call the Comptroller’s Ombudsman at 410-260-4020.

As part of the Maryland’s overall response to the coronavirus, and in an effort to prioritize health and safety, Maryland Health Connection opened a new special enrollment period for uninsured Marylanders. The coronavirus emergency special enrollment period began Monday, March 16, and end Wednesday, April 15. Coverage will begin April 1, 2020, regardless of when a health plan is selected during that time period.https://www.marylandhealthconnection.gov/coronavirus-sep/


PA Governor Tom Wolf ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania to close their physical locations as of 8 p.m. March 19, 2020 to slow the spread of COVID-19. Enforcement actions against businesses that do not close physical locations will begin at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 21.

From MD Governor: MD Governor Larry Hogan today signed HB1663/SB1080, the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Protection Act of 2020, which supports the governor’s ongoing actions to combat COVID-19 and protects Marylanders from certain economic hardships that may result from this pandemic. The governor was joined by House Speaker Adrienne Jones and Senate President Bill Ferguson.
Under Public Safety Article Section 14-107 of Maryland law, the governor has broad powers during a state of emergency to take actions that will help keep Marylanders safe. The COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Protection Act of 2020 specifies additional measures that the governor may take to address the unique challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, including facilitating access and delivery of health care.
The bill establishes a series of protections for individuals directly affected by COVID-19 or more broadly impacted by the state of emergency, including empowering the governor to:
• Prohibit cost-sharing by an insurance carriers for COVID-19 testing and associated costs
• Establish or waive telehealth protocols
• Require carriers and Medicaid to cover a COVID-19 immunization (should one be developed) and any associated costs, without cost-sharing, for certain patients
• Work with Maryland Department of Health (MDH), the Maryland Insurance Commissioner, and the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange to minimize disruption in enrollment in health insurance and Medicaid
• Allow MDH to offer more flexibility in staffing during the state of emergency
• Prohibit employers from terminating an employee solely on the basis that the employee has been required to be isolated or quarantined or if the individual leaves employment due to a risk of exposure or infection COVID–19 or to care for a family member due to COVID-19
• Provides flexibility to the Secretary of Labor to allow workers who have not been terminated to collect unemployment insurance if their employer has been closed due to COVID-19, if they have been quarantined, or if they are caring for a family member who is quarantined
It also prohibits retailers from unfair price gouging for essential goods like food, fuel, medicine, medical supplies, and cleaning products, and affirms that such action is subject to the enforcement by the attorney general.
A list of ongoing state actions is available at governor.maryland.gov/coronavirus

From MD Governor: Governor Larry Hogan today announced that Maryland has received official designation from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for its Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, which provides low-interest federal disaster loans for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the SBA, the loans will help alleviate financial strain and allow businesses to pay bills, payroll, and accounts payable, with long-term payments stretching up to 30 years. Small businesses and private non-profit organizations can apply directly to the SBA for financial assistance here.

“Our first and foremost priority is protecting the health and safety of Marylanders, but we are also deeply concerned about the economic impact of this pandemic, which is why we worked quickly with our federal partners to apply for this designation,” said Governor Hogan. “This program will offer immediate relief to our small business community and help them to remain afloat during this difficult time.”

In order to receive designation, the state was required to provide at least five examples of companies that have suffered a significant economic injury due to COVID-19. With the recent executive order closing restaurants, bars, fitness centers, and theaters, along with the prohibition of gatherings of more than 10 people, several businesses across the state have reported substantial impacts and are in need of immediate financial assistance.

“Maryland’s small businesses are critically important to our economy and we recognize the impact this crisis is having on them,” said Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly M. Schulz. “This loan program, combined with other state and federal assistance, will give businesses the support and resources they need to continue to operate.”

“This assistance is available to those businesses who have suffered economic hardship as a result of COVID-19,” said Russell Strickland, executive director of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). “MEMA worked closely with local emergency management agencies to expedite the request for assistance from the SBA. These loans will help those hit hardest by the effects of COVID-19.”

For additional business resources available during the COVID-19 outbreak, please visit businessexpress.maryland.gov/coronavirus.

From WV Governor: Gov. Jim Justice issued an executive order on Thursday, directing WorkForce West Virginia and the West Virginia Department of Commerce to provide unemployment benefits to those affected by COVID-19 and administer them to the maximum extent permitted by federal law.

Gov. Justice’s executive order allows WorkForce to:
Waive the one-week waiting period for eligible West Virginians to receive unemployment benefits
Waive the able and available work requirement
Waive the work search requirement
Unemployment benefits will be available to eligible individuals who are requested by a medical professional, local health authority or employer to be isolated or quarantined as a consequence of COVID-19, even if they are not actually diagnosed.

WorkForce’s plan to process influx of claims
Since Gov. Justice declared a state of emergency on March 16, WorkForce has processed more than 4,000 new claims for unemployment benefits. To manage and process the influx of claims, WorkForce has implemented the following measures:
Extend phone hours to 7 p.m.
Permit staff to work overtime and on weekends
Train additional staff
Train and utilize Department of Commerce staff
Utilize temporary employees
Those seeking to file an initial claim for unemployment benefits should do so online at www.workforcewv.org.

“As we face these uncertain times, we want to reassure every person who has recently lost their job that financial assistance is available to them,” said Scott Adkins, acting commissioner for WorkForce West Virginia. “But there’s no time to waste. As soon as employment ends, you should file for benefits because each day you wait is a day you have to wait for that much-needed help.”

Where to file
The fastest way to file for benefits is online at www.workforcewv.org. A step-by-step guide to filing an initial claim may be found by going to Unemployment section of WorkForce’s website and then clicking the Claimants tab. Those who do not have internet access, have a disability requiring assistive technology or need further assistance should call 1-800-252-JOBS.

When to file
It is important to file a new claim immediately after employment ends.

How to file
To file an initial claim, applications need to register as a job seeker at www.workforcewv.org.

After filing an initial claim, a WorkForce West Virginia staff member will contact the applicant by email or by phone. To learn more about WorkForce West Virginia services and programs, visit www.workforcewv.org

From WV Governor: Gov. Jim Justice joined State health leaders at the Capitol Complex in Charleston Thursday for a virtual press briefing to once again update the public on the many precautionary measures being taken in the interest of protecting the public from the potential spread of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
CLOSURE OF BARBERSHOPS AND SALONS
During his remarks, the Governor announced that he has issued an Executive Order, mandating the statewide closure of all barbershops, hair salons, and nail salons.

This order will officially go into effect tonight at midnight.

“We’re trying in every way we possibly can to be the state that leads that way,” Gov. Justice said. “The state that was proactive and absolutely had a preparedness, the state that is reacting in a way that great West Virginians do and that is helping one another.”
STATE PURCHASES 100,000 SURGICAL MASKS
Also during the briefing, Gov. Justice announced that, through the Governor’s Contingency Fund, the state has purchased 100,000 N95 surgical masks from a private West Virginia business.

The West Virginia National Guard today also bought 275 sets of highly protective Tyvek suits with special filtering masks which will also be used by healthcare providers and first responders.
GOV. JUSTICE TESTED FOR COVID-19
Gov. Justice also announced during the press conference that on February 15 he came into contact with an individual who has since tested positive for COVID-19. Because of this contact, the Governor was administered a test for COVID-19 today and the results came back negative.
SBA ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOAN UPDATE
Gov. Justice also announced today that the United States Small Business Administration officially declared West Virginia as an Economic Injury Disaster zone. This declaration will allow small businesses across West Virginia with great need to apply for low-interest loans.
COUNTY STAFFING EXECUTIVE ORDER
Gov. Justice also issued an Executive Order today, giving counties the authority and flexibility to evaluate courthouse services and staffing and to make decisions that are in the best interest of each respective county, as determined by officials from each county.

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS FOR THOSE AFFECTED
Earlier today, the Governor filed an Executive Order directing the West Virginia Department of Commerce and WorkForce West Virginia to provide unemployment benefits to those affected by COVID-19 to the maximum extent permitted under federal law.

Individuals who are separated from employment, have had their hours of employment reduced, or are prevented from working due to either a documented medical condition caused by COVID-19 or due to communicable disease control measures related to COVID-19 are eligible for these benefits, according to the Governor’s order.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Gov. Justice is continuing to encourage West Virginians to follow the guidelines presented Monday by President Donald J. Trump to avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people.

For more information about COVID-19 prevention and more, call the State’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-887-4304 or visit Coronavirus.wv.gov.


From WV DHHR: The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) confirmed three new cases of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the state, making the total positive case count at five. All three new positive cases are travel related.
Two individuals are from Tucker County and one is from Monongalia County. All three are being treated at home. No additional details will be released at this time. Earlier this week two positive tests were confirmed in Jefferson and Mercer counties.
As of March 19, 2020, at 9:30 p.m., 224 residents have been tested for COVID-19, with 5 positive, 219 negative and 13 tests pending (at state lab). These numbers include positive and negative tests from the state’s public health lab, Labcorp, Quest, and West Virginia University Medicine.
For the most up to date information, please visit www.coronavirus.wv.gov or http://www.cdc.gov/COVID19.


MD Governor Larry Hogan today signed HB1663/SB1080, the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Protection Act of 2020, which supports the governor’s ongoing actions to combat COVID-19 and protects Marylanders from certain economic hardships that may result from this pandemic. The governor was joined by House Speaker Adrienne Jones and Senate President Bill Ferguson.

Under Public Safety Article Section 14-107 of Maryland law, the governor has broad powers during a state of emergency to take actions that will help keep Marylanders safe. The COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Protection Act of 2020 specifies additional measures that the governor may take to address the unique challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, including facilitating access and delivery of health care.

The bill establishes a series of protections for individuals directly affected by COVID-19 or more broadly impacted by the state of emergency, including empowering the governor to: 

• Prohibit cost-sharing by an insurance carriers for COVID-19 testing and associated costs

• Establish or waive telehealth protocols

• Require carriers and Medicaid to cover a COVID-19 immunization (should one be developed) and any associated costs, without cost-sharing, for certain patients

• Work with Maryland Department of Health (MDH), the Maryland Insurance Commissioner, and the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange to minimize disruption in enrollment in health insurance and Medicaid

• Allow MDH to offer more flexibility in staffing during the state of emergency

• Prohibit employers from terminating an employee solely on the basis that the employee has been required to be isolated or quarantined or if the individual leaves employment due to a risk of exposure or infection COVID–19 or to care for a family member due to COVID-19

• Provides flexibility to the Secretary of Labor to allow workers who have not been terminated to collect unemployment insurance if their employer has been closed due to COVID-19, if they have been quarantined, or if they are caring for a family member who is quarantined

It also prohibits retailers from unfair price gouging for essential goods like food, fuel, medicine, medical supplies, and cleaning products, and affirms that such action is subject to the enforcement by the attorney general.

A list of ongoing state actions is available at governor.maryland.gov/coronavirus

Due to the overwhelming response Allegany County will be suspending recycling earlier than anticipated- at 8:00 am on Friday March 20,2020.

The County is taking precautions to prevent littering at the sites, encourage social distancing, and for the safety of our workers handling recyclables.

As of March 17 there are no changes to the operations of the County Mulch and Yard Trim Site and Residential Trash Site Operations in Frostburg, Oldtown, Little Orleans and Flintstone.

Residents are encouraged to save their clean recyclables for the duration of the suspension.

In response to the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak, effective Friday, March 20 at 8:30 A.M. public access to the Mineral County Courthouse will be limited, with offices operating on an appointment-only basis. The public is encouraged to utilize online resources or call the needed office to schedule an appointment. Phone numbers to County Offices are:

County Commission: 304-788-5921

County Clerk: 304-788-3924

Circuit Clerk: 304-788-1562

Sheriff’s Office: 304-788-0341

Prosecuting Office: 304-788-0300

Assessor’s Office: 304-788-3753

Emergency Management: 304-788-182

The coronavirus has everyone looking for ways to be safe. We need our children to be safe too! Remember in Allegany County, each school is providing meals for students Monday-Friday between the hours of 11am-1pm. Be alert and watch for children walking and biking. Please exercise caution in and around schools due to the increased traffic during these times. Slow Down, Stay Alert, Keep your head up and Put your phone away! This message brought to you by the Allegany County Sheriff’s Office. Funding provided by the Maryland Center for School Safety. 

The Salvation Army is responding to COVID-19  

Cumberland, MD — When the unexpected happens The Salvation Army prepares for the greater need for emotional and spiritual care.  As the global virus panic spreads across Cumberland The Salvation Army is ready to serve in whatever capacity we are needed.  Today, our food pantry is stocked, and our volunteers are preparing food boxes that will be distributed to senior citizens and families with children.  The Salvation Army is providing home delivery of pantry and toiletry items where needed.  If you or someone you know is in need please contact Karen at 301.777.7600.   

“Food insecurity is a real problem in our community,” says Captain Ronnette Smith.  “There are many people whose children are home from school, who are out of work, or who are on fixed incomes. The Salvation Army is their safety net providing many of the necessities they need to stay safe in their homes,” says Captain Smith. 

You can donate to The Salvation Army by visiting give.salvationarmymwv.org/give/277321

About The Salvation Army of Cumberland, MD 

Serving Allegany & Garrett Counties in MD & Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, Pendleton & Tucker Counties in WV. 

About The Salvation Army  

The Salvation Army annually helps more than 23 million Americans overcome poverty, addiction, and economic hardships through a range of social services. By providing food for the hungry, emergency relief for disaster survivors, rehabilitation for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, and clothing and shelter for people in need, The Salvation Army is doing the most good at 7,600 centers of operation around the country. In the first-ever listing of “America’s Favorite Charities” by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Salvation Army ranked as the country’s largest privately funded, direct-service nonprofit. For more information, visit SalvationArmyUSA.org. Follow us on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS and #DoingTheMostGood

From ACPS: The Allegany County Public Schools’ Food Service Department will be offering three meals per day for students, which will include breakfast, lunch, and a snack, beginning on Monday, March 23, 2020. All meals will continue to be available at all 21 school locations from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. All three meals may be picked up at the same time. As has been the policy this week, meals may be picked up by parents/students at any of the schools (even if they are not enrolled in that school) during the scheduled pick-up times.

From MD Governor: Governor Larry Hogan today announced a series of new actions to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Maryland, including limiting gatherings to 10 people, ordering the closure of shopping malls, restricting access to the BWI Marshall Airport terminal, and urging the use of transit for essential travel only.

“Despite all of our repeated warnings for weeks, and in spite of the rapid escalation of this crisis across our state, the nation, and the world, some people are treating this like a vacation or a spring break with parties, cookouts, and large gatherings,” said Governor Hogan. “Let me be very clear—if you are engaged in this, you are in violation of state law and you are endangering the lives of your fellow Marylanders.”

Today’s daily count shows that Maryland has 107 confirmed cases of COVID-19—an 88 percent increase over 48 hours. Last night, Governor Hogan announced the state’s first death as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and today the state reported its first case of a child contracting the virus.

“This truly is one of the most daunting challenges our state has ever faced,” said Governor Hogan. “But sometimes the worst times have a way of bringing out the very best in people. Marylanders are a shining example of that, and we have seen so many examples of compassion and generosity in recent days. We 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.”

The governor also announced that later today, as chairman of the National Governors Association, he will submit five requests to the president, vice president, and leaders in both houses of Congress on behalf of the nation’s governors:

(1) Dedicate at least 50 percent of supplemental funding to the states, including direct funding, and act quickly on waiver requests
(2) Increase access to PPE, masks, test kits, extraction kits, and accelerating the production of life-saving equipment, such as ventilators
(3) Support Title 32 authorization to give governors maximum flexibility for use of the National Guard
(4) Provide guidance on implementation of Defense Production Act to include what health and medical resources Secretary of Health and Human Services Azar is prioritizing under his new authority
(5) Allow more time and flexibility for completion of both the Census and the transition to REAL ID

Below is a comprehensive list of actions the governor is taking today:

LIMITING GATHERINGS AND ORDERING CLOSURE OF SHOPPING MALLS: Governor Hogan has amended a previous executive order to reduce the size of social, cultural, and community gatherings to 10 people, and require the closure of all enclosed shopping malls, as well as bowling alleys and pool halls. Read the emergency order.

RESTRICTED ACCESS TO BWI MARSHALL AIRPORT TERMINAL: Governor Hogan has directed the Maryland Department of Transportation to restrict access to the BWI Marshall Terminal to ticketed passengers and employees only. Exceptions will be made for visitors assisting disabled passengers. Maryland Transportation Authority Police will strictly enforce this policy.

TRANSIT FOR ESSENTIAL TRAVEL ONLY: The state is urging citizens to utilize transit for essential travel only, including emergency personnel, front-line health care workers, and anyone whose job is critical to the supply chain.

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND SPRING SEMESTER: Governor Hogan has asked the University System of Maryland Board of Regents to keep all students off campus and finish the spring semester online.

HOSPITAL SURGE PLAN: Governor Hogan announced that, as part of phase one of the hospital surge plan, 900 beds will be made available immediately. By early April, another 1,400 beds are expected to come online. The multi-phase plan calls for adding capacity of up to 6,000 beds.

FLEXIBILITY FOR EMERGENCY MEDICAL PERSONNEL: Governor Hogan issued an emergency order to allow greater flexibility for emergency medical services personnel to augment other health care providers. This action will help bolster the state’s hospital surge plan. Read the emergency order.

RELAUNCH OF MARYLAND UNITES: Governor Hogan announced the relaunch of the Maryland Unites initiative to connect Marylanders with resources and highlight stories of generosity and compassion amid the crisis. To learn more, visit governor.maryland.gov/marylandunites.

DELIVERY AND CARRY-OUT OF ALCOHOL: Governor Hogan has issued an emergency order that allows for delivery and carry-out sales of alcohol by restaurants, bars, distilleries, and wineries, subject to liquor laws and other conditions imposed by local alcoholic beverage authorities. Read the emergency order.

TEMPERATURE CHECKS AT STATE HOUSE: The Department of General Services has instituted temperature checks and health screenings at the State House with the assistance of National Guard medical personnel.

LIFTING RESTRICTIONS ON DELIVERY TRUCKS: To help facilitate the movement of essential supplies, Governor Hogan has issued an emergency order to lift restrictions on the capacity of delivery trucks. Motor vehicles transporting equipment or supplies directly related to the COVID-19 state of emergency are allowed to exceed legal weight limits by up to 15%. The State Highway Administrator may also temporarily waive or modify hauling permit restrictions and conditions deemed safe and appropriate. Read the emergency order.

Resources for Businesses. The Maryland Departments of Commerce and Labor have compiled resources to help businesses whose daily operations are affected during the state of emergency. Members of the business community are encouraged to reach out with their questions by sending a message to Secretary.Commerce@maryland.gov.

State of Emergency. The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic. The State of Maryland is continuing to operate under a state of emergency, and all levels of government are taking a comprehensive, collaborative approach to keep Marylanders safe. The list of ongoing state actions is available at governor.maryland.gov/coronavirus.

From WV Governor: Gov. Jim Justice today issued an Executive Order, directing the West Virginia Department of Commerce and WorkForce West Virginia to provide unemployment benefits to those affected by COVID-19 to the maximum extent permitted under federal law.
Individuals who are separated from employment, have had their hours of employment reduced, or are prevented from working due to either a documented medical condition caused by COVID-19 or due to communicable disease control measures related to COVID-19 are eligible for these benefits, according to the Governor’s order.
The changes outlined in this order will remain in place throughout the duration of the Governor’s recent State of Emergency declaration related to COVID-19.
For more information about COVID-19 prevention and more, call the State’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-887-4304 or visit Coronavirus.wv.gov




President Donald J. Trump is signing a legislative package that provides extensive assistance to Americans impacted by the coronavirus.

  • Today, President Trump is signing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, ensuring that American families and businesses impacted by the virus receive the strong support they need.
  • This legislation provides strong economic assistance to American businesses, workers, and families, alleviating financial burdens experienced by those affected by the virus.
  • The act provides free coronavirus diagnostic testing for the American people, regardless of their economic circumstances or health coverage.
  • The President and his Administration have worked tirelessly with Congress to secure this legislative package.
    • The Administration’s negotiation efforts were highly effective and resulted in substantial improvements from the initial bill brought by House Democrats.

SUPPORTING BUSINESSES, WORKERS, AND FAMILIES: This package delivers on President Trump’s commitment to provide strong economic support to Americans harmed by the virus.

  • This legislation builds on the Administration’s longstanding commitment to take every step necessary to provide economic relief and support for Americans affected by the virus.
  • The act establishes tax credits to provide paid sick and family leave for coronavirus-related employment interruptions.
    • Eligible workers who are sick with the virus, quarantined, taking care of someone affected or caring for a child whose school has closed, will continue to be paid.
    • Employees will receive pay directly from their employers, rather than from a less-efficient government-run program.
  • Though every dollar of required paid leave will be offset by tax credits for eligible employers, the act protects small businesses by offering an exemption in the rare event that paid leave requirements would jeopardize their business.
  • The legislation incentivizes states to ease access to unemployment benefits, assisting Americans who may be unemployed due to the impact of the virus.
  • To support families and the most vulnerable, the bill also provides funding and flexibility for emergency nutritional aid for senior citizens, women, children, and low-income families.

TESTING FOR ALL AMERICANS: This legislation helps to realize President Trump’s primary goal of ensuring coronavirus testing is accessible to every American.

  • The President is committed to ensuring that every American who needs to be tested for the coronavirus is able to do so, regardless of their circumstances.
  • To that end, this legislation offers free coronavirus testing – including free testing through commercial insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, Indian Health Service, and TRI-CARE.
  • President Trump continues to work tirelessly with the Federal government and the private sector to protect expand Americans’ access to coronavirus testing.
    • As a result of the President’s efforts, testing is now available in all 50 states and we are testing faster than ever.

Garrett County Public Schools is now offering home delivery of meals. If you have a difficult time reaching one of the food service sites in the county during the period of extended closure, please complete the Google form located at:garrettcountyschools.org/meals.

The Food Services and Nutrition Office will make every effort to deliver meals to your home. In order to receive the delivery, someone must be present at the home when the food arrives. If you have any difficulty completing the form, please call 1-888-285-7248 and leave a message including your name, phone number, email, number of children under 18, and your address. Someone will get back to you as soon as possible. Meals and delivery are provided at no cost to the family for all of the children 18 and under *9u3$

In recognition of Governor Larry Hogan’s executive orders and in the interest of protecting the staff and public doing business with Allegany County Government, the Board of County Commissioners of Allegany County announced today that the office building located at 701 Kelly Road in Cumberland is closed to the public. Should anyone need to utilize in-person tax or utility payment, please contact 301-777-2526 or 301-777-5965.  

Again, the public is strongly encouraged to visit the county’s website at alleganygov.org for information and on-line payment options.


Garrett County Public Schools is expanding free meals to include a hot supper at all 16 sites beginning Friday, March 20th. The time for each location is listed below. Meals are not to be eaten onsite and should instead be taken home to enjoy. As a reminder, meals are free to anyone 18 years of age and younger. In order to receive the meal, please drive up to the site and one bag of food for each child will be handed to the driver. Meals will be distributed at the following locations throughout the duration of the statewide school closure: *NEW* Deer Park Town Hall – 100 Church Street, Deer Park, MDMonday through Friday: Lunch (10:30-10:50); Supper (4:30-4:50) *NEW* Swanton Otterbein United Methodist Church – 3443 Swanton Road, Swanton, MDMonday through Friday: Lunch (11:00-11:20); Supper (5:00-5:20) *NEW* Bittinger Fire Hall – 176 Brenneman Road, Bittinger, MDMonday through Friday: Lunch (11:45-12:05); Supper (5:45-6:05) *NEW* Eastern Garrett Fire Hall – 401 Finzel Rd, Frostburg, MDMonday through Friday: Lunch (12:35-12:55); Supper (6:35-6:55) Dennett Road School – 770 Dennett Road, Oakland, MDMonday through Friday: Lunch (11:30-12:00); Supper (4:30-5:00)
Liberty Mews – 451 Liberty Street Oakland, MDMonday through Friday: Lunch (11:00-11:20); Supper (4:30-4:50)
Crellin – 57 Crellin Street Crellin, MDMonday through Friday: Lunch (11:35–11:55); Supper (5:05-5:25)
Oakland Town Parking Lot – 103 Town Park Lane, Oakland, MDMonday through Friday: Lunch (12:10-12:30); Supper (5:40-6:00) Deer Park – 198 Frank Custer Drive Deer Park, MDMonday through Friday: Lunch (12:45-1:05); Supper (6:15-6:35) Garrett County Chamber of Commerce – 15 Visitors Center Dr. McHenry, MD 21541Monday through Friday: Lunch (10:40-11:00); Supper (4:30-4:50)
Hickory Environmental Center (Northern Middle’s bus loop) – 604 Pride Parkway Accident, MD 21520Monday through Friday: Lunch (11:20-11:40); Supper (5:10-5:30)
Friendsville Elementary School – 841 First Avenue, Friendsville, MD 21531Monday through Friday: Lunch (12:00-12:20); Supper (5:50-6:10)
Grantsville Elementary School – 120 Grant Street, Grantsville, MDMonday through Friday: Lunch (12:40-1:00); Supper (6:30-6:50)
Loch Lynn – 319 Roanoke Avenue, Loch Lynn MD (pavilion)Monday through Friday: Lunch (11:00-11:20); Supper (4:30-4:50)
Kitzmiller Community Park – 290 W. Main Street, Kitzmiller, MDMonday through Friday: Lunch (11:45-12:05); Supper (5:15–5:35) Bloomington Park – 334 North Branch Avenue, Bloomington, MDMonday through Friday: Lunch (12:30-12:50); Supper (6:00-6:20) Questions should be directed to the Food and Nutrition Services Office at 301-334-7652 or 888-262-2792.


From MD Governor: Governor Larry Hogan tonight announced the first COVID-19 death in Maryland, a Prince George’s County resident in his 60s who suffered from an underlying medical condition:

“It is with profound sadness that I announce the first death in Maryland as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. I ask all Marylanders to join me in praying for his family and loved ones during this difficult time. As we pray for his loved ones, I ask that we continue to pray for each other, for our state, and for our nation as we face this crisis together. We must use every possible resource at every level of government to save lives and keep people safe.”

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) today confirmed the second case of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the state. Both positive cases are travel related.

The individual is from Mercer County and is being treated at home. To protect the patient’s privacy, no additional details will be released at this time.

As of March 18, 2020, at 7:30 p.m., West Virginia, through its public health lab, has tested 148 residents for COVID-19, with 143 results coming back negative and 3 tests pending.

Now that COVID-19 testing is expanded and available through commercial laboratories and some hospitals, DHHR is only reporting those tests that have been processed through its state public health lab. All positive results obtained by commercial laboratories are reportable to DHHR and are included in the positive case counts.

An information hotline to address public and medical provider questions and concerns regarding COVID-19 has been established. Operators are available 24/7, toll-free at 1-800-887-4304 to provide accurate information about COVID-19, the risk to the public, and the state’s response.

For the most up to date information, please visitwww.coronavirus.wv.gov


From Mineral County DES: Mar. 18, 2020 the Mineral County Commission signed an emergency proclamation declaring a local state of emergency. Although, there are still no cases of Covid-19 in Mineral County, the Commission has declared this emergency in order to be able to request state resources for things such as personal protective equipment.
In response to this outbreak Fire, Emergency Medical Services, and Law agencies have already made provisions to ensure that they are keeping responders safe. Mineral County 911 has implemented the recommended questioning by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials to gather information on whether or not the patient is possibly positive for a viral illness.
This proclamation only impacts Mineral County first responders and Mineral County Office of Emergency Services. All other county government entities will continue normal operations. Any changes to business closures, road closures, etc. will come from the West Virginia State Governor’s Office, and not from the Mineral County Commission.

Director of Emergency Services Luke McKenzie says, “we are doing everything we can to ensure the county is prepared. We are working very closely with the Local Health Department and doing what we can to stay in touch with local healthcare providers to ensure sufficient resources moving forward.” Information on Covid-19 can be found at dhhr.wv.gov/COVID-19 or by contacting the W.Va. Covid-19 hotline at 1-800-887-4304. Questions pertaining specifically to Mineral County should be directed to the Mineral County Health Department.


The West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles will close to the public beginning Thursday, March 19. Out of an abundance of caution, and in accordance with the most recent guidelines and best practices recommended by both the CDC and West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources regarding COVID-19, this action will reduce exposure to both customers and employees.

Many of the most requested DMV transactions can be performed online or mailed in and do not require a trip to a regional office. DMV Headquarters in Charleston will remain in operation with a smaller staff to continue all online and mail-in business transactions while maintaining social distance internally for employee safety.

Online services include:

  • Driver’s license renewal (if no changes, and every other cycle)
  • Duplicate driver’s license request
  • Vehicle registration renewals
  • Duplicate vehicle registration decals and cards
  • Print your driving record
  • Check your driver’s license status

A full list of online services may be found by going to dmv.wv.gov.

The DMV is also extending the expiration date of any driver’s license, instructional permit, or vehicle registration with an expiration date in March or April of 2020 for three months from the date of expiration on the face of the document. However, DMV will continue to renew any of these items online or through the U.S. Mail as they come in.

The West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles is taking this extraordinary action in response to the National and State states of emergency due to the COVID-19 virus.

For more information, you may contact the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles at 1-800-642-9066.

For more information about COVID-19 prevention and more, call the State’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-887-4304 or visit Coronavirus.wv.gov.


From WV Governor: Gov. Jim Justice joined State health leaders at the Capitol Complex in Charleston today for a press briefing to once again update the public on the many precautionary measures being taken in the interest of protecting the public from the potential spread of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

CLOSURE OF GYMS, REC FACILITIES, AND MORE
During his remarks, the Governor announced that he has issued an Executive Order, mandating the statewide closure of all fitness centers, gymnasiums, recreation centers, and similar businesses or places where the public tends to congregate for recreation, sport, or other similar leisure activities.

This order will officially go into effect tonight at midnight.

“In the last 24 hours there have been a lot of things that have changed. We’ve asked that for two weeks we close all the restaurants, bars, and casinos,” Gov. Justice said. “Today we’re going to ask for two weeks that all the gyms, health clubs, and recreation facilities close.”

RULE PROHIBITING SALE OF BEER AND WINE TO-GO SUSPENDED
Today, the Governor also temporarily suspended the regulatory rule prohibiting bars and restaurants to provide beer and wine for off-premises consumption to the citizens of the State of West Virginia throughout the recently announced State of Emergency.

As of Wednesday, March 18, 2020, the sale of sealed bottles of wine and unopened beer products to customers who have purchased food is legal.

The temporary rule suspension does not authorize wine or beer deliveries. The sale of to-go liquor products continues to be prohibited.

STATE PERSONNEL POLICY
Also today, Gov. Justice announced that he has ordered all cabinet secretaries in his administration to determine non-essential employee positions and allow those employees to begin working from home. The Governor has tasked his cabinet secretaries with determining which positions will be considered “essential” in their respective departments.
ALL WV BUSINESSES URGED TO SEND NON-ESSENTIAL EMPLOYEES HOME
The Governor is also asking all businesses across West Virginia to look for ways to allow as many employees as possible to work from home while still keeping our essential businesses operating.

“We as West Virginians have got to step up in every way and I urge you beyond belief to have confidence that we’ve got this,” Gov. Justice said.

CAPITOL CLOSED FOR NON-BUSINESS VISITS
The West Virginia Capitol Complex remains open for official business. Tours and other non-business visits are halted until further notice. As always, citizens are encouraged to access government services by phone or online at wv.gov.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Gov. Justice is continuing to encourage West Virginians to follow the guidelines presented Monday by President Trump to avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people.

For more information about COVID-19 prevention and more, call the State’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-887-4304 or visit Coronavirus.wv.gov

Cumberland, MD – In the ongoing effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 around the state, the Allegany County Health Departmenthas temporarily stopped providing in-person services. (Non-emergency medical transportation services are still available NEMT services are still available Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM.)  Staff are continuing to work hard to protect the public’s health,but at this time we are not allowing patients and clients to stop in.  Call us and we can provide information and services over the phone.  Staff are available to answer your questions and address your concerns. 

Coronavirus (COVID-19)301-759-5000
Behavioral Health 301-759-5280
Dental Services301-759-5030
WIC 301-759-5020
Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT)301-759-5123
All Other Services301-759-5000

UPMC Western Maryland President, Barry Ronan says as the largest health care provider in the region they are ready to serve the community. He says having the backing of the UPMC system is an incredible asset for the region. Ronan says because COVID-19 is so contagious they have implemented visitation restrictions at the hospital. He says they have a tent set up outside of the ER for screening to take samples from those who have been referred by a physician and meet the CDC required guidelines for testing. To hear the interview click here https://soundcloud.com/amanda-mangan/upmc-western-maryland-president-barry-ronan-covid19

From WV Governor: WV Gov. Jim Justice issued an Executive Order today, which is now in effect, formally directing all restaurants and bars in West Virginia to limit service to carry out, drive-thru, and delivery operations only. The Executive Order also mandates the closure of all casinos in West Virginia.
This order comes as the latest in a number of precautionary measures that are being taken in the interest of protecting the public from the spread of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Click here to view the Executive Order on the Governor’s website
Restaurants with carry out, drive-thru, and delivery options will still be able to operate those services, even as their dining rooms are temporarily closed.
The order officially went into effect early this morning, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, at 12 a.m. (midnight).
Gov. Justice announced that he would be issuing this Executive Order during a statewide address at the Capitol in Charleston Tuesday evening. In his address, the Governor also announced the state’s first positive case of COVID-19.

Cumberland City Hall will be closing to the general public beginning Thursday, March 19, 2020, adding to the effort to keep employees and citizens safer during this unprecedented time. Operations within City Hall may be modified, but will be staffed to support the needs of the City of Cumberland. Any business or transaction that requires a visit to City Hall must be conducted by appointment only, and the appropriate individual or department should be contacted by phone or email in advance to arrange a mutually agreeable time.
The City of Cumberland encourages the utilization of online payment methods for utility bills and any other financial obligations, such as parking violations, citations, real property tax, personal property tax and corporate tax. Visit http://www.ci.cumberland.md.us/131/Online-Payments for more details and instructions to pay online.
Payments may also be made in the following ways:
-Mailed to 57 N. Liberty Street, Cumberland, MD 21502
-Paid by phone (credit card and ACH payment) by calling 301-759-6409
-Drop box outside City Hall, 1st floor
-Drive-by drop box at Chamber of Commerce Bell Tower in City Hall plaza
If a citizen has no means other than cash by which to pay their bill, they may request personal service by calling 301-759-6409 to make arrangements.
Any questions regarding the closure of City Hall and the handling of business or transactions should be directed to 301-722-2000.


Garrett County Public Schools is adding four additional sites where we will be offering free meals for any child 18 and under beginning on Thursday, March 19, 2020. Meals will be in a bag and children must be present to receive a meal. Meals will consist of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (yogurt or cheese sandwich available for children who cannot eat peanuts), fruit cup, fresh fruit, fresh vegetable and milk. Meals can be taken home to be eaten. Cars will drive up and bags of food will be handed to the driver. Meals will be distributed at the following locations while schools are closed:

*NEW* Deer Park Town Hall- 100 Church Street, Deer Park, MD

Monday – FridayLunch – 10:30 – 10:50

*NEW* Swanton Otterbein United Methodist Church – 3443 Swanton Road, Swanton, MD

Monday – FridayLunch – 11:00 – 11:20

*NEW* Bittinger Fire Hall- 176 Brenneman Road, Bittinger, MD

Monday – Friday: Lunch 11:45 – 12:05

*NEW* Easter Garrett Fire Hall – 401 Finzel Rd, Frostburg, MD

Monday – Friday12:35- 12:55

These sites are open Wednesday March 18, 2020:

Dennett Road School – 70 Dennett Road, Oakland, MD

Monday – FridayLunch – 11:30 – 12:00 

Liberty Mews – 451 Liberty Street Oakland, MD

Monday – Friday: Lunch 11:00 – 11:20

Crellin – 57 Crellin Street Crellin, MD

Monday – Friday: Lunch 11:35– 11:55


Oakland Town Parking Lot – 103 Town Park Lane, Oakland, MD 21550

Monday – Friday: Lunch 12:10 – 12:30

Deer Park – 198 Frank Custer Drive Deer Park, MD

Monday – Friday: Lunch 12:45 – 1:05

Garrett County Chamber of Commerce –15 Visitors Center Dr. McHenry, MD 21541

Monday – Friday: Lunch 10:40 – 11:00


Hickory Environmental Center (Northern Middle’s bus loop) 604 Pride Parkway Accident, MD 21520

Monday – Friday: Lunch 11:20 – 11:40


Friendsville Elementary School 841 First Avenue, Friendsville, MD 21531

Monday – Friday: Lunch 12:00 – 12:20

Grantsville Elementary School 120 Grant Street, Grantsville, MD

Monday – Friday: Lunch 12:40 – 1:00

Loch Lynn – 319 Roanoke Ave. Loch Lynn MD (pavilion)

Monday – Friday: Lunch 11:00 – 11:20

Kitzmiller Community Park 290 W. Main Street, Kitzmiller, MD

Monday – FridayLunch- 11:45 – 12:05

Bloomington Park – 334 North Branch Ave., Bloomington, MD

Monday – Friday: Lunch 12:30 – 12:50

If you have any questions please contact the Food & Nutrition Services Office at 301-334-7652 or 888-262-2792

If you have a business and have questions about state resources log on tohttps://businessexpress.maryland.gov/coronavirus. You can also contact locally Angella Moon Regional Business Solutions Consultant, Western Maryland Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning Maryland Department of Labor at Angella.moon@maryland.gov

From MD Comptroller: Following the press conference from the White House where it was announced there would be a 90-day extension of the April 15th deadline for federal income tax payments, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot has announced that Maryland business and individual income taxpayers will be afforded the same relief. No interest or penalty for late payments will be imposed if 2019 tax payments are made by July 15, 2020.

“Right now, Maryland taxpayers and businesses must stay focused on their health and keeping their lights on, both in their homes and businesses,” Comptroller Franchot said. “Extending the due date for Maryland state individual and business income tax payments helps us keep cash flowing in our economy and into employees’ bank accounts.”

Taxpayers who take advantage of the federal extension to file their return, which is separate from the relief granted today to pay their taxes, will continue to be automatically granted an extension on their Maryland tax filings. No additional extension forms are required. Fiscal year filers with tax years ending January 1, 2020, through March 31, 2020, are also eligible for the July 15, 2020 extension.


WV – Gov. Jim Justice conducted a statewide address at the Capitol Complex in Charleston today to update West Virginians on the precautionary measures that are being taken in the interest of protecting the public from the potential spread of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). 

“We knew it was coming and we were prepared for this. We should try to live our lives as best we can and we should not panic,” Gov. Justice said. “We should not be afraid, we should be smart at this time.”

During Tuesday evening’s address, Gov. Justice announced the state’s first positive case of COVID-19.

Latest DHHR COVID-19 testing numbers available here

The Governor also announced that he has ordered the closure of all restaurants, bars, and casinos beginning tonight, Tuesday, March 17, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. More details will be released as they become available.

“This is a once-in-our-lifetime event happening here – a pandemic. This is real and it’s really concerning,” Gov. Justice said. “Our power to combat this disease is being apart from one another. We have to take seriously all the hygiene recommendations, we have to take seriously the ability to stay six feet apart from one another.

“The last days and the last weeks have been tough. They’ve been lonely and tough for Cathy and I, and our family, and all of you. This is a serious problem,” Gov. Justice said. “I’ll be with you, through thick or thin, in every way and we’re gonna win, we’re going to beat this bad, bad disease.”

This comes after President Donald J. Trump issued a set of new guidelines Monday for all Americans for the next 15 days to slow the spread of COVID-19. This includes avoiding all social gatherings of more than 10 people.

For more information about COVID-19 prevention and more, call the State’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-877-4304 or visit Coronavirus.wv.gov.

As part of another series of major actions to limit the spread of COVID-19 pandemic and maintain essential services, Governor Larry Hogan today issued a proclamation to officially postpone the April 28 primary election until June 2, and to move forward with the 7th Congressional District special general election as scheduled by implementing a vote-by-mail system.

“I have two main priorities—keeping Marylanders safe and protecting their constitutional right to vote,” said Governor Hogan. “I am directing the State Board of Elections to develop a comprehensive plan by April 3 to conduct the primary election in a way that protects public health and preserves the integrity of the democratic process in our state. While there are many valid reasons for unease and uncertainty right now, ensuring that the voices of Maryland citizens are heard shouldn’t be one of them.”

The governor also announced that the state is in active discussions regarding postponement of the Preakness Stakes.


 

In response to the COVID-19 health crisis, the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) is implementing the following operational changes – effective immediately – at branch offices and Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program (VEIP) stations statewide:

Adjusted Hours

All branches statewide will close at 4:30 p.m. Thursdays and will be closed all day Saturdays until further notice. MDOT MVA will reach out to customers with appointments already scheduled for Thursday evening and Saturday to reschedule their appointment.

Driver Skills Tests

All non-commercial driver skills tests are canceled until further notice. Commercial driving tests will still be conducted and will be scheduled by appointment only. MDOT MVA will reach out to customers with already scheduled non-commercial driving skills tests to reschedule their appointments.

Appointment-Only Operations

To reduce the number of customers in the branch offices at any time, MDOT MVA is handling customer transactions on an appointment only basis. Customers can schedule an appointment online through the Central Scheduling System atmvascheduling.mva.maryland.gov or by calling the Customer Service Center at 410-768-7000.

Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program (VEIP)

All VEIP stations are closing until further notice. Customers with a VEIP date in March will receive correspondence with a new VEIP date.

Expiration Date Extensions

Governor Larry Hogan has ordered an extension of all driver’s and business licenses, identification cards, permits and registrations that expire or are eligible for renewal during the state of emergency. As a result, they will not expire until the 30th day after the state of emergency has been lifted.

“Under the guidance of Governor Larry Hogan, we are taking the necessary precautions to maintain a safe and healthy environment for our employees and customers,” said MDOT MVA Administrator Chrissy Nizer. “The goal is to keep the number of individuals in the branch offices to a minimum and provide Marylanders as many convenient options as possible for taking care of – or postponing – their MDOT MVA business during this time.”

Online services and 24-hour self-service kiosks are still available. Customers may complete a number of transactions online at http://www.mva.maryland.gov/, including:

  • Duplicate/Additional Registration Cards,
  • Vehicle Registration Renewals,
  • Insurance Compliance Payments,
  • Identification Card Renewals,
  • Title Replacements,
  • Change of Address,
  • Driving Records,
  • License Plate Purchase/Replacements,
  • Temporary Registrations,
  • Information on Administrative Flag Fees,
  • VEIP Test Date Extensions,
  • Driver’s License Renewals, and
  • Substitute Stickers.

MDOT MVA is asking customers exhibiting flu-like symptoms or those who have recently been exposed to someone with symptoms to reschedule their appointment for a later time. Customers with questions are encouraged to contact the MDOT MVA Customer Service Center at mvacs@mdot.state.md.us or by phone at 410-786-7000. Additionally, customers can follow and reach out to MDOT MVA at facebook.com/MarylandMVA/ and twitter.com/MD_MVA.

From the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross now faces a severe blood shortage due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Healthy individuals are needed now to donate to help patients counting on lifesaving blood.

Individuals can schedule an appointment to give blood with the Red Cross by visiting RedCrossBlood.org, using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

As the coronavirus pandemic has grown here in the U.S., blood drive cancellations have grown at an alarming rate. To date, nearly 2,700 Red Cross blood drives have been canceled across the country due to concerns about congregating at workplaces, college campuses and schools amidst the coronavirus outbreak. These cancellations have resulted in some 86,000 fewer blood donations. More than 80% of the blood the Red Cross collects comes from drives held at locations of this type.

The Red Cross is adding appointment slots at donation centers and expanding capacity at many community blood drives across the country over the next few weeks to ensure ample opportunities for donors to give.

Volunteer donors are the only source of blood for those in need

The Red Cross expects the number of cancellations to continue to increase, which is causing heightened concern for blood collection organizations and hospitals across the country. This blood shortage could impact patients who need surgery, victims of car accidents and other emergencies, or patients suffering from cancer.

“I am looking at the refrigerator that contains only one day’s supply of blood for the hospital,” said Dr. Robertson Davenport, director of transfusion medicine at Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor. “The hospital is full. There are patients who need blood and cannot wait.”

“In our experience, the American public comes together to support those in need during times of shortage and that support is needed now more than ever during this unprecedented public health crisis,” said Chris Hrouda, president, Red Cross Biomedical Services. “Unfortunately, when people stop donating blood, it forces doctors to make hard choices about patient care, which is why we need those who are healthy and well to roll up a sleeve and give the gift of life.”

The Red Cross is committed to blood drive safety

“We know that people want to help, but they may be hesitant to visit a blood drive during this time. We want to assure the public that blood donation is a safe process, and we have put additional precautions in place at our blood drives and donation centers to protect all who come out,” said Hrouda.

The Red Cross has implemented new measures to ensure blood drives and donation centers are even safer for our donors and staff, including:

· Checking the temperature of staff and donors before entering a drive to make sure they are healthy.

· Providing hand sanitizer for use before the drive, as well as throughout the donation process.

· Spacing beds, where possible, to follow social distancing practices between blood donors.

· Increasing enhanced disinfecting of surfaces and equipment.

At each blood drive and donation center, Red Cross employees already follow thorough safety protocols to help prevent the spread of any type of infection, including:

· Wearing gloves and changing gloves with each donor.

· Routinely wiping down donor-touched areas.

· Using sterile collection sets for every donation.

· Preparing the arm for donation with an aseptic scrub.

There is no data or evidence that this coronavirus can be transmitted by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases of transfusion transmission for any respiratory virus including this coronavirus worldwide.

“Volunteer donors are the unsung heroes for patients in need of lifesaving blood transfusions. If you are healthy, feeling well and eligible to give, please schedule an appointment to give now,” added Hrouda.

Blood donation process

To donate blood, individuals need to bring a blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification that are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also must meet certain height and weight requirements.

Donors can also save up to 15 minutes at the blood drive by completing a RapidPass®. With RapidPass®, donors complete the pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of donation, from a mobile device or computer. To complete a RapidPass®, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Red Cross Blood Donor App.

From ACPS: In an effort to keep parents, students, and the public informed about the coronavirus, ACPS has activated a crisis management website as a central location to find important information and updates from the school system. The calendar located on this subsite will also only be populated with updates on how the virus is changing dates for school system events, etc. The address is:https://www.acpsmd.org/Page/3146, but it can be easily accessed from our website,www.acpsmd.org, and selecting the “Schools” drop down menu at the top right of the page and then selecting ACPS Crisis Management.ACPS continues to be in regular contact with and receive guidance from the Allegany County Health Department (ACHD) and the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). As the situation concerning COVID-19 continues to evolve, ACPS will continue to consult wit….

From GC Government: In light of the evolving situation with the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Garrett County Government is implementing measures to provide a safe and secure environment for employees and customers.
At this time, Garrett County Government will maintain normal operations but will coordinate with the State of Maryland. The County Government will follow the state’s direction concerning the potential closure for County operations.

Garrett County Government COVID-19 Resources:
https://garrettcounty.org/commissioners/coronavirus

Garrett County Health Department COVID-19 Resources:
Phone: 301-334-7698
https://garretthealth.org/coronavirus
Access to all Garrett County Government offices will be limited and appointments must be scheduled for the following services. If you do not have an appointment, access may not be granted.

General Information​​​301-334-8970
​​​​​info@garrettcounty.org
​​​​​www.garrettcounty.org/news

Citizen Connect​​​www.garrettcounty.org/public_users/login

Emergency Management ​​301-334-7609
​​​​​emergencymanagement@garrettcounty.org
​​​​​www.garrettcounty.org/emergency-services

Building Permits​​​301-334-7470
​​​​​permitsandinspections@garrettcouty.org

Water/Sewer Permits​​​301-334-6983
​​​​​publicutilities@garrettcounty.org

Solid Waste​​​​301-387-0322
​​​​​solidwaste@garrettcounty.org

Liquor Control​​​301-334-1925
​​​​​liquorcontrolboard@garrettcounty.org
This protocol is an effort for the continuation of services while limiting contact and best serving the public. Some departments may not be able to maintain full staffing.
Remember to maintain appropriate distance with those who you are interacting with and wash your hands frequently.
The Garrett County Government will be maintaining the most current information at https://www.garrettcounty.org/commissioners/coronavirus.





WV Gov. Jim Justice joined State health, education, and emergency response leaders at the Capitol Complex in Charleston today, holding his latest press conference to continue updating West Virginians on the precautionary measures that are being taken in the interest of protecting the public from the potential spread of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

There are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in West Virginia. However, it’s anticipated that the disease will come to West Virginia soon. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources is providing daily updates on the number of COVID-19 tests and any potential future cases. That information, along with additional alerts and updates, is available online at Coronavirus.wv.gov​​.

“In our state today, we have been really blessed and sheltered, but – without alarming everyone – we all need to know the seriousness of this continues to be real,” Gov. Justice said. “We’re still trying to do every single thing we can do to be proactive in a state that doesn’t have one positive confirmed person yet. We’re trying to be ready in every way we can possibly be.”
Near the end of Monday’s press conference, President Donald J. Trump issued a set of new guidelines for all Americans for the next 15 days to slow the spread of COVID-19. This includes avoiding all social gatherings of more than 10 people. Gov. Justice fully supports all of President Trump’s guidelines and urges all West Virginians to follow them completely to ensure everyone is doing their part to help stop the potential spread of the disease.

Before Monday’s press conference, Gov. Justice and several of his cabinet officials took part in a video conference with President Trump, the governors of every state and territory in the country, and other national leaders to discuss preventative measures that are being taken to slow the spread of coronavirus, while also ensuring the public has what they need to live their day-to-day lives.
“I am urging all West Virginians, to stay calm, be smart, use great hygiene, take care of the elderly who you can help – for crying out loud – go to the grocery store for them and just try to look after them.

“The President assured us today that he has been meeting with the leaders of grocery stores across the country,” Gov. Justice continued. “Everyone needs to know that there’s gonna be plenty of food and groceries. You don’t need to make a mad rush on the grocery store.”

President Trump also told Gov. Justice and all video conference participants that Congress will likely pass legislation to make any potential COVID-19 testing free for all Americans.

During the Governor’s press conference Monday, he announced that due to the emerging health threat posed by COVID-19 and in accordance with President Donald J. Trump’s declaration of a National Emergency, he has declared a State of Emergency for all 55 counties in West Virginia.

Click here to view the proclamation on the Governor’s website

“Declaring a State of Emergency will open up every resource we’ve got as a State that we can use to fight the spread of this disease,” Gov. Justice said. “This is yet another example of us being as proactive as we possibly can be, even though we don’t have a positive case yet. We are doing everything we can to be prepared so we can help protect all West Virginians.”
STATE OF EMERGENCY DETAILS:
The State of Emergency orders the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, West Virginia Division of Homeland Security, and Emergency Management and the West Virginia National Guard to mobilize appropriate personnel and resources to respond to the emergency. It also orders all other state agencies to assist as may be requested and to do everything reasonably possible to assist affected areas and people in the state.

The State of Emergency also delegates administrative powers to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, the Director of the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and the West Virginia National Guard, as necessary, to facilitate the provision of essential emergency services to alleviate the potential impacts to the people, property, and infrastructure of West Virginia that may be caused by this outbreak.

The State of Emergency also orders that it is unlawful for any person, business, or other entity to sell any food items, essential consumer items, and emergency supplies in a manner that violates the West Virginia 


PA Governor Tom Wolf today announced that mitigation efforts put into effect over the past few days in Montgomery, Delaware, Bucks, Chester and Allegheny counties will now be in effect statewide, beginning at 12:01 a.m., Tuesday, March 17.

“Earlier today, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut imposed similar restrictions, and I thank the residents of these states for joining Pennsylvania in working together to halt the spread of COVID-19,” Gov. Wolf said. “I know the next few weeks will be challenging. There is no reason to be fearful, or to panic, but we need to take this disease seriously. Please, stay home. Make as few in-person contacts as you can.”

Guidance previously announced for Montgomery, Delaware, Bucks, Chester and Allegheny counties will now expand statewide as of 12:01 a.m., Tuesday, March 17, continuing for 14 days. This guidance applies to all 67 counties in the commonwealth. 

Gov. Wolf is permitted under law to enforce closures; however, the governor’s approach is to reinforce that it is incumbent on all of us to help mitigate the spread, knowing that compliance can help to protect customers, employees, and the community. The administration supports local law enforcement, permitting entities, and local officials to enforce if needed. The governor does not want to expend valuable resources from the state police and PA National Guard because irresponsible people choose not to do the right thing.

Statewide Mitigation Efforts beginning at 12:01 a.m., Tuesday, March 17include:

  • All restaurants and bars close their dine-in facilities to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Businesses that offer carry-out, delivery, and drive-through food and beverage service may continue to do so but eating and drinking inside restaurants and bars is temporarily prohibited.
  • A no-visitor policy for correctional facilities and nursing homes has been implemented and will be evaluated for other facilities.
  • Freedom of travel will remain, but all Pennsylvanians are asked to refrain from non-essential travel.
  • All child care centers licensed by the commonwealth close as of Tuesday, March 17 and will be re-evaluated at the conclusion of the 14-day statewide closures. Philadelphia County families should check with their child care facilities to determine status of business operations.
  • Adult day care centers, adult training facilities, Provocations facilities, LIFE centers and Senior Community Centers close beginning Tuesday, March 17and will be re-evaluated at the conclusion of the 14-day statewide closures.
  • Essential State, County, and Municipal services will be open: police, fire, emergency medical services, sanitation, and essential services for vulnerable populations.
  • Supermarkets, pharmacies, and gas stations will remain open. The administration issued guidance for non-essential businesses, such as gyms, movie theaters and shopping malls during county-specific mitigation periods to protect employees, customers, and suppliers and limit the spread of the virus through personal contact and surfaces. Additional statewide business guidance is forthcoming.
  • Governor Tom Wolf announced on March 13 that all K-12 Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced on March 13 that all K-12 Pennsylvaniaschools will be closed for 10 business days effective Monday, March 16. 
  • The Wolf Administration strongly encourages the suspension of large gatherings, events, conferences of more than 10 people, and per White House guidelines, ask that individuals and groups cancel any gatherings planned over the next eight weeks.
  • The Wolf Administration encourages religious leaders to exercise discretion in order to mitigate the spread of illness.
  • Restricted visitors in state centers to ensure health and safety for individuals with an intellectual disability.
  • Restricted visitors in assisted living and personal care homes to minimize exposure to our seniors and individuals with disabilities.

Commonwealth Employees

  • The Office of Administration will provide a message to all commonwealth employees regarding telework.
  • Individuals will be instructed to work from home if feasible.
  • The commonwealth is authorizing a 10 workday paid absence for individuals who don’t have telework capabilities.
  • Commonwealth facilities that provide essential services will remain open.
  • County-administered facilities will follow the same procedures as those of the state.

COVID-19 Case Information Update

The Department of Health stressed the role Pennsylvanians play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
  • Clean surfaces frequently.
  • If you are sick, stay home until you are feeling better.

Updated Coronavirus Links: Press Releases, State Lab Photos, Graphics

For the daily COVID-19 Report, visit here.

For all press releases regarding coronavirus, please visit here.

Find the latest information on the coronavirus here.

Photos of the state’s lab in Exton are available for download and use here.

Coronavirus and preparedness graphics are available here near the bottom of the page: On.pa.gov/coronavirus


To reduce the spread of the COVID-19/Coronavirus, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia implements the following guidance for all judicial offices:If you have COVID-19 or if you have been exposed to a known case of the disease, DO NOT COME TO COURT. Please contact judicial staff by telephone for guidance. For matters in circuit court, please contact the office of the presiding judge. For matters in magistrate court, please contact the Magistrate Clerk’s Office. For matters in family court, please contact the office of the presiding judge. For all other questions, please contact the Circuit Clerk’s Office. For matters before the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, please contact the Supreme Court Clerk’s Office.Court officials may order a person with suspected COVID-19 symptoms to leave the court facility.Parties and attorneys infected by or exposed to COVID-19, or those substantially affected by public health containment efforts, are encouraged to timely seek extensions in-time, continuances, modified schedules, or accommodations if circumstances warrant.Individuals that fraudulently use public health efforts to impact court proceedings for personal gain or to avoid a legal obligation may be subject to civil or criminal contempt proceedings and penalties and/or sanctions. Attorneys violating the West Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct may be subject to referral to the West Virginia Office of Disciplinary Counsel.Individuals with questions about COVID-19 should consult their health care provider, or call the State’s 24/7 COVID-19 hotline: 1-800-887-4304. General information is also available from the West Virginia Department of Health & Human Resources at www.coronavirus.wv.gov

U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger, John P. Sarbanes, Andy Harris, M.D., Anthony G. Brown, Jamie Raskin, and David Trone today announced $10.2 million in federal funding for Maryland’s response to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“This funding represents our collective commitment to responding with strength and unity to this public health emergency. The decisions that we all make today will have enormous consequences for lives and livelihoods throughout Maryland,” said the lawmakers. “Team Maryland will continue to work closely with Governor Hogan and Maryland state and local officials as these resources are put to work in communities throughout the state.”  

These resources are made available through the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act passed with the strong support of the Maryland Congressional Delegation. That legislation directed resources be made available to states, localities, and territories for planning and operational readiness, the development of tools and strategies, technical assistance and program support, and communication and coordination among public health agencies and partners. This funding follows the initial $500,000 announced by the delegation on March 5. 

Per the CDC, funds made available today may be used for many of the following activities, including, but not limited:

·   Epidemiology

·   Surveillance

·   Laboratory

·   Case identification

·   Public health management and risk assessment of travelers and other persons with potential COVID-19 exposures and confirmed diagnoses

·   Travelers health

·   Data management

·   Equipment, supplies, and shipping

·   Infection control

·   Surge staffing

·   Distribution and use of medical material

·   Emergency operations and coordination

·   Risk communications

Earlier today, the Wolf Administration strongly urged non-essential businesses across the state to close for at least 14 days to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The governor’s request protects employees, customers, and suppliers and limits the spread of the virus through personal contact and surfaces. Previously the governor designated Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County as mitigation counties with Allegheny County launching its own mitigation efforts. These efforts will now be expanded commonwealth-wide beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, March 17.  

“We strongly urge non-essential businesses across the commonwealth to do their part by temporarily closing as we work to flatten the curve and protect the health and safety of all Pennsylvanians,” said DCED Secretary Dennis Davin. “We understand that businesses are an economic driver throughout Pennsylvania, and a temporary closure will be a financial and community disruptor. DCED is committed to working with the business community to provide helpful resources for financial assistance.” 

Non-essential businesses include public-facing industries such as entertainment, hospitality, and recreation facilities, including but not limited to community and recreation centers; gyms, including yoga, barre and spin facilities; hair salons and barber shops, nail salons and spas; casinos; concert venues; theaters; sporting event venues and golf courses; retail facilities, including shopping malls except for pharmacy or other health care facilities within retail operations. 

Further, the Governor has ordered that all restaurants and bars close their dine-in facilities to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Businesses that offer carry-out, delivery, and drive-through food and beverage service may continue to do so, but eating and drinking inside restaurants and bars is temporarily prohibited. These businesses offering carry-out, delivery, and drive-through food and beverage should employ social distancing best practices and be aware of the Trump Administration’s guidance to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people. 

Essential services and sectors include but are not limited to food processing, agriculture, industrial manufacturing, feed mills, construction, trash collection, grocery and household goods (including convenience stores), home repair/hardware and auto repair, pharmacy and other medical facilities, biomedical and healthcare, post offices and shipping outlets, insurance, banks, gas stations, laundromats, veterinary clinics and pet stores, warehousing, storage, and distribution, public transportation, and hotel and commercial lodging.  

Although these businesses may remain open, the Wolf Administration continues to encourage them to employ social distancing practices, and encourages Pennsylvanians to be thoughtful in their visits. 

Other businesses, including but not limited to legal services, business and management consulting, professional services and insurance services are encouraged to have employees work remotely or telecommute. If that is not possible, they should employ social distancing best practices and be aware of the Trump Administration’s guidance to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people.  

Philadelphia has separately provided guidance for businesses. Businesses in Philadelphia County should follow the city’s guidance. 

DCED offers working capital loans that could be of assistance to businesses impacted by COVID-19. Resources and information will be posted to http://dced.pa.gov/resources as they become available. The U.S. Small Business Administration, in addition to local funding partners, may also be a source of assistance for affected businesses. 

The Wolf Administration is relying on businesses to act now before the governor or the Secretary of Health finds it necessary to compel closures under the law for the interest of public health, including section 7301 of the Emergency Management Services Code. 

For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, Pennsylvanians should follow www.governor.pa.gov and www.doh.pa.gov

Effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020, the Maryland state courts will require onlyessential employees to report to courthouse locations and court offices. Court locations and offices will be minimally staffed to hear emergency court matters and to answer calls between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. All other employees able to work from home will do so at the direction of their supervisor.

Emergency matters include, but are not limited to, domestic violence petitions, family law emergencies, extreme risk protective orders, bail reviews, juvenile detention hearings, and search warrants. These matters will continue to be processed by the courts and its reduced workforce until Friday, April 3, 2020, or further notice.

All other non-emergency matters scheduled for a court hearing or proceeding will be postponed, and courthouses across the state will remain closed to members of the general public until April 3, 2020, or further notice. 

The new administrative order issued today, Monday, March 16, 2020, allows administrative judges, court administrators, clerks of court, administrative clerks, and administrative heads, to identify “essential personnel.”

“In response to COVID-19, the Maryland Judiciary is taking further action to protect court visitors and Judiciary personnel,” said Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera. “The health and well-being of all Marylanders continue to be a top priority as we ensure that essential court operations continue during this public health emergency.”

The Maryland Judiciary’s electronic filing system, referred to as MDEC, remains available and is required to be used in all MDEC counties. In non-MDEC counties or for self-represented litigants, filings can be mailed to your local clerk’s office or can be dropped off in a drop box.

Monday’s order replaces the administrative order issued Friday, March 13, 2020. You can read the new Administrative Order on Statewide Judiciary Restricted Operations Due to the COVID-19 Emergency issued March 16, 2020, here:https://mdcourts.gov/sites/default/files/admin-orders/20200316restrictedoperationsduetocovid19.pdf.

The Maryland Judiciary’s online portal CaseSearch will be updated as clerk’s offices across the state process filings during this public health emergency. 


From AC DES: Nationally there are more than 4,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and with the death toll nearing 100 citizens, the Allegany County Department of Emergency Services and the Allegany County Health Department along with state agencies continue to monitor the situation, prepare, train and educate staff and the public.

“As we see the number grow nationally, in the tri-state area and in Washington D.C, Maryland and Virginia, we have to take immediate precautions to protect our staff and citizens in Allegany County,” Emergency Services Director James Pyles said. “We have made some changes in our emergency call taking procedures and response precautions.”

We want citizens that are calling 911 to know that it is vital they answer the questions asked by the emergency communication specialist, Pyles said.

“It may seem like care is being delayed by the few additional questions that have been added…it has not. Our second dispatcher is monitoring the call and can dispatch an ambulance or fire department as soon as enough information is provided,” Deputy Director Roger Bennett said. “State agencies requested that we add additional questions specifically related to travel, fever, cough and trouble breathing to our emergency medical dispatch protocols.”

Bennett continued that this information is relayed to responding units so they can take appropriate precautions when they arrive on the scene.

“When emergency units arrive on the scene, gloves have always been part of universal precautions to protect against bloodborne pathogens. Please, don’t be alarmed when pre-hospital clinicians arrive and they are using gloves, a surgical mask or face shield and gowns,” Pyles said. “These precautions are to protect the emergency responders.”

As we receive daily updates from other agencies involved, direction is provided to command staff, joint communications, emergency management and EMS operations, Bennett said.

“Our daily supervisors, both at the joint communications center and EMS operational lieutenants will monitor personnel for cough, flu-like symptoms. We encourage any employee that is sick, to stay home,” Bennett said. “It is a priority that we keep our communications specialist and EMS operation staff healthy and available to the public.”

Pyles continued that not all cases where COVID-19 is suspected will be confirmed cases.

“The virus cannot be confirmed without testing performed by a healthcare facility,” Pyles said. “Our personnel will use the highest level of protection in every suspected case to ensure that the patient, pre-hospital clinicians, bystanders and other healthcare providers are safeguarded against the spread of the virus.”

“We have had several individuals in Allegany County tested for COVID-19 with no confirmed cases,” Pyles said. “If and when a confirmed case develops in Allegany County, the public will be immediately notified.”

Health officials report that citizens can reduce their risk of infection by cleaning their hands frequently with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water; cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with a tissue or flexed elbow; and avoid close contact, approximately three feet with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.

Pyles said that health officials recommend patients that are symptomatic to contact their primary physicians or local urgent cares before just arriving. This allows the medical offices to provide the best direction to the patient, while maintaining the safety and protection of other patients and staff.

“We have taken the recommendation from the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems, local medical direction and the county health department and cancelled all meetings and gathering with greater than 10 participants,” Pyles said. “We are aggressively working with the agencies mentioned above to help contain and minimize the spread of the virus.”


From ACHD: The Allegany County Health Department has activated their call center to respond to questions about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The call center will be open and staffed from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and can be reached by calling the main health department phone number, 301-759-5000.

“We understand that there is a lot of uncertainty and anxiety in our communities right now concerning COVID-19,” stated Jenelle Mayer, Health Officer for Allegany County. “In addition to our web site, social media, and area news outlets, the call center is another way we can provide accurate and timely information to the public.”

The health department continues to stress that individuals who think they may have coronavirus disease should stay home and call their healthcare provider to inquire about testing to avoid exposing others. If testing criteria are met, healthcare providers can determine the safest location for testing to minimize the risk to others.

It is estimated that 80% of those who contract COVID-19 will experience only mild to moderate illness. However, for the elderly and those with underlying health issues (heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes, for example) there is a much higher risk for serious complications or death.

For additional information on COVID-19 visit the Allegany County Health Department’s website at health.maryland.gov/allegany.

As a result of the mandatory telework order for State offices during efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19, the Allegany County Health Department is limiting the services it provides in person.

Until further notice, the following services will no longer be available in person at the Health Department:

Service
What should I do?
Birth certificates
Apply online, by mail, or by phone
https://health.maryland.gov/vsa/Pages/certs.aspx
Death certificates
Apply online, by mail, or by phone
https://health.maryland.gov/vsa/Pages/certs.aspx
Mental health walk-ins
Call and make an appointment
301-759-5280
Substance abuse walk-ins
Call and make an appointment
301-759-5280
STI testing
If you are experiencing symptoms, call us at 301-759-5000.
Vaccines
Contact your healthcare provider or pharmacist
Dental cleanings
The dental clinic is providing emergency and urgent care only. Call 301-759-5030.
Burning permits
Burning permits are not being issued at this time. County residents who choose to burn brush should follow all applicable rules and regulations.
Temporary food service permits
No new temporary food service permits will be issued.

Individuals with questions regarding these or other health department services should call 301-759-5000. For services not impacted by these changes, remember to always call ahead and don’t come in if you aren’t feeling well.


MD Governor Larry Hogan is shutting down all bars, restaurants, movie theaters and gyms effective 5pm today and prohibiting any gatherings of more than 50 people anywhere in MD.  Drive through and carry out and food delivery services will be allowed to continue. He says these emergency orders carry the full force of the law. Essential services such as grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies and banks will remain open. Utility shut offs and evictions will be prohibited. Three meals and a snack will be distributed to school children in need across the state. Hogan says the state and federal leaders are working on addressing the impacts on residents financially.

Governor Larry Hogan today ordered the closure of bars and restaurants, and expanded the prohibition on gatherings to those of more than 50 people—the latest in a series of unprecedented actions to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor also announced a public health surge to combat this crisis and ensure that Maryland has the capacity and the infrastructure to treat patients.

“We have never faced anything like this ever before,” said Governor Hogan. “This is going to be much harder, take much longer, and be much worse than almost anyone is currently understanding. And unfortunately, far too many people have chosen to continue crowding bars and restaurants, willingly putting the health and safety of others in grave danger. Decision makers at the federal, state, and local level are going to have to take drastic actions right now that may seem scary and may sound extreme. They will be terribly disruptive, but they are also absolutely necessary to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans.”

Below is a comprehensive list of actions the governor announced during his press conference at Government House:

Social Distancing

CLOSURE OF BARS, RESTAURANTS, FITNESS CENTERS, AND THEATERS: Governor Hogan has issued an amended executive order to close all bars and restaurants in the state, as well as fitness centers, spas, and theaters, effective at 5:00 p.m. today. Read the emergency order. 

The order allows for restaurants to continue carry-out, drive-thru, and delivery services, and allows for eateries in health care facilities to remain open.

PROHIBITION ON GATHERINGS OF MORE THAN 50 PEOPLE: Effective immediately, gatherings of more than 50 people, including social, community, spiritual, religious, recreational, leisure, and sporting gatherings, are prohibited at all locations and venues. Read the emergency order.

Planned large gatherings and events must be canceled or postponed until after termination of the state of emergency and the proclamation of the catastrophic health emergency has been rescinded.

Public Health Surge

“At my direction, we are marshaling every tool in the arsenal of public health to combat this crisis and slow the spread of this pandemic,” said Governor Hogan. “It is impossible to know how long this threat will continue. What I do know is that we cannot afford to wait to take action. While these measures may seem extreme, if we don’t take them now, it could be too late.”

Governor Hogan has issued an omnibus health care order that puts into place the following:

STANDING UP AN ADDITIONAL 6,000 BEDS: Governor Hogan has directed the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) to work with providers to reopen closed hospital facilities across the state and take other measures necessary to immediately increase our capacity by an additional 6,000 beds.

ACTIVATION OF MARYLAND RESPONDS MEDICAL RESERVE CORPS: At the governor’s direction, the Secretary of Health has activated the Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps, a trained and dedicated force of 5,000 volunteers from across the state. 

RESOURCE CONTROL: The Secretary of Health is ordered to establish and implement appropriate policies and procedures for receiving, stockpiling, rationing, and distributing all assets received by the State of Maryland from the Strategic National Stockpile and all assets needed for COVID-19 testing.

INTERSTATE RECIPROCITY FOR HEALTH CARE LICENSES: Under the order, any person who holds a valid, unexpired license as a health care practitioner that is issued by another state may, at a health care facility in Maryland, engage in the activities authorized under that license.

INACTIVE PRACTITIONERS: Any inactive practitioner may, at a health care facility in Maryland, engage in activities that would have been authorized under his/her inactive license without first reinstating his/her inactive license.

ELECTIVE MEDICAL PROCEDURES: The Secretary of Health is authorized and ordered to take actions to control, restrict, and regulate the use of health care facilities for the performance of elective medical procedures, as necessary to respond to the catastrophic health emergency.

Relief for Residents and Families

PROHIBITION ON UTILITY SHUTOFFS: Governor Hogan has issued an emergency order that prohibits electric, gas, water, sewage, phone, cable TV, and internet service provider companies from shutting off any residential customer’s service, or charging any residential late fees. Read the governor’s emergency order.

PROHIBITION ON EVICTIONS: Governor Hogan has issued an emergency order that prohibits Maryland courts from ordering the eviction of any tenant who can show that their failure to pay rent was the result of COVID-19—for example, because of lost or reduced unemployment, or needing to care for a school-aged child—or because they are diagnosed with, or under investigation for, COVID-19. Read the governor’s emergency order.

EXPANSION OF AVAILABLE SCHOOL MEALS: State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon announced that the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) applied for a federal waiver and beginning today, has the capability to provide three meals a day, and a snack, to students impacted by the statewide closure of schools. MSDE has 138 meal distribution centers across the state, which can be found at mdsummerschools.org.

Activation of Additional Personnel

NATIONAL GUARD: After issuing an executive order last week directing the National Guard to move to a higher state of readiness, the governor announced the activation of two Area Support Medical Companies in order to carry out any necessary emergency functions and critical areas of need in the coming weeks. At the direction of Major General Timothy Gowen, as of Monday, 1,000 Maryland National Guard soldiers and airmen are fully activated and another 1,200 guardsmen are currently in a state of enhanced readiness.

MOBILE FIELD FORCE: At the direction of Colonel Jerry Jones, the Maryland State Police has activated its Mobile Field Force, which is composed of 250 Maryland State Troopers who are ready to be deployed across the state.

Resources for Businesses. The Maryland Departments of Commerce and Labor have compiled resources to help businesses whose daily operations are affected during the state of emergency. Members of the business community are encouraged to reach out with their questions by sending a message to Secretary.Commerce@maryland.gov.

State of Emergency. The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic. The State of Maryland is continuing to operate under a state of emergency, and all levels of government are taking a comprehensive, collaborative approach to keep Marylanders safe. The list of ongoing state actions is available at governor.maryland.gov/coronavirus.

For health resources regarding COVID-19, including case counts and clinician guidance, Marylanders should visit coronavirus.maryland.gov.


To the extent possible, teachers were asked to provide students with assignments or resources that could enhance past and/or current learning during the next two weeks. Content supervisors have also provided information about online resources, which can be found on the school system’s website under the Parents and Students tabs here: https://www.acpsmd.org/domain/18. Please note that the recommendation for giving students classroom resources was directed by Dr. Karen Salmon, Maryland State Superintendent of Schools. Students will not be penalized for completion or non-completion of any work sent home during the two-week period. This is supplemental to help students stay connected to their learning. ACPS will continue to keep parents updated. 

In recognition of Governor Larry Hogan’s executive orders and in the interest of protecting the staff and public doing business with Allegany County Government, the Board of County Commissioners of Allegany County announced today that access to the Allegany County Government building located at 701 Kelly Road, Cumberland will be limited by appointment only. This includes permitting issues handled by the Department of Planning and Growth. The public will still be permitted to make tax and utility payments in person; however, the public is strongly encouraged to pay the same online on the county’s website (alleganygov.org).

For more information regarding resources provided by County government, please visitalleganygov.org or call 301-777-2526.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey called upon consumers to be smart and vigilant as they conduct business during the global coronavirus pandemic.

The Attorney General discussed a broad range of consumer issues directly affected by the pandemic, including the adequacy of supply and the office’s outreach to retail stores. Other topics involved efforts to fight price gouging, alert consumers to coronavirus scams and help for those dealing with prepaid travel and events.

Any consumer wishing to ask such questions or file a complaint should contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-368-8808 or visit the office online at www.wvago.gov.

“The coronavirus pandemic presents a challenge like none other,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “COVID-19 has seemingly affected every aspect of life from the average trip to buy groceries, dine out and attend concerts or sporting events to one’s dream vacation planned months, if not years, in advance.

“Furthermore, the impact is still evolving, yet the need for consumers to be vigilant and take common-sense steps to protect their financial wellbeing is constant.”

Supply Chain: Empty store shelves are no doubt a concern and inconvenience; however, consumers should realize this is only temporary. Most shelves should be replenished within a day or so. This means there is no need for hoarding as our nation has an adequate food supply to see us through the pandemic.

Our office is in contact with executives for major retailers to stay abreast of supply issues and proactively enforce the state’s price gouging law.

Price Gouging: The state’s price gouging law took effect March 4 with the Governor’s state of preparedness declaration. The law makes it unlawful for any person, business or contractor to inflate the price of food items, essential consumer items and emergency supplies by more than 10 percent of what the items sold for 10 days prior to the declaration.

Any consumer who believes he or she may have been charged prices that increased dramatically after the March 4 declaration should file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division. Those with a receipt should attach a copy to their complaint.

Travel/Event Cancellations: Many airlines, vacation entities and entertainment providers are loosening cancellation policies due to the pandemic. While our office applauds those efforts, our attorneys stand ready to assist consumers when the refusal of a refund or other appropriate accommodation violates the state’s consumer protection laws.

Consumers should contact their travel or event provider and inquire about its cancellation/refund policy in times of crisis, after which the consumer should ask for a refund and, if accommodations are denied, promptly file a written complaint with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.

Coronavirus Scams: Consumers should be wary of criminals who set up websites to sell bogus products. Such ploys often use fake emails, texts and social media posts, or may even promote awareness or fake information about cases in a local neighborhood and may seek donations for a sham charity or offer advice on unproven treatments.

All of these are a ruse to steal the consumer’s money and/or personal, identifiable information. This means be cautious with any unsolicited email, phone call or other forms of communication and never share such data or agree to send cash, wire money or provide numbers associated with a credit/debit card, gift card or bank account without verifying the legitimacy of the recipient.


MD Governor Larry Hogan is shutting down all bars, restaurants, movie theaters and gyms effective 5pm today and prohibiting any gatherings of more than 50 people anywhere in MD. Drive through and carry out and food delivery services will be allowed to continue. He says these emergency orders carry the full force of the law. Essential services such as grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies and banks will remain open. Utility shut offs and evictions will be prohibited. Three meals and a snack will be distributed to school children in need across the state. Hogan says the state and federal leaders are working on addressing the impacts on residents financially

Following Governor Larry Hogan’s emergency actions to protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Fishing and Boating Services is temporarily halting spring trout stocking effective immediately until further notice.

From MD Health Connection: In an effort to prioritize health and safety and in response to Coronavirus, Maryland Health Connection opened an emergency special enrollment period for uninsured Marylanders.You can enroll in a health plan starting Monday, March 16, through Wednesday, April 15, 2020. Coverage will begin April 1, 2020, regardless of when a health plan is selected during that time period.Medicaid enrollment is available all year.Visit MarylandHealthConnection.gov or download the free “Enroll MHC” mobile app. When enrolling, consumers should request or select “Coronavirus Emergency Special Enrollment Period.”The online application is available daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.Free consumer assistance is available by calling 855-642-8572 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Deaf and hard of hearing may use Relay.While free, in-person assistance is still available in some areas of the state, we strongly encourage you to apply using the website, mobile app or by phone.Is Coronavirus testing covered under a Maryland Health Connection plan or Medicaid?Yes. Health insurance companies are required to waive cost-sharing, including lab fees, co-payments, coinsurance, and deductibles for any visit to test for coronavirus at a doctor’s office, urgent care center, or emergency room.Can I qualify for the Coronavirus Emergency Special Enrollment Period even if I’m not sick?Yes. All eligible, uninsured Marylanders may qualify for this emergency special enrollment period.What do I need to apply?Have these items ready when you apply.We encourage all residents to closely follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) for all health-related coronavirus questions.More information about Coronavirus and your coverage can be found on our blog and on Twitter and Facebook

From Dawne Lindsey Allegany County Clerk of Court: Pursuant to Chief Judge Barbera’s Order of March 13, 2020, the Allegany County Circuit Court, Courthouse, 30 Washington Street, Cumberland, MD is closed to the public on an emergency basis provided, however, that Judiciary operations shall continue to the extent practicable. As identified in Chief Judge Barbera’s Order, seventeen (17) matters which the Court schedules and hears on an urgent basis, consistent with statutory requests, will continue to be addressed by the Court on a priority basis.
Cases that are scheduled for trials, motions or hearings on March 16, 2020 shall be heard, provided the parties, counsel and witnesses are available and not exhibiting any symptoms of illness on a self-reporting basis. Only the parties, attorneys, testifying witnesses are permitted to attend those trials, motions or hearings, unless permission is expressly granted by the presiding judge.
While Chief Judge Barbera’s March 13, 2020 Order remains in effect, the Circuit Court is available to hear and consider non-jury cases which have been previously scheduled for hearing or trial. Counsel should consult with opposing counsel, if represented, to determine that the parties, counsel and witnesses are available and not exhibiting any symptoms of illness on a self- reporting basis. If the parties are willing to proceed with the hearing or trial recognizing that members of the public will be excluded, they are asked to contact the Chambers of the assigned judge and advise of the parties’ intent to go forward on the assigned date and time.
All criminal cases scheduled for Status hearings on March 17, 24 or 31, 2020 shall proceed as scheduled to make a MD Rule 4-271 (Hicks) determination. All other matters scheduled to be heard between March 16, 2020 through April 3, 2020 are postponed pending further order of the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals.

From WV Dept of Ed: Making sure the nutritional needs of school children are met during the statewide school closure is one of WV Department of Education’s top priorities. You can find your local feeding site by visiting https://wvde.us/covid19/feeding-site-information/

In light of the serious public health emergency created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Hogan has issued an emergency order to close all Maryland casinos, racetracks, and simulcast betting facilities to the general public indefinitely.“This situation continues to evolve and will escalate rapidly and dramatically,” said Governor Hogan. “These are unprecedented actions in an extraordinary situation, but they could be the difference in saving lives and keeping people safe.”
The following properties are affected by the governor’s emergency order, which takes effect at midnight on Monday, March 16, 2020and will remain in effect until the state of emergency has been terminated or until superseded by other orders:
MGM National Harbor
Live! Casino & Hotel
Horseshoe Casino Baltimore
Hollywood Casino Perryville
Ocean Downs Casino
Rocky Gap Casino Resort

Laurel Park
Pimlico Race Course
Timonium Race Course
Fair Hill Races
Rosecroft Raceway
Ocean Downs
All simulcast betting facilities in the state
The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency will work with casinos to facilitate an orderly shutdown of operations. This order does not apply to hotels adjacent to casinos. Read the governor’s emergency order.
Additionally, Governor Hogan reiterated that failure to follow his order prohibiting large gatherings is a crime, and will be enforced if businesses fail to comply.
“It is critical to public health and safety that bars, restaurants, and other businesses across the state comply with the l aw,” said Governor Hogan. “Anyone who hosts or is part of the crowds in bars this weekend is jeopardizing the health of others and must avoid any contact with family members or friends over the age of 60 or those with underlying health conditions.”
Resources for Businesses. The Maryland Departments of Commerce and Labor have compiled resources to help businesses whose daily operations are affected during the state of emergency. We encourage members of the business community to reach out with their questions by sending a message to Secretary.Commerce@maryland.gov.
State of Emergency. The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic. The State of Maryland is continuing to operate under a state of emergency, and all levels of government are taking a comprehensive, collaborative approach to keep Marylanders safe. The list of ongoing state actions is available at governor.maryland.gov/coronavirus.
For health resources regarding COVID-19, including case counts and clinician guidance, Marylanders should visitcoronavirus.maryland.gov.

From the Archdiocese of Baltimore:After receiving an update from State officials late today on the current impact of the COVID-19 virus and acting on the advice of medical professionals, Archbishop William E Lori has determined that to safeguard the well-being the faithful of the Archdiocese of Baltimore and to prevent further community spread of the virus, all public Masses are canceled until further notice.
Archbishop Lori will celebrate a private Mass at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen at 11 a.m. Sunday. A livestream of the Mass, along with other spiritual resources, will be available through www.archbalt.org. The faithful are encouraged to remain connected to their parishes and invited to participate in the Mass via broadcast and livestream.“My highest priority is the safety and welfare of the people of God of this Archdiocese,” Archbishop Lori said. “I take this step with great sadness, but also with wholehearted determination that we continue to provide for the spiritual well-being of the faithful at a time when their faith is most needed.”

WV Gov. Jim Justice and the West Virginia Department of Education announced today that they have updated the statewide school closure plan,originally announced Friday, March 13, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.OVERVIEW:All schools will remain closed to students through at least Friday, March 27.Essential staff, as determined by each county board of education, will report Monday, March 16 through Wednesday, March 18 to develop continuity plans for students.All teachers, staff, and school service personnel will report Thursday, March 19 and Friday, March 20.
County boards of education will determine staff requirements for Monday, March 23 and beyond.
“At the heart of everything we are doing right now is the protection of our children, making sure our schools are safe for our teachers and staff, and making every effort to protect all of the people of West Virginia,” Gov. Justice said. “I have been and will remain in constant contact with Superintendent Burch, and we both have heard the concerns of our teachers and school service personnel. We want to make sure all their concerns are taken into consideration as we develop our plans.”All schools will remain closed to students through at least March 27, 2020. No return date for students has been set at this time. Gov. Justice, State Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch, and other education leaders will continue to monitor COVID-19 developments throughout this two-week period, with the goal of getting students back to class as soon as safely possible.Only essential staff will report on Monday, March 16 through Wednesday, March 18, and county superintendents will determine who these employees are in their counties. During this time, the county superintendents will work with local boards of education, leadership teams, and essential staff to devise a continuity plan that outlines how to best meet the needs of students and the community during this extended closure.

All child nutrition programs will be minimally affected by this statewide school closure. Essential personnel including transportation staff, custodial staff, and food service staff are necessary during this time to ensure child nutrition efforts are implemented effectively for the over 200,000 students who rely on school meals for their daily nutrition. County boards of education may use school buses to transport meals to students throughout the duration of the closure.“I want to commend all our school service personnel and school leadership for their commitment to our students and for making sure school meals are available to kids who truly need them,” Gov. Justice said. “At the end of the day, these are tough decisions being made as the result of a tough situation. But I truly believe, in my heart, that these are the things we need to do to keep all West Virginians as safe as possible.”All remaining teachers and staff will return to work on Thursday, March 19and Friday, March 20 to make sure plans are properly implemented so student needs, educator well-being, and the continuity of instruction are properly addressed.County boards of education will determine staff requirements for Monday, March 23 and beyond. The county leadership team may choose to establish flexible work options including adjusted schedules and remote work.“Every effort will be made so that the final school day will be the original date scheduled by the county, so there will be minimal disruption to summer vacations for our students and their families,” Gov. Justice said. “As we work through these troubled times we will do everything we can to not disrupt our lives any more than necessary. That also means that our kids will still be learning through a multitude of ways such as online classes or any and every concept our educators can come up with during this closure.”Beyond online instruction, county leadership teams have an array of options to ensure the delivery of instruction including distance learning, telecommunication, electronic communication, traditional instructional packets, and more.“Governor Justice, with his experience as a teacher and a coach, has an incredible grasp on this situation and he is showing incredible leadership for our students, teachers, staff, and really all people across West Virginia,” Superintendent Burch said. “It’s amazing to watch his calm, intellectual approach to this tremendous problem.“Educators have always risen to the occasion to meet the needs of our students and I am fully confident they will step up in a big way to help us solve this challenge as well,” Superintendent Burch continued. “At the same time, we understand the need for educators to have flexibility so that they can best meet the needs of our students while also addressing the health and well-being of their own families. Even though this is uncharted territory, we will also be flexible in putting measures in place to support our children, families, educators, and staff.”More information on the Department of Education’s plans to supplement student learning and nutrition will be available at wvde.us/COVID19.The West Virginia National Guard and the West Virginia Department of Agriculture are also prepared to step in and support counties in offering adequate student support.For more information about COVID-19 prevention and more, you can call the State’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-877-4304 or visitCoronavirus.wv.gov.

US Congressman Trone: Congressman David Trone (MD-06) released a 17-page community resource guide containing information for federal, state, and local guidance related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Trone will continue to update the guide as more information and resources become available.
Trone released the guide a day after the House of Representatives passed the Families First Act, a bill that would provide free coronavirus testing for everyone, paid sick leave, expanded unemployment insurance, and funding for food security targeted toward seniors, students, and other vulnerable populations. This legislation follows the $8.3 billion supplemental the House passed previously and the President signed into law. “The coronavirus outbreak is on the forefront of all of our minds as the virus continues to spread globally and within our community, and this resource guide will help direct everyone in Maryland’s Sixth District to the best place to find information,” said Congressman David Trone. “During this unprecedented health emergency, it’s important that everyone know the resources to turn to if they have questions or concerns in order to keep our families and communities safe.”
https://trone.house.gov/sites/trone.house.gov/files/wysiwyg_uploaded/COVID-19%20Community%20Resource%20Guide.pdf
MD Governor Larry Hogan today enacted an emergency order to expand child care access to child care for critical personnel during the state of emergency. This will help ensure that child care services are available for providers of health care, emergency medical services, and law enforcement personnel while schools are closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.“Our state has taken major and unprecedented actions to protect the health, the safety, and the welfare of the people of Maryland,” said Governor Hogan. “As we continue to operate under a state of emergency, we are committed to doing everything in our power to maintain our essential services, including child care, especially for those who are on the front lines helping us combat this public health threat.”
As part of the directive she issued on Thursday, State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon announced that plans would be developed to ensure that the children of emergency services personnel have access to childcare throughout during a prolonged period of school closure. This order gives the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) the flexibility to work with regional and local officials to quickly and effectively make child care services available that adhere to public health guidelines.
Read the governor’s emergency order.
Enhanced Guidelines for Child Care Programs
Additionally, Superintendent Salmon has issued enhanced guidelines for child care programs and day care facilities to follow to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Every child care and day care provider in our state is essential to our mission of maintaining essential services in this time of crisis,” said Dr. Salmon. “We are providing these guidelines to make sure that child care programs can continue to operate while helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
Child care programs must take extraordinary precautions beyond what is normally recommended to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, including: Mandating social distancing and keeping children in small groups (no more than 10 children clustered in an activity): absolutely no large group activities.
Instructing staff to monitor for symptoms, and stay home if they are sick.
Instructing parents/guardians to keep children home if they or any member of the household exhibits symptoms.
Mandating frequent hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing one’s nose. Teachers should help young children do the same. If hands are visibly dirty, use soap and water to clean hands.
Providing children with soap and water to wash hands; adults may use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, but this is very toxic to children.
Advising persons to avoid touching their face (especially eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands).
Increasing the early childhood program’s cleaning and disinfection routine to multiple times per day, while being careful with children in the near vicinity. Emphasizing cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surface

Covering coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the trash and cleaning hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer (if soap and water are not readily available).
Providing adequate supplies for good hygiene, including clean and functional handwashing stations, soap, paper towels, and alcohol‐based hand sanitizer.
Restricting field trips.
Restricting outside visitors and volunteers
Special processes beyond routine cleaning are not necessary nor recommended to slow the spread of respiratory illness. Programs should follow standard procedures for cleaning as recommended below by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Typically, this means daily sanitizing surfaces and objects that are touched often, such as bathrooms, water coolers, desks, countertops, doorknobs, computer keyboards, hands‐on learning items, faucet handles, phones and toys.
The State of Maryland is continuing to operate under a state of emergency, and all levels of government are taking a comprehensive, collaborative approach to keep Marylanders safe. The list of ongoing state actions is available at governor.maryland.gov/coronavirus.

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice announced today the closing of all pre-k – 12 schools in the state. This comes after several measures were taken this week, including the canceling of all out-of-state travel and the suspension of all afterschool and school extracurricular activities. Though at this time there are no positive cases of COVID-19, this step was taken out of an abundance of caution. Child nutrition programs will continue throughout the school closure.While schools are closed to students, faculty and staff are expected to report to work. The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) has been working with county superintendents for several weeks to update emergency preparedness plans, which will now be implemented. Each county has worked with its local health department to meet the specific needs of children, families and communities.“I support the Governor’s decision to cancel school as a preemptive measure to combat the spread of the coronavirus,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools, W. Clayton Burch. “The health and safety of our children is our foremost concern. We will work closely with our community partners, including the West Virginia National Guard, state agencies, organizations, school employees and families to meet the needs of our students whether it be food distribution or other important supports.”The WVDE has been actively working with the federal government to ensure that students relying on school breakfast and lunch programs will continue to receive those meals. Additionally, the WVDE will support counties in addressing any other flexibilities that need to be implemented to assist children and families while schools are closed. Superintendent Burch will continue to work closely with Governor Justice, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and other state agencies to monitor the situation and provide updates to counties as developments occur.For more information and updates on the coronavirus situation in West Virginia, please visit coronavirus.wv.gov or wvde.us/COVID-19.

With the heightened measures announced by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan yesterday, the City of Cumberland is monitoring this very dynamic and quickly evolving situation.  With no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our region, the risk to our area is still low; however, in an abundance of caution, preparations are being made, should our area be directly affected.
➢ The City has ceased business travel to out-of-state locations, unless specially authorized by the City Administrator.
➢ All departments within the City are reviewing plans and identifying essential personnel to ensure the continuity of operations in an emergency situation.
➢ The City is coordinating efforts with other government agencies to facilitate mutual aid for emergency situations.
➢ The City is exploring the possibility of live streaming public meetings so citizens can continue observation without extra risk. To further accommodate social distancing measures and prevent the spread of illness, the City would like to remind citizens about and encourage the use of online billing and payment for Utility bills.  A one-time registration on the myCity utility billing portal will enable utility bills to be sent electronically every month, lessening the possibility of a bill getting lost.  Users of the portal can log in each month and make a payment by credit card or electronic check payment (ACH), with no additional fees, no postage and no worry that the payment is delayed in the mail.  To begin online billing and payment, visit  https://cumberlandmd.authoritypay.com/.  Residents may also make a Utility payment via credit card by calling City Hall at 301-759-6409, Monday through Friday between 8 am and 4 pm

Allegany College of Maryland (ACM) will further extend Spring Break through Sunday, March 22. This includes current online courses. All credit courses will be offered online from Monday, March 23 until at least Sunday, April 5.Non-credit classes and training through the ACM Center for Continuing Education and Workforce Development will suspend instruction beginning Monday, March 16 and continuing through Sunday, April 5. This includes ACM workforce trainings offered through the Bedford County Technical Center.ACM will be open for students who wish to complete their online coursework at the College or utilize Student Services during normal business hours. Students are not required to be on campus while credit courses are offered online. Students enrolled in clinical experiences or field classes are asked to contact their Program Director for additional information. ACM’s Culinaire Café in Downtown Cumberland will be closed until at least Monday, April 6 and will tentatively reopen on Tuesday, April 7. The cafeteria on the Cumberland campus will offer limited service hours. The Pantry, which provides food and personal care products to current ACM students in need, will be open by appointment. ACM’s Early College classes taught in public high schools will follow the status of their local school districts.Student group tours and the Spring Transfer Fair scheduled for March 26 are canceled. All non-essential College events, gatherings, and activities involving 25 or more people are strongly discouraged. Student athletes are asked to contact Athletic Director Tommie Reams for updates regarding practices and scheduled games.Students are asked to monitor ACM’s website and their student email account for continued updates. ACM’s COVID-19 webpage at www.allegany.edu/coronaviruswill have the most current information.Students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors who exhibit coronavirus 2019 disease symptoms (fever, cough, and shortness of breath) are asked to refrain from visiting ACM’s six locations. “We appreciate the patience of our students and their families as we strive to ensure the safety and well-being of our entire college community during this ever-evolving public health crisis. Like other colleges across the nation, we can’t anticipate the impact that the novel coronavirus disease 2019 may have on our institution this semester,” said ACM President Dr. Cynthia Bambara.There are currently no confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) at ACM or in Western Maryland. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced aggressive, ongoing measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on March 12 following Maryland’s first case of community transmission.Questions may be directed to the ACM Information Center at 301-784-5005.

The ACPS Food Service Department will provide “brown-bag” to-go lunches for students beginning on Monday, March 16, 2020. This service will run Monday-Friday, from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at each school until further notice. The brown bags will be distributed in the school lobby. Students and non-essential staff are not permitted in any other area of the building. Brown bags may be picked up by parents/students at any of the schools (even if they are not enrolled in that school) during the scheduled pick-up times.

In response to Governor Hogan’s executive order announced today, March 12, 2020, detailing a state-wide emergency action plan in response to the spread of COVID-19, the Mayor and City Council of Cumberland announce that, in order to deter an overly large gathering of people expected this weekend for the Hooley Pub Crawl, they will be meeting in special session tomorrow to rescind their approval to lift the open container provisions of the City Code in the downtown. Local bars and businesses in the downtown will be opened as planned.The Mayor and City Council encourage everyone to comply with the Governor’s directive and remain vigilant and educated on the news pertaining to the virus. The local informational clearinghouse is the Allegany County Health Department. The Health Department’s website has additional information that may be accessed at: https://health.maryland.gov/allegany/Pages/Home.aspx

MD Governor Larry Hogan today announced a series of major actions to protect public health and safety and limit the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Maryland. Earlier today, the state reported its first case of community transmission. 
“This problem continues to evolve and will escalate rapidly and dramatically,” said Governor Hogan. “For Marylanders, the actions I have announced here today will be disruptive to your everyday lives. They may seem extreme, and they may sound frightening. But they could be the difference in saving lives and keeping people safe.
“It is impossible at this time to know how long this threat will continue,” the governor continued. “What I do know is that my first and highest priority is protecting the health, the safety, and the welfare of the people of Maryland. We are all in this together, and we cannot stop the spread of this virus without each and every one of you doing your part. But I want you all to know that we will get through this together. Our state has already fa ced and overcome daunting challenges before, and we will do so again.”Below is a comprehensive list of the actions announced today:RAISING MEMA ACTIVATION LEVEL TO FULL: Governor Hogan raised the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) activation level to full, meaning that the State Emergency Operations Center is now operating at its highest level and that there will be full coordination of state response activities and resources.ACTIVATION OF NATIONAL GUARD: The governor directed the National Guard to move to a higher state of readiness in order to carry out any necessary emergency functions, such as food distribution or other critical areas of need. Read the executive order.PROHIBITION ON MASS GATHERINGS AND CLOSURE OF SENIOR CENTERS: Effective immediately, gatherings of more than 250 people, including social, community, spiritual, religious, recreational, leisure, and sporting gatherings, are prohibited at all locations and venues. Read the executive order. • Planned large gatherings and events must be canceled or postponed until after termination of the state of emergency and the proclamation of the catastrophic health emergency has been rescinded. • All senior citizen activities centers shall be closed beginning on Friday, March 13, 2020 until after termination of the state of emergency and the proclamation of the catastrophic health emergency has been rescinded. CLOSURE OF SCHOOLS: Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) State Superintendent Karen Salmon is directing that beginning on Monday, March 16, all schools throughout Maryland will close through Friday, March 27, 2020Read the MSDE press release.  • During the time of school closure, all school buildings and school buses should be cleaned and disinfected to prevent spread of the virus upon the return of students and staff to school. MSDE is additionally recommending that days previously scheduled for school closure during spring break be used as days off during this identified timeframe. • Administrators, faculty, staff, and parents/guardians should begin to immediately prepare for and implement measures for the continuity of educational services during a prolonged period of school closure. • Plans regarding childcare services are being developed by MSDE at this time to ensure that the children of emergency services personnel have access to childcare throughout a prolonged period of school closure. CLOSURE OF C RUISE TERMINAL AT PORT OF BALTIMORE: No passenger or crew member will be allowed to disembark at any terminal at the Port of Baltimore from any passenger vessel that has made a call at port outside of the United States since January 31, 2020. Read the executive order. • The only exceptions to this order are the Carnival Pride and the RCL Grandeur of the Seas, which are due to return to port in the coming days, provided that no person on board such vessel has a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 or is under investigation for COVID-19. •   • Except as necessary to perform a duty required by law, no person shall board any covered passenger vessel at any terminal or port facility in the ports and harbors of the state. • Each owner of a terminal or port facility in the state that receives cargo vessels shall develop and implement procedures for screening and controlling the movement of crew members who desire to disembark from cargo vessels that have, since January 31, 2020, made a call at any port outside the United States.EXTENSION OF PERMITTING DEADLINES: Because renew ing expiring permits or licenses often requires the public to enter public buildings and interact with state employees; all licenses, permits, registrations, and other authorizations issued by the state, its agencies or any political subdivision that would expire during the current state of emergency will be extended until the 30th day after the state of emergency is lifted. Read the executive order.GUIDANCE TO HOSPITALS FOR VISITATION POLICIES: The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) is advising hospitals to adopt new procedures to limit visitation, including: • No one under the age of 18 is permitted to visit, including in all waiting areas and common spaces. • Only one adult visitor per patient in all areas of the hospital.  • Visitors should be screened for flu-like symptoms. • Visitors who have traveled internationally may not visit for 14 days after arrival into the United States.SUSPENSION OF VISITS TO CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES: The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) is suspending all visits to its correctional facilities effective immediately. The department will provide free phone calls and video visitation for inmates. • There have been no cases of coronavirus in our correctional facilities. 
  • At this time, facility programming will continue on a case-by-case basis. 
  • DPSCS will re-evaluate the situation often in an effort to restore normal visits as soon as possible.  MANDATORY TELEWORK FOR NON-ESSENTIAL STATE EMPLOYEES: Governor Hogan is directing the Department of Budget and Management to implement a period of mandatory telework, beginning Friday, March 13, across state agencies for all non-essential state employees. Read the executive order here.Read the Department of Budget and Management’s guidance here.DAY-TO-DAY OPERATIONS OF STATE GOVERNMENT: As he continues to manage the crisis, Governor Hogan is delegating the day-to-day operations of state government to Lt. Governor Rutherford.STATE OF EMERGENCY: This week, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic. The State of Maryland is continuing to operate under a state of emergency, and all levels of government are taking a comprehensive, collaborative approach to keep Marylanders safe. The list of ongoing state actions is available at governor.maryland.gov/coronavirus.For health resources regarding COVID-19, including case counts and clinician guidance, Marylanders should visit health.maryland.gov/coronavirus.

 Beginning Monday, March 16, 2020, the Maryland state courts will be closed to the public for three weeks due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera announced today.

“All courts in the Maryland Judiciary, court offices, administrative offices, units of the Judiciary, and the Offices of the Clerks of the Circuit Courts shall be closed to the public on an emergency basis, effective March 16, 2020; however, Judiciary operations shall continue to the extent practicable,” the Administrative Order on Statewide Judiciary Closing of the Courts to the Public Due to the COVID-19 Emergencystates in part. “All other matters scheduled to be heard between March 16, 2020through April 3, 2020, are postponed pending further order of the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals.”

“We will continue to provide access to justice while balancing that mission with the health and safety needs of Marylanders and Judiciary personnel during this emergency,” said Chief Judge Barbera. 

Court personnel are to report to work as usual. The courts will be staffed to handle emergency matters including, but not limited to, domestic violence petitions, bail reviews, juvenile detention and shelter hearings, and search warrants. Judges are authorized to use remote electronic means of conducting legal proceedings when possible.

Consistent with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Maryland Department of Health, the Judiciary is taking these steps to reduce the number of people in its courthouses to mitigate the potential for spreading the virus.

The Statewide Judiciary Closing of the Courts to the Public Due to the COVID-19 Emergency (Link: https://mdcourts.gov/sites/default/files/admin-orders/20200313statewideclosingofcourts.pdf) will be extended or modified as needed in the future.

Per Executive Order by Governor Larry Hogan, the State of Maryland government is now operating at Elevated Level II, which mandates nonessential employee telework for state employees and closure of state office buildings to the public. As of tomorrow, Friday, March 13, all branch offices of the Office of the Maryland Comptroller will be closed to the public.

Beginning Monday, March 16, the Comptroller’s Office will have a limited number of essential, mission critical personnel available to answer taxpayer calls, process tax returns, issue refunds, process unclaimed property claims, and process state employee payroll and vendor payments.

Taxpayers are urged to email questions totaxhelp@marylandtaxes.gov; if that option isn’t possible, call 1-800-MD-TAXES. Maryland taxpayers may experience longer call wait times, responses to tax questions and tax return processing times.

Updates to this announcement will be shared with the media and taxpayers.

In order to protect employees, inmates, and detainees and their families, the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services is suspending all visits to its correctional facilities effective today, March 12.

The Department will provide free phone calls and video visitation for inmates.

“We recognize the tremendous importance of visits and family contact,” said Secretary Robert L. Green. “But it is critical for the health and well-being of our employees and those in our custody that we protect them. This is a human event, and we need to do everything possible to ensure that families can communicate.” 

DPSCS internet technology and custody staff are working now on telephone and video visiting enhancements.

All programming and volunteer activities will be suspended for two weeks, at which time, we will re-evaluate. 

DPSCS will continue to re-evaluate the situation in an effort to restore normal visits as soon as possible.  

There have been no cases of coronavirus in our correctional facilities.  DPSCS continues to work closely with the MD Dept. of Health and the MD Emergency Management Agency, and will be closely monitoring its employees and those in our custody for signs of illness.  The Department remains focused on educating staff, inmates, and detainees on proper procedures for limiting the spread of all communicable diseases.  


Effective immediately, patient visitation at Garrett Regional Medical Center will be limited to one person per patient. No one under the age of 18 will be allowed to visit patients. Anyone exhibiting any signs of illness will be asked to leave the premises. In addition, only one person will be allowed to accompany patients reporting for surgical or other procedures/treatments. This is in accordance with the state of emergency declared by Governor Larry Hogan. GRMC will issue updates as the situation warrants.

 STATEMENT FROM ALLEGANY COUNTY BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS REGARDING THE CORONAVIRUS

The dedicated professionals at our county’s health department are leading the community’s response and will continue to do so. The staff is meeting with their counterparts in various state and local level agencies to ensure that our message is accurate and up to date. We are making efforts to ensure that both our young people and aging populations know the facts about this virus and how to best combat it. Allegany County Government is taking the following steps in light of the spread of this virus:

(1) We are revoking all authorizations of any county financed travel to out-of-state locations, as the health of our staff remains a priority.

(2) We strongly encourage the payment of tax and utility bills online. A link to online bill payment is placed on our county’s website. There are no additional fees for this service and bills can also be paid by check or money order.

(3) We are working with vendors and event organizers who have events scheduled at the county fairgrounds, and will work with them should they desire to cancel upcoming events at the fair. 

(4) We will continue to monitor the spread of the virus and will make adjustments to staffing as needed.

It is in moments like these that our community can and must come together to work to slow the spread of the Coronavirus. 

Gov. Jim Justice today announced the state high school basketball tournaments are being shut down and a travel ban is being imposed on state employees.

“We just have got to get away from the big crowds,” Justice said during a press conference with state health and emergency response officials.

http://wvmetronews.com/2020/03/12/updates-west-virginia-prepares-for-coronavirus-concerns/

The Governor of MD announced a special enrollment period due to the exceptional circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 epidemic. If you are a Maryland resident and you do not have insurance and you are concerned about the epidemic, you can apply for health insurance. Please call 888-202-0212 to make an appointment.

From ACHD: The Allegany County Health Department is closely monitoring all aspects of COVID-19, the new coronavirus, and working with partners at the federal, state, and local levels to actively prepare. Currently, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Allegany County or Western Maryland.

“There are several things that individuals can do to protect themselves and those around them,” stated Dr. Jennifer Corder, Medical Deputy Health Officer for Allegany and Garrett Counties. “These are the same kinds of preventive measures you would take to prevent the flu and many other illnesses.”
• Wash your hands frequently with soap and water and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Stay home from school or work if you are sick.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched items in your home and workspace.
• Cover your mouth and nose while sneezing or coughing, and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
• If you aren’t feeling well, do not visit others and risk exposing them to illness.
• Follow all public health guidance regarding visitation at nursing homes, senior living facilities, and other locations with vulnerable populations.
• Reconsider attending events with large crowds, especially if you are elderly or have chronic medical conditions.
• Avoid nonessential travel to areas with COVID-19 spread.
While many individuals with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms, elderly individuals and persons with underlying health conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes are at higher risk for serious complications.

If you have symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath), call your healthcare provider to inquire about testing. Always call ahead to your healthcare provider and explain your symptoms and travel history. Calling ahead allows healthcare providers to plan for safe testing with minimal exposure to others.
“We are working closely with health care providers, emergency personnel, and local agencies to prepare for COVID-19,” explained Jenelle Mayer, Health Officer for Allegany County. “Agencies and organizations are all putting systems in place to limit the spread of disease in our community. Everyone can play a role – wash your hands, stay home if you are sick, don’t visit others if you aren’t feeling well.”

For up-to-date information and resources, visit coronavirus.gov.


From MD Governor: Governor Larry Hogan today announced the first case of community transmission of COVID-19 in Maryland. The patient, whose case was first announced last night, is a Prince George’s County resident who had no known exposure to coronavirus through travel or an infected individual.

Governor Hogan will speak at 4:00 p.m. at the State House to announce major actions that the state is taking to protect public health.

“The first case of COV-19 community transmission in Maryland means we are entering a new phase of working to mitigate and limit the spread of this pandemic,” said Governor Hogan. “What we are seeing now is what we have been anticipating and preparing for over the last several weeks. Later today, I will be announcing to Marylanders major actions we are taking to protect public health and safety.”

The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic. The State of Maryland is continuing to operate under a state of emergency, and all levels of government are taking a comprehensive approach to keep Marylanders safe. To date, there are 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maryland. The list of ongoing state actions is available at governor.maryland.gov/coronavirus.

For health resources regarding COVID-19, including case counts and clinician guidance, Marylanders should visit health.maryland.gov/coronavirus.

From US Senator Joe Manchin: U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) today released the following statement urging West Virginians to exercise caution in the coming weeks as the coronavirus spreads throughout the United States.

“I am urging West Virginians to take deliberate precautions to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus, otherwise known as the coronavirus. Out of an abundance of caution, I have decided against holding any public events next week. After a Senate staffer from a different office tested positive for the virus and following the recommendation of Dr. Brian Monahan, the Attending Physician of the United States Congress, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, I have encouraged my Washington staff to telework until further notice, and have directed my West Virginia staff to be prepared to telework if necessary. Public health experts have made it clear that we must take action to mitigate the spread of this virus from now until April 1st, or else risk severe consequences like we are seeing in Italy and China,” Senator Manchin said. “We all share the responsibility to prevent the spread of this virus and exercise responsible choices, including social distancing, frequently washing your hands with soap and water, wiping down surfaces with products that contain at least 60 percent alcohol, avoiding crowded places, canceling nonessential domestic and international travel and staying home if you are feeling under the weather. I will continue to monitor the outbreak and provide as much information as possible to West Virginians as the situation develops.”

Last week, Senator Manchin launched an information resources page where West Virginians can learn more about the coronavirus outbreak and how to protect themselves and their families

https://www.manchin.senate.gov/coronavirus

MD Governor Larry Hogan has announced in response to the growing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus long term care facilities and veterans facilities across the state will be restricting visits to essential visits only, the Motor Vehicle Administration will be moving to an appointment only system for all transactions, the MD Health Benefits Exchange is offering a special enrollment period through the Maryland Health Connection and more video visitation opportunities will be offered at state correctional institutions. Hogan says all Marylanders need to take the pandemic seriously. He urges residents to stay calm and stay informed. You can get the latest updates by calling 211 or log on to health.maryland.gov

Tonight, Governor Larry Hogan announced three additional confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in Maryland:

  • A Montgomery County resident in his 20s who recently traveled to Spain, and is not hospitalized.
     
  • A Baltimore County resident in his 60s who worked at the recent American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference in Washington, DC, and is not hospitalized.
     
  • A Prince George’s County resident in his 60s whose travel history is under investigation, and is currently hospitalized.

The State of Maryland now has 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) has notified local officials regarding these cases and begun investigating potential exposure risk to the community.

**Governor Hogan is postponing his National Governors Association (NGA) State of the States Address, scheduled for tomorrow afternoon in Washington, DC in order to continue managing the crisis from Annapolis.

Additional State Actions to Keep Marylanders Safe

Earlier today at the CHART State Operations Command Center in Hanover, Governor Larry Hogan provided additional updates on the State of Maryland’s ongoing response to COVID-19.

regarding these cases and begun investigating potential exposure risk to the community.

**Governor Hogan is postponing his National Governors Association (NGA) State of the States Address, scheduled for tomorrow afternoon in Washington, DC in order to continue managing the crisis from Annapolis.

Additional State Actions to Keep Marylanders Safe

Earlier today at the CHART State Operations Command Center in Hanover, Governor Larry Hogan provided additional updates on the State of Maryland’s ongoing response to COVID-19.

“Marylanders should be taking this pandemic very seriously,” said Governor Hogan. “All Marylanders need to understand that there may be significant disruption to your everyday lives for a period of time. We will continue tracking this and will be receiving and providing Marylanders with almost constant, up-to-the-minute information. I want to continue to assure Marylanders that our state is taking every precaution when it comes to the coronavirus, because our highest priority is keeping our residents safe.” 

Earlier today, the governor announced that a Montana resident visiting Anne Arundel County has tested positive for COVID-19. While this will be classified as a Montana case, the Maryland and Anne Arundel County Health Departments are taking the lead on the investigation.

The governor also announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is requesting that Marylanders onboard the “Grand Princess” who are not showing symptoms return to the State of Maryland. The U.S. citizens on that ship are in the process of being transported to military bases for examination and to be quarantined. The state has informed HHS that they must test all 12 of these passengers for COVID-19. All who are cleared will be safely transported back to Maryland. 

The administration has also been informed that a volunteer first responder in Montgomery County, a Virginia resident, has tested positive for COVID-19. This case is tied to the rector of Christ Church in Washington, DC, so the State of Maryland is coordinating this investigation with the Virginia and Washington, DC health departments. Maryland’s chief epidemiologist has cleared the firehouse where the first responder works and has no major concerns regarding potential exposure risk to the community.

New Actions from State Agencies 

The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services is discontinuing visits for individuals currently in infirmaries, reducing programs and movement within facilities, providing more video visitation opportunities, and requiring staff who exhibit flu-like symptoms to remain home.

The Maryland Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Administration will immediately begin moving toward an all-appointments system for all transactions in order to eliminate walk-ins, reduce foot traffic, and keep crowds to a minimum.

The Maryland Health Benefits Exchange is working to establish a special enrollment period through Maryland Health Connection specifically for the coronavirus.

All Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs facilities, including the Charlotte’s Hall Veterans Home, have been directed to adhere to the same guidance Governor Hogan announced yesterday for long-term care facilities, including prohibiting staff from international travel. 

Today, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic. The State of Maryland is continuing to operate under a state of emergency, and all levels of government are taking a comprehensive, collaborative approach to keep Marylanders safe. The list of ongoing state actions is available at governor.maryland.gov/coronavirus.

For health resources regarding COVID-19, including case counts and clinician guidance, Marylanders should visit health.maryland.gov/coronavirus.

U.S. Congressman David Trone announced the state of Maryland would receive $10,759,226.90 in federal funding from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to support the response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In total, the CDC announced they would reward over $560 million to state and local jurisdictions across the country.

This money is a part of the $8.3 billion Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020, which passed the House and was signed by the President last week. “The federal government must fully fund the resources needed to combat the spread of COVID-19, and this $10 million will go directly to support Maryland’s efforts,” said Congressman David Trone (MD-06). “I just got off the phone with the hospital and public health leaders of the five counties in our district, and the message was loud and clear: we need consistent and predictable long-term public health funding. I will continue to work to provide the necessary funding to address all health and economic concerns caused by this pandemic.”

The $8.3 billion supplemental included:
More than $3 billion to the development of treatments and a coronavirus vaccine and includes an additional $300 million to ensure Americans will have access to the vaccine regardless of their ability to pay.
Protects against price-gouging of medicines developed with taxpayer dollars by ensuring that the federal government will only pay a fair and reasonable price for coronavirus vaccines and drugs and providing HHS the authority to ensure that they are affordable in the commercial market.
Provides $2.2 billion in public health funding for prevention, preparedness and response, including nearly a billion dollars specifically to alleviate the immense financial strain on state, local, tribal and territorial hospitals and health systems.
Protects public health by allowing Medicare providers to extend telemedicine services to seniors regardless of where they live, at an estimated cost of $500 million.
Supports small businesses impacted by this epidemic, allowing for an estimated $7 billion in low-interest SBA loans to those affected.
Congressman David Trone was elected to the House of Representatives in November 2018 to serve the 6th District of Maryland, which includes all or part of Montgomery, Frederick, Washington, Allegany, and Garrett Counties. This week, Trone held a call with all public health officials in all five counties to hear about what is happening on the ground and what resources they need in order to address the coronavirus. On Tuesday, he met with the Maryland Department of Health in order to coordinate support for Maryland’s efforts to rapidly respond to COVID-19. Trone’s website features best practices and information on how to find the best resources for COVID-19.

In keeping with public health guidance regarding the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, Allegany College of Maryland (ACM) will extend spring break through Tuesday, March 17. Classes will resume on campus on Wednesday, March 18.  Non-credit classes through the ACM Center for Continuing Education and Workforce Development will continue as scheduled at this time. College and community events are proceeding as scheduled.  Students are asked to monitor ACM’s website and their student email account for continued updates. ACM’s COVID-19 webpage at www.allegany.edu/coronavirus will have the most current information. Students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors who exhibit coronavirus 2019 disease symptoms (fever, cough, and shortness of breath) are asked to refrain from visiting ACM’s six locations.  Questions may be directed to the ACM Information Center at 301-784-5005.

According to FSU officials the Frostburg State University campus will remain open as usual this week.After spring break, ALL CLASSES, where possible, will shift to online instruction — no face to face classes — until at least April 6. The Provost has strongly advised faculty to adjust their syllabi for this period in response to this extreme situation and to share those revisions with students by March 20. The campus will remain open following spring break, and students may return to campus on Sunday, March 22, at the regularly scheduled time. However, if students wish to remain at home during this period, they may do so.Guidelines for students doing course work off campus, such as in internships or clinical rotations, are being developed. More information will be shared with mentor faculty. The emergency absence procedure for students is also being developed. Those guidelines will be issued this week.https://www.frostburg.edu/brady-h…/Coronavirus-resources.php

Meanwhile the WVU System including WVU Potomac State College will temporarily suspend face-to-face classes from March 23-27 while transitioning to online and alternative class instruction, which will begin March 30 and will continue until further notice. This is a precautionary measure to protect the campus and community.

ACPS continues to be in regular contact with and receive guidance from the Allegany County Health Department (ACHD) and the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). As the situation concerning COVID-19 continues to evolve, ACPS will continue to consult with the Health Department and MSDE. There are no cases reported in Western Maryland at this time.

From MSDE Due to recent events regarding the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), in consultation with the Maryland Department of Health (MDH), is advising that all scheduled out-of-state and international field trips sanctioned by local school systems for students and staff be canceled indefinitely.

IMPORTANT: The newest updates and preparations in ACPS effective immediately:

School District Status
The school district will remain open pending further notice from the Allegany County Health Department. Elementary and middle after-school programs will continue to operate pending further notice.

Travel
All work-related travel outside of the state by faculty or staff is canceled pending further notification. Exceptions to this must be approved by the superintendent.

All field trips outside of Allegany County are canceled pending further notice.
All school competitions, such as FBLA and Mock Trial, will continue to be permitted, in-state, pending further notification from the Health Department or MSDE. A parent/guardian may choose to prohibit his/her child from participating without any consequence to the student.

The spring sports season does not begin until March 20, 2020. Athletics will continue pending further notification from the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA). A parent/guardian may choose to prohibit his/her child from participating without any consequence to the student.

General
Please beware of mixed messages in the media or on social media. Official ACPS communications are the only authoritative source of information regarding ACPS operations.

Due to recent events regarding the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), in consultation with the Maryland Department of Health (MDH), is advising that all scheduled out-of-state and international field trips sanctioned by local school systems for students and staff be cancelled indefinitely. Therefore, until further notice, Garrett County Public Schools will be cancelling out of state travel for all students and staff.   At this time, the MSDE is not advising that local school systems cancel in-state field trips or athletic contests. Therefore, all in-state trips will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis until further notice. We will continue to conference daily (or more frequently as needed) with the Garrett County Health Department. Those daily briefings will guide decisions on travel and the possible closing of schools or the entire district.   The health and safety of our school communities are paramount. We will continue to provide consistent communication and updates as we receive relevant information. At the current time, there are no confirmed cases in Garrett County or the surrounding areas. While the risk remains low for most populations, you can find more information at www.coronavirus.gov . Please know that we continue to plan for any possible closures. In addition, custodians in each school are deep cleaning and disinfecting high traffic areas and classrooms every day. Our school nurses are working with Mrs. Becky Aiken, Nurse Manager, to closely monitor student health.   Follow the advice from the CDC to use the following universal precautions to protect yourself: Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. Washing hands correctly is the most important thing you can do to stay healthy. Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Avoid close contact such as kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick. Cover your cough and sneezes with a tissue or shirt sleeve, not your hands. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys, doorknobs, especially if someone is sick. Stay home when you are sick and keep sick children home from school if they are ill with a fever.As for the state of West Virginia at the direction of Gov. Jim Justice, key members of his administration and other government officials gathered at the Capitol Complex in Charleston today, holding a press conference to update members of the media and the public on the State’s ongoing efforts to monitor novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and to prepare for its potential future spread.There are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in West Virginia. As of March 11, 2020, West Virginia has tested eight residents for COVID-19, with seven results coming back negative and one test still pending.

Among those in attendance at Wednesday’s meeting were: Bill Crouch, Secretary for the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources; Dr. Cathy Slemp, West Virginia State Health Officer and Commissioner of the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health; Clayton Burch, West Virginia Superintendent of Schools; and Jeff Sandy, Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety. Sarah Tucker, Interim Chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and Chancellor of the West Virginia Community and Technical College System joined via videoconferencing technology. “Our monitoring of coronavirus remains the absolute top priority for myself and my entire administration,” Gov. Justice said in a statement. “While we are fortunate to still have no confirmed cases in West Virginia, it is absolutely critical that we stay in front of this emerging health threat and work to keep the public informed about the ways we are preparing as a State and continuing to use every precaution at our disposal to keep the public as safe as possible.”

Statement from WVDHHR Secretary Bill Crouch
“The DHHR continues to closely monitor this outbreak and maintains communication and outreach with federal, state and local public health partners. Governor Justice and I recently met and participated in a national briefing phone call with Vice President Mike Pence and members of the Trump Administration. The state’s public health lab under DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health is now able to test for this disease which will ensure a quicker turnaround. An information hotline to address concerns regarding COVID-19 has been established, and operators are available 24/7, toll-free at 1-800-887-4304 to provide accurate information about COVID-19. Information is also available at www.coronavirus.wv.gov.”

Statement from WV DMAPS Secretary Jeff Sandy
“Working with Gov. Justice and the Department of Health and Human Resources, the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety is carrying out its core mission: to provide for a safe and secure West Virginia. Our State Emergency Operations Center is standing by on enhanced watch. The State Police are in close contact with all levels of law enforcement statewide. Our Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management is doing the same with other first responders as well as county and local counterparts. At our correctional facilities we have halted all non-attorney visitation, with phone and video visitation still available and unaffected. These and similar actions ensure an effective response to this evolving situation. As Gov. Justice says, the health and safety of our fellow West Virginians is the highest priority.”

Statement from Major General James Hoyer, West Virginia National Guard Adjutant General
“The West Virginia National Guard continues to stand ready to support the State of West Virginia and our partner agencies to strengthen detection and response to COVID-19. We have contingency plans in place, are reviewing them daily, and are taking steps to educate and safeguard our military and civilian personnel, family members and installation communities to prevent any public health threat. The Guard is also engaged in training and educating local emergency room departments, liaising with DHHR and DHSEM and providing expertise through outreach to communities in the state. We remain prepared to assist the citizens of West Virginia in any response capacity throughout the duration of this situation.”

Statement from Sarah Armstrong Tucker, Ph.D, Interim Chancellor of the Higher Education Policy Commission, Chancellor of the Community and Technical College System
“At the statewide level, I’ve been working under Governor Justice’s direction to ensure the proper planning is in place across our higher education system. Each campus has individual needs with different student populations, so we are seeing varying proactive measures being taken at the institutional level – with particular focus on spring break and mitigating any potential threats related to students returning to the state after traveling. Our preeminent goal is to maintain the health and safety of all of those within and around our campus communities, and we will continue coordinating and communicating among our campuses to that end.”

Statement from West Virginia Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch
“The West Virginia Department of Education is maintaining open and ongoing communications with the Governor’s Office and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources to provide consistent and coordinated information to the education community. While no confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported, county school systems have updated or are in the process of updating their emergency plans. I will outline guidance that counties may consider when planning school-sponsored student travel in the coming weeks. Decisions about field trips and similar activities are made at the local level, however, the WVDE will offer planning recommendations for counties to consider. I will maintain contact with the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission (WVSSAC) regarding sporting events and public safety. At this time, all state basketball tournament play will continue as planned. I also am in contact with the U.S. Department of Education and will work with Deputy Secretary Mitchell Zais if flexibility is needed during the upcoming academic testing window, and to meet the provisions of federal grants.”