Press Release - Baltimore County's First Confirmed COVID-19 Case
County Government Issues Update in Response to First COVID-19 Case
Mar 12, 2020 1:00:00 PM EDT
Current and New Measures to Prevent the Spread of the Virus Announced
Following the confirmation of the first case of the COVID-19 virus in a Baltimore County resident, County Executive Johnny Olszewski provided updated information about government actions to respond to the pandemic and released additional community guidance.
The Maryland Department of Health confirmed on Wednesday that a Baltimore County resident in his 60s who worked at the recent American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington, D.C., has contracted the virus.
“Keeping residents safe and informed remains our highest priority, Olszewski said. “Baltimore County’s agencies have been coordinating in preparation for the arrival of COVID-19, and we are prepared to respond to any potential impacts the virus has on our communities.”
“We’re taking the steps necessary to protect the health of our residents and minimize the spread of this virus in Baltimore County.” said Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch, Director of the Baltimore County Department of Health and Human Services and Health Officer. “We strongly urge residents to continue following public health best practices and rely on credible sources including the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and your state and local health departments for accurate and up-to-date information.”
The Baltimore County Department of Health has opened a hotline for residents to call with questions or concerns. The number is 410-887-3816.
Current and New Measures
The County is taking a number of actions to keep residents safe and minimize the spread of the COVID-19.
· Out of an abundance of caution, activities at Baltimore County Senior Centers will be suspended immediately. Based on state guidance, all Baltimore County senior centers will be closed to the public beginning on Monday, March 16, until further notice. County officials encourage individuals to coordinate with senior center staff to ensure they are prepared for the closure, and we encourage those individuals to call the Maryland Access Point hotline at 410-887-2594.
· The Recreation and Parks Department is cancelling all organized recreational activities until further notice. The Department is also advising the County’s Recreation Councils to cancel organized activities. This cancellation includes all travel programs out of state. Recreational facilities will remain open during normal operating hours at this time.
· The County Executive’s remaining budget town hall meetings have been cancelled. Information about a virtual town hall to allow residents to share their priorities will be shared in the coming days.
· The remaining scheduled Comprehensive Zoning Map Process (CZMP) hearings have also been cancelled. Additional information will be shared in the coming days.
· The Code Enforcement Working Group meeting scheduled for this evening, March 12, is cancelled. Further information will be provided in the coming days about virtual options for future meetings.
· The Baltimore County Women’s Commission meeting scheduled for Thursday, March 19, has been cancelled.
· The County is suspending all non-essential out of state travel for employees until further notice.
· The County has implemented new protocols at our 911 call center to screen for COVID-19 risk in order to protect and prepare our first responders.
· The County is reviewing telework and sick leave options for all County employees.
· The County has issued emergency procurements for soap, hand sanitizer and other necessary cleaning materials, with a particular emphasis on jails, courts and other areas with large traffic flows and concentrations of vulnerable populations.
This evening’s Landmarks Preservation Commission meeting for Thursday, March 12 will occur as scheduled. The meeting is statutorily required and is expected to have a small number of attendees. Additional guidance about all future board and commission meetings will be provided in the coming days.
All in-person CCBC classes are canceled Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 22, and will resume remotely via alternative teaching methods starting Monday, March 23. Online classes will continue to be held as scheduled. CCBC remains open and services are available.
Additional guidance regarding programs, classes and activities at CCBC and BCPS will come directly from those organizations.
All County residents are encouraged to take the proper precautions to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including regular hand-washing and social distancing as appropriate. All residents, and particularly those at high risk, should follow CDC guidance.
For up-to-date fact sheets and information about COVID-19, please visit the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov.
For the latest information from Baltimore County, please visit: www.baltimorecountymd.gov/health.
Elyn Garrett Jones
Public Information Officer