May 27, 2020

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As COVID-19 Cases Rise, State Opens More Testing Sites

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The Maryland Department of Health website, as of 10 am Thursday, April 2, reports the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Maryland had increased to 2,331. Reported cases in Southern Maryland: 27 in St. Mary’s County, 22 in Calvert County, and 69 in Charles County.

There were 1,985 positive cases reported on Wednesday, April 1.

The state health department on Wednesday began offering more drive-through COVID-19 testing to residents who are symptomatic and at high risk for complications from the disease. The test sites are located at Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program sites in Waldorf, Glen Burnie, and Bel Air.

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about the Maryland stay-at-home order.

 

Hogan Enacts Emergency Orders to Expand Telehealth, Upgrade Designation of Disabilities Services Personnel

Gov. Larry Hogan issued two emergency orders April 1 to further support Marylanders during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the expansion of telehealth services and the designation of disabilities services personnel as health care providers.

“As our state faces new and unprecedented challenges, we need to be adaptive, innovative, and inclusive in our response,” Gov. Hogan said. “The orders I have issued today help ensure that Marylanders of all ages and abilities can continue receiving essential services throughout this public health crisis.”

Earlier Wednesday, Maryland reported 1,985 confirmed cases of COVID-19—an increase of 325 new cases, which is the largest one-day increase to date. The Maryland Department of Health announced 13 additional deaths as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing the state’s total to 31 deaths. There are now more than 4,000 COVID-19 cases in the national capital region.

EXPANDING TELEHEALTH SERVICES IN MARYLAND. Gov. Hogan issued an executive order that amends the previous May 20 order regarding telehealth by expanding these services beyond audio-only methods. With this order, healthcare providers may engage in asynchronous telehealth services, such as email, provided that any and all telehealth practices are clinically appropriate, properly documented, and otherwise comply with proper standards of care. These telehealth services are also eligible for reimbursement by Medicaid. Read the amended executive order.

HEALTH CARE DESIGNATION FOR DISABILITIES SERVICE PERSONNEL. Gov. Hogan issued an executive order ensuring that workers who provide important support services to the disabled will be treated as health care providers under the recently-enacted Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This order officially recognizes the essential function of services for the disabled—including in-home care, interpreting services, social services, and support systems for substance abuse and mental illness—and designates those who provide these services as essential health care providers.

 

ICYMI:

APRIL 1 UPDATES

Health Department: Community Spread Confirmed

The St. Mary’s County Health Department has confirmed additional positive cases of the novel coronavirus in county residents, bringing the total case count to 23. Additionally, there is now strong evidence of community spread of COVID-19 in St. Mary’s County. Community spread is the passage of illness from person to person without known risks, such as travel or contact with a confirmed case.

“With community spread, everyone could be at some risk for COVID-19,” said Dr. Meena Brewster, St. Mary’s County health officer. “The risk of being in public places is now similar to being in a location where someone may have been while contagious with the virus. It is critical that our community members stay at home as much as possible and take precautions.”

The health department will no longer issue notifications for public exposure risks, as general risk to the community in public spaces is evident. Residents should focus on staying home, social distancing from others, and infection prevention measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.

For local COVID-19 case count, updates, and information, go to www.smchd.org/coronavirus or call the COVID-19 hotline at 301-475-4911 Monday through Saturday from 8 am to 5 pm.

The Maryland Department of Health website, as of 10:15 am Wednesday, April 1, reports the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Maryland had increased to 1,985. Reported cases in Southern Maryland: 23 in St. Mary’s County, 18 in Calvert County, and 56 in Charles County. 

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued a stay-at-home order Monday. Residents should only leave their homes for trips that are considered essential. It went into effect at 8 pm March 30. View his remarks here.

What does that mean for you? Details of the stay-at-home order can be found here.

 

Maryland Authorizes Remote Notarizations

Gov. Larry Hogan issued an emergency order that temporarily waives the in-person requirement for notarizing documents in Maryland for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency, subject to guidance provided by Secretary of State John C. Wobensmith.

Notaries Public commissioned in Maryland who are in good standing may perform a notarial act using communication technology for a remotely located (remote online notarizations) after affirming they are complying with the requirements and submit the attached Remote Notary Notification Form and emailing it to the Office of the Secretary of State at remotenotary.sos@maryland.gov.

Notaries Public who use remote notarizations must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Must be a current notary in good standing
  • Must notify the Office of the Secretary of State of intent to use remote notarizations
  • Must identify the communications technology vendor that will be used and confirm that the vendor will allow notary to, in real time, (1) view the remotely located individual and (2) compare for consistency the information and photos presented as identification credentials
  • For each notarial act conducted remotely, must create and retain an audio-visual recording of the performance of the notarial act
  • For each notarial act conducted remotely, must note on the notarial certification and in notary log or journal that the notarial act was performed for a remotely located individual using communications technology
  • May not charge more than $4 for each remote online notarial act using communication technology, which is the same fee that may be charged when performing an in person notarial act

Notaries public can still perform notarial acts in person during the state of emergency but should use their best judgment on whether the notarial act is considered essential and abide by social distancing, Centers for Disease Control, and Prevention and Maryland Department of Health guidance in the conduct of any essential notarial services. Additional guidance for performing in-person notarization amid this current public health crisis can be found here: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2020/03/notaries-precautions-coronavirus.

 

Historic St. Mary’s City to remain closed

The well-being of staff and guests is the top priority of Historic St. Mary’s City. The museum will continue to closely monitor the evolving recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Maryland Governor’s Office, and the Maryland Department of Health as we all learn of community spread of the coronavirus disease in locations throughout the US.

At this time, HSMC has canceled all programs scheduled through the end of April. The Visitor Center, Shop at Farthings Ordinary, and outdoor exhibits are closed until further notice. Check HSMCdigsHistory.org or our Facebook page @HistoricStMarysCity for up-to-date information regarding hours of operation or further cancellations.

 

ICYMI 

MARCH 31 UPDATES

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued a stay-at-home order Monday. Residents should only leave their homes for trips that are considered essential. It went into effect at 8 pm March 30. View his remarks here.

What does that mean for you? Details of the stay-at-home order can be found here.

St. Mary’s Park Use Limited

St. Mary’s County government-owned and -operated parks are operating with additional limitations in response to the COVID-19 stay-at-home order issued by Gov. Larry Hogan.

Waterfront parks, including Elms Beach, Myrtle Point, and Snow Hill Park, remain closed to the public.

Public landings, including boat ramps, piers, and gathering spaces are closed to the public. An exception is made allowing commercial waterman with valid licenses to use the public landings. Recreational boating is not permitted under the governor’s order.

All other St. Mary’s County government-owned and -operated parks are open under the following specific safety guidelines: exercise activities such as walking, hiking, running, or biking while adhering to recommended 6-foot social distancing measures are permitted. All sports and activities which engage in bodily contact such as basketball, soccer, football is not permitted. Gathering of groups are limited to no more than 10 people in any specific area of the park.

Park hours and operations are available at the Department of Recreation and Parks website.

For the list of all county government operations and COVID-19 resources, visit St. Mary’s County Government www.stmarysmd.com.

 

Free Senior Check-In Program Offered

The St. Mary’s County Department of Aging & Human Services is participating in a program through the Maryland Department of Aging called Maryland Senior Call Check.

The program is for seniors living alone to check on them daily. This free service will place an automated daily call to the participant at a regularly scheduled time. If the call is not picked up after three attempts, the service will call an alternate person on your behalf to check on you. If your alternate does not pick up or you do not have an alternate, the local authorities will be contacted to perform a wellness check.

The Maryland Department of Aging recommends all seniors use the program as a resource during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Senior Call Check phone lines are open 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday and from 9 am to 3 pm Saturday.

  • The verification and enrollment process can be completed within 24 hours Monday-Saturday.
  • MDoA will provide messages and updates regarding the COVID-19 outbreak.

Maryland is the first state in the country to start a free, opt-in, telephonic service to check on Maryland’s older residents across the state.

For more information, call 1-866-50-CHECK (1-866-502-0560) or register online.

 

St. Mary’s Government Announces COVID-19 Operational Changes March 31

The following changes and adjustments now apply to St. Mary’s County operations.

Department of Aging & Human Services

Home-delivered shelf-stable meals are now being delivered as a two-week supply.

Department of Public Works and Transportation

STS and paratransit (ADA & SSTAP) trips are limited to essential activities. Some essential activities include grocery shopping, obtaining food for animals, travel to care for family members, and travel to an educational institution for purposes of receiving meals or instructional materials for distance learning.

ADA and SSTAP paratransit service will continue to book and provide medical trips such as dialysis, chemotherapy, hospitals, clinics, mental health facilities as well as trips to pharmacies and grocery stores.

Please note, St. Mary’s County STS Bus System is operating under the Saturday schedule.

Saturday service schedule will be followed plus the supplemental schedule:

  • Rt. 3 Great Mills Route (Supplemental) Tulagi Place to Callaway and return every hour 6 am to 6 pm
  • Rt. 6 Northern Route -Every other odd hour 7 am to 5:45 pm
  • Rt. 7 Southern Route- Every other odd hour. 7 am to 5:45 pm
  • Rt. 11 Great Mills/California Route. Every hour 6 am to 6 pm
  • Rt. 12 Leonardtown Route. Every hour 6 am to 6 pm
  • Rt. 14 County Span Route-NB/SB Every other even hour 6 am to 6 pm
Sunday service
  • Rt. 11 Great Mills/California Route – 6 am to 9 pm
  • Rt. 12 Leonardtown – 6 am to 8 pm

For additional information, call the STS dispatcher at 301-475-4200, ext. 71120.

From the Sheriff’s Office: Telephone Reporting Available

As part of the statewide and national response to ongoing coronavirus concerns, Sheriff Tim Cameron has authorized Telephone Reporting for certain crimes. The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office encourages the public to utilize the telephone reporting system to minimize social contact.

Telephone reporting through the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office will be available by contacting our dispatch Monday through Friday from 10 am until 6 pm at 301-475-8008. The following crimes may be reported utilizing telephone reporting:

  • Malicious Destruction of Property/Vandalism
  • Burglary to Motor Vehicle/Attempted
  • Fraud
  • Harassment/Threat/Telephone Misuse
  • Single Vehicle Property Damage Accident/Deer Strike
  • Trespassing (Not in Progress)
  • Theft

Non-violent crimes may also be reported online at www.firstsheriff.com.

Violent crimes and other emergencies should be reported by calling 911.

Treasurer’s Office

The Treasurer’s Office is closed to the public. Call 301-475-4200, ext. 3300 for drop box instructions. Online payment options are available at www.stmarysmd.com/treasurer. Utilize MVA online tag renewal services. Liquor license renewals and senior tax credits should be mailed to St. Mary’s County Treasurer, P.O. Box 642, Leonardtown, MD 20650.

For a complete list of county government operations and COVID-19 resources, go to www.stmarysmd.com.

 

ICYMI 

MARCH 30 UPDATES

Twelve Total Cases of COVID-19 in St. Mary’s County

The St. Mary’s County Health Department has confirmed that two additional St. Mary’s County residents have tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

A man in his 30s whose method of exposure is still being determined

A woman in her 40s whose method of exposure is still being determined

SMCHD is currently conducting an investigation into potential exposure to other community members. News releases will no longer be issued announcing individual cases. The local case count will be updated daily on the coronavirus webpage.

 

St. Mary’s Health Department Reports Potential COVID-19 Public Exposure Risks

The St. Mary’s County Health Department has determined that a person confirmed to have the novel coronavirus disease may have come into contact with other community members.

The potential public exposure locations, dates, and times are as follows:

Weis Markets, 20995 Point Lookout Road, Callaway

  • Dates: March 12, 2020
  • Time ranges: 5:30 pm – 6 pm

Olive Garden Italian Restaurant (bar area), 45265 Abell House Lane, California

  • Date: March 14, 2020
  • Time range: 7 pm – 7:30 pm

BJ’s Wholesale, 44950 Worth Lane, California

  • Date: March 14, 2020
  • Time range: 10 a.m. – noon

CVS, 21676 Great Mills Road, Lexington Park

  • Date: March 14, 2020
  • Time range: 10 am – noon

Harris Teeter Marketplace, 44900 St Andrew’s Church Road, California

  • Date: March 14, 2020
  • Time range: 10 am – noon

Panera Bread, 45250 Worth Ave., California

  • Date: March 14, 2020
  • Time range: 10 am – noon

For more information about COVID-19, see the St. Mary’s County Health Department information site at www.smchd.org/coronavirus.

 

More Cases of COVID-19 in St. Mary’s; 2 at Veterans Home

STS Bus Service on Saturday Schedule

 

St. Mary’s County Government Announces COVID-19 Operational Changes

St. Mary’s County government is operating under the approved Pandemic Response Level 3. St. Mary’s County government offices are closed to the public. Essential county services will continue to be provided via phone at 301-475-4200, online, and through mail and drop off options.

There will be no congregate meals at Senior Activity Centers, but meals will be provided to New Towne Village and Cedar Lane Senior Living Communities.

St. Mary’s County Regional Airport is under normal operations, but the terminal is closed to the public. All food truck service at the airport has been suspended. Construction updates are available online.

Convenience Centers and Landfill

The six convenience centers and the St. Andrew’s Landfill will continue normal operations.

Museums

The St. Clement’s Island Museum and Piney Point Lighthouse and Museum are closed and Maryland Day 2020 events at the St. Clement’s Island are canceled.

Wicomico Shores Golf Course

Wicomico Shores Golf Course Pro Shop and Riverview Restaurant are closed to the public.

St. Mary’s County Libraries are closed through March 29, library programming and events are also canceled. Meeting rooms are closed. No fines will be levied during library closure period. The Friends of the Library Book Sale scheduled for March 26-29 is canceled.

College of Southern Maryland

The College of Southern Maryland campuses are closed to the public, except for employees and current students, until further notice. In addition, all spring sports are canceled for the remainder of the 2020 spring semester.

St. Mary’s County Metropolitan Commission

All Metropolitan Commission administrative lobbies and offices are closed to the public.

For more information, visit the St. Mary’s County government website.

 

Update on Student Meals Program

St. Mary’s County Public Schools will be offering breakfast, lunch, supper, and snack at four locations. Community members will drive up and receive all meals for the day conveniently packed in one grab-and-go bag for children 18 and younger.

There will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service. Meals will be provided at the sites and times as follows:

Until April 3, Monday-Friday, a drive-up lunch service will be provided free of charge at the locations listed below from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm.

  • Leonardtown Elementary School, 22885 Duke Street, Leonardtown
  • Greenview Knolls Elementary School, 45711 Military Lane, Great Mills
  • Margaret Brent Middle School, 29675 Point Lookout Road, Mechanicsville
  • Lexington Park Elementary School, 46763 Shangri-La Drive, Lexington Park
Email questions to foodservices@smcps.org.

 

ICYMI

UPDATES AS OF MARCH 25

St. Mary’s Health Department Reports Potential COVID-19 Public Exposure Risks

The St. Mary’s County Health Department has determined that a person confirmed to have the novel coronavirus disease may have come into contact with other community members.

The potential public exposure locations, dates, and times are as follows:

  • Weis Markets, 20995 Point Lookout Rd, Callaway. Dates: March 12 and March 17, 2020
    Time ranges: 5:30 pm – 6 pm
  • Walmart Supercenter, 45485 Miramar Way, California. Date: March 16, 2020
    Time range: 10:15 pm – 10: 45 pm
  • Family Care Pharmacy, 46300 Lexington Village Way #104, Lexington Park. Date: March 17, 2020
    Time range: 2 pm – 2: 30 pm

For more information about COVID-19, please see the St. Mary’s County Health Department website.

 

Motor Vehicle Administration Info

Even though the Motor Vehicle Administration cannot assist customers with their transactions in person, there are still many ways to take care of MDOT MVA business using the eStore, 24-hour kiosk, or VEIP self-service kiosk. If you are eligible, many transactions including driver’s licenses, identification cards, vehicle registration renewals, change of address, insurance compliance payments, and information on flag fees are available online. Be aware that due to staffing limitations, some services may take longer to process than usual.

For customers unable to take care of transactions online, the state has extended the expiration dates of all driver’s and business licenses, identification cards, permits, and registrations that expire or are eligible for renewal beginning March 12. If you currently hold one of these products, know it will not expire until the 30th day after the state of emergency has been lifted.

 

Call for Donations: Supplies for Long Term COVID-19 Preparedness

The St. Mary’s County Health Department and St. Mary’s County government are collecting the following unopened medical supply items:

  • Universal Viral Mediums
  • Nasopharyngeal swabs
  • Facemasks (handmade masks may also be accepted – pattern and information here)
  • Nonsterile disposable patient examination gloves, latex-free, all sizes
  • Nonsterile disposable isolation gowns
  • Surgical gowns (ANSI/AAMI PB70 Levels 1-4)
  • International gowns and coveralls
  • Single use or reusable face shields
  • Powered air purifying respirators (PAPRs) or full-face elastomeric respirators
  • Medical eye shields and reusable goggles
  • N95 respirator, including surgical N95 respirators
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60-95% alcohol
  • Protective suits such as Tyvek suits
  • Non-Contact Infrared Thermometers

Local medical providers, dental providers or community members who have these items and would like to donate them for local reserve may do so by contacting the St. Mary’s County Department of Emergency Services, Monday through Friday from 8 am – noon at 301-475-4200, ext. 72120 to arrange a drop off time and location.

Community members, including any health care professionals, who want to volunteer to assist with the COVID-19 response should register through the Medical Reserve Corps Network – Road to Readiness initiative.

For more ways that Marylanders can help, visit the Maryland Unites webpage.

 

ICYMI:

MARCH 24 UPDATES

Financial Assistance Available Through State, Federal Government for Businesses Impacted by COVID-19

Maryland has announced new programs to assist small businesses.  These new efforts are aimed at providing relief and helping businesses during these challenging times. Maryland-based business impacted by the coronavirus with under 50 full- and part-time employees, or Maryland manufacturers, are encouraged to research these programs for qualifying guidance:

  • Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Loan Fund – This $75 million loan fund (for-profit businesses only) offers no interest or principal payments due for the first 12 months, then converts to a 36-month term loan of principal and interest payments, with an interest rate at 2% per annum. Learn more.
  • Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Fund – This $50 million grant program for businesses and nonprofits offers grant amounts up to $10,000, not to exceed three months of demonstrated cash operating expenses for the first quarter of 2020. Learn more.
  • Maryland COVID-19 Emergency Relief Manufacturing Fund – This $5 million incentive program helps Maryland manufacturers to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) that is urgently needed by hospitals and health care workers across the country. More details are expected to be announced by Friday, March 27.

The Maryland Department of Labor is now accepting grant applications for the COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund, which can provide funds to help businesses with 500 or fewer employees purchasing remote access equipment and software to allow employees to work from home, provide on-site cleaning and sanitation services or other creative strategies to mitigate potential layoffs or closures. The award (up to $50,000 per applicant), will be a quick deployable benefit and customizable to the specific needs of your business to minimize the need for layoffs. To see details or apply, visit this website. If you have any questions, email LaborCOVID19.layoffaversion@maryland.gov.

Also, as of March 19, the entire state of Maryland received the official designation for Small Business Administration assistance. Individual businesses can now apply directly to the SBA for low-interest loans through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. Visit SBA’s website to apply.

Regarding employees who are laid off: Laid-off employees will qualify for unemployment benefits if the coronavirus causes an employer to shut down operations or cut back on operations.  Maryland unemployment benefits are available to individuals who are unemployed through no fault of their own if they meet the monetary criteria and the weekly eligibility criteria:  Maryland Department of Labor FAQ about COVID-19 and Maryland’s Unemployment for Businesses and Employees:  http://labor.maryland.gov/employment/uicovidfaqs.shtml

Remember that most restaurants in the county are now offering takeout service. Please consider patronizing these establishments to help them keep revenue coming in. You can visit the Facebook group Southern Maryland Is Hungry for information about local establishments.

 

Animal Control Operations COVID-19 Precautions

Effective March 23, 2020, St. Mary’s County Animal Control officers will limit direct interactions with the public and will only respond to the following:

  • Imminent public safety
  • Request from law enforcement/Fire/EMS assistance
  • Injured domestic stray animals
  • Cruelty and neglect complaints

Animal Control will continue to take calls for service and will utilize email and phone services to take reports, follow-up statements, and inquires.

For information, call 301-475-8018 or go to the Animal Control website.

 

Metropolitan Commission Operational Status

In an effort to help prevent the further spread of COVID-19, protect the health and safety of our employees, customers, and the citizens, the St. Mary’s County Metropolitan Commission would like the public to be aware of the following additional measures being implemented:

  • As a part of the phased scaling back of operations, effective March 23, 2020, construction inspection, plan/plat review services, and non-emergency Miss Utility locates will be discontinued until further notice.
  • Unless determined to be mission critical, all capital construction projects will be handled under a force majeure event and work may be suspended.
  • Septage hauling operations at Marlay Taylor Water Reclamation Facility will be discontinued at noon, daily. In the event of an emergency, haulers may contact 240-298-4451.
  • It will maintain all its core critical functions at treatment and water distribution facilities, labs and in field maintenance operations, with social gathering and distancing protocols. Field professionals remain available and are always on stand-by to address emergencies 24/7. For emergencies, call 301-737-7400.

Additionally, during the shortage of resources prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to remember that many materials that may be flushed or poured down the toilet or sink drain can harm the pipes that connect to sewers as well as the wastewater treatment facilities.

The only things which should ever be flushed a toilet are human waste (urine and feces) and toilet paper. Even though some products such as wipes and baby diapers claim to be flushable, they are not. Here is a helpful reminder list of things to keep out of the toilet: disposable diapers, tampons and tampon applicators, sanitary napkins, cotton balls and swabs, mini or maxi pads, condoms, cleaning wipes of any kind, facial tissue, dental floss, bandages and bandage wrappings, automotive fluids, paint, solvents, sealants and thinners, poisons and hazardous waste, pet waste, etc.  Remember the three Ps – poo, pee and paper are the only flushable items.

 

MARCH 23 UPDATES

IRS Filing Date Has Been Extended

St. Mary’s Reports 1st Case

STS System Reducing Some Bus Services

 

St. Mary’s Drive-Thru Testing Resumes 

Drive-thru testing for COVID-19 at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital in Leonardtown will resume March 23, from noon to 4 pm in front of the Outpatient Pavilion.

Individuals who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms (including cough, fever, and shortness of breath) should call their primary health care provider or call ahead to a local urgent care or the hospital’s Emergency Department. Anyone who is experiencing a medical emergency, should call 9-1-1.

Community members may call the COVID-19 hotline at 301-475-4911 Monday-Saturday from 8 am-5 pm for COVID-19 information. Health department nurses are available through the hotline to discuss concerns and assist in coordinating testing for those who do not have a primary care provider.

Once drive-thru testing resumes, in order to be tested, individuals must:

  • Be a St. Mary’s County resident
  • Have a prescription for testing from a primary care provider or the St. Mary’s County Health Department
  • Present a valid photo ID
  • Remain in their vehicle and an associate will come out to them
  • Please only consider testing if you have symptoms and think you may have been exposed to COVID-19

Test results are not immediate; results may take up to seven days to become available. Individuals tested will receive a follow-up call from the physician that wrote the order/prescription for their testing (their primary care provider or the health department). In the meantime, anyone with symptoms and concern for COVID-19 awaiting test results should stay at home and avoid close contact with others. If you need medical attention call ahead.

Community members, health care providers, and local business owners are encouraged to visit the St. Mary’s County Health Department’s website for local COVID-19 updates and information at www.smchd.org/coronavirus.

 

St. Mary’s COVID-19 Community Hotline Offers Language Interpretation Services
Centro de llamadas comunitarias COVID-19 del condado de St. Mary Ofrece Servicios de Interpretación

A COVID-19 Community Hotline has been opened in St. Mary’s County to provide information about the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Live interpretation services are available for those who speak Spanish, Monday – Friday from 8 am – 4 pm. Language line interpretation services are available during all hotline operational hours for Spanish and other languages, including Punjabi, French, Arabic, Mandarin, Neali and more. Community members can call the center Monday – Saturday from 8 am – 5 pm to speak with staff, obtain information about the disease, or get their questions answered at: 301-475-4911

Se abre un centro de llamadas comunitarias COVID-19 en el condado de St. Mary’s para proporcionar información sobre la nueva enfermedad coronavirus (COVID-19). Los servicios de interpretación en vivo están disponibles para aquellos que hablan español de lunes a viernes de 8:00 de la mañana hasta las 4:00 de la tarde. Los servicios de interpretación por teléfono en español mas otros idiomas, incluidos, punjabi, francés, árabe, mandarín, neali y más también serán disponibles durante las horas operativas del centro de llamadas comunitarias. Los miembros de la comunidad pueden llamar al centro de lunes a sábado de 8:00 a.m. a 5:00 p.m. para hablar con el personal, obtener información sobre la enfermedad y obtener respuestas a sus preguntas llame al: 301-475-4911

 

Sheriff’s Office Answers Questions Regarding Large Social Gatherings

The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office has received numerous inquiries about Gov. Larry Hogan’s order regarding gatherings of more than 10 people. The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office has listed some frequently asked questions and responses in this unprecedented situation. The sheriff’s office requests compliance with the governor’s order and your patience as we work through this difficult situation.

Question: I would like 11 friends to come to my house for a BBQ. Would this be legal?

According to guidance from the Maryland attorney general, Gov. Hogan’s executive order DOES apply to social gatherings at a private residence. A citizen holding a social gathering of more than 10 people could be criminally charged with violating the order.

Question: Are St. Mary’s County parks closed?

No, St. Mary’s County parks are not closed, however many facilities are. Organized activities have been canceled and gatherings of more than 10 people would violate the governor’s order. For example, a game of touch football or a basketball game involving more than 10 people would violate the law. Hiking in the park with your spouse, or fishing in a park with your child would not be a violation of the law at this time. For additional information, check the St. Mary’s County Recreation and Parks website at: https://www.stmarysmd.com/emergency/rpannounce.asp

 

MARCH 22 UPDATES

St. Mary’s County Government Cancels Most Meetings

St. Mary’s County Government has canceled or postponed all county board, commission and committee meetings, unless required by law due to the guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state’s executive order prohibiting large gatherings and events to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Meeting information and agendas are available here.

 

MARCH 20 UPDATES

From Joint Base Andrews

Five people who received care at Joint Base Andrews have tested positive for COVID-19:

  • One military retiree dependent is in self-quarantine at home in Charles County.
  • One military retiree dependent was admitted to another medical facility in the region. This person lives in Charles County.
  • One military retiree is in self-quarantine at home in Prince George’s County.
  • One military dependent is in self-quarantine at home in Charles County.
  • One Air National Guard member is in self-quarantine at home in Montgomery County.

 

From Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative

The company will temporarily close its customer service locations in Hughesville and Leonardtown as of March 20.

SMECO has a number of ways you can do business. Just use one of its quick and easy ways to pay your SMECO bill and perform routine tasks.

For more information on the steps SMECO is taking in response to this health crisis, visit smeco.coop/corona.

 

How to Access Department of Social Services

In an effort to minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and continue to provide services, access to DSS buildings will be restricted. The offices will continue to follow and maintain guidelines to ensure that staff and customers are protected.

DSS will provide services through phone calls to its customer care team at 240-895-7000.

To report child abuse or neglect, call 911 or 240-895-7016. Assistance with social services intake, call 240-895-7000.

Access services by using the following electronic resources:

Applications for Temporary Cash Assistance, TDAP, and/or SNAP can be submitted online at https://mydhrbenefits.dhr.state.md.us/dashboardClient/#/home. For additional information, call 240-895-7000 or 800-332-6347. All interviews will be conducted over the phone.

Applications for Home Energy Assistance can be submitted online at https://mydhrbenefits.dhr.state.md.us/dashboardClient/#/home. For information, call 301-274-4474 ext. 200.

Applications for medical assistance and health insurance can be submitted at https://www.marylandhealthconnection.gov/.

Applications for long-term care medical assistance can be submitted at https://mymdthink.maryland.gov/home/#/home.

Applications for child support may be submitted at http://dhs.maryland.gov/child-support-services/apply-for-support-services/. For information, call 1-800-332-6347. To make payments by phone, call 1-844-324-3855.

Additional DSS resources:

  • DHS Call Center – 800-332-6347
  • EBT Customer Service – 800-997-2222
  • Fraud Hotline – 877-372-8311
  • COVID-19 Information – 301-475-4911
  • COVID-19 Testing Information – 301-475-6142

 

MARCH 19 UPDATES

Gov. Larry Hogan announced the first COVID-19 death in Maryland, a Prince George’s County resident in his 60s who suffered from an underlying medical condition.

At a news conference, Gov. Hogan said the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Maryland has gone up to 107, an 88% increase over the past 48 hours. Among those testing positive is a 5-year-old girl in Howard County, the first report of a child contracting the virus in Maryland.

There are two reported cases in Charles County and one in Calvert County.

Go to the Maryland Department of Health at https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/.

 

St. Mary’s County Homelessness Prevention Board reported these updates and status regarding COVID-19 as it relates to homeless services.

The Department of Social Services is not taking walk-in business. People seeking services should call 240-895-7000.

Three Oaks Center is open with limited on-site staff for shelter services. All other staff are working from home and addressing Rapid Re-housing, Medical Respite, Permanent Supportive Housing and Veteran programs.

St. Mary’s Housing Authority is closed to walk-in traffic. They are working and appointments can be made by calling 301-866-6590. Property inspections have been suspended until further notice.

St. Mary’s Caring Soup Kitchen is providing bag/boxed meals for pick-up. There is currently no dining.

St. Mary’s County Public Schools (Greenview Knolls, Leonardtown Elementary, Lexington Park Elementary, Margaret Brent Middle) is providing breakfast, lunch, snack, and supper for pick-up from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm.

Food pantries are open on a limited basis.

  • First Saints closed until March 28
  • St. Cecelia’s closed until further notice
  • Trinity Lutheran open Tuesdays 6-7:30 pm
  • Lexington Park Baptist open Wednesday 1-3:30 pm until further notice
  • Church of the Ascension Outdoor Food Pantry is open Monday- Thursday from 9 am-noon and also from 3-6pm
  • St. Mary’s County libraries at Lexington Park and Charlotte Hall “Little Pantries” are fully stocked and available to anyone in need.

Emergency Management, Three Oaks Center, DSS, and the St. Mary’s County Health Department are working on plans to house homeless individuals who may become infected in a quarantined recovery unit.

 

Circuit Court for St. Mary’s County Restrictions on Accessing Courthouse

The Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals has issued an order suspending non-essential judicial activities in Maryland’s courts, and March 16 restricted courts to emergency operations.

The following may not enter the Circuit Court premises, without prior permission of the administrative judge:

  • Persons who have been to any of the following locations within the last 14 days: state of Washington; New Rochelle, New York; China; South Korea; Japan; Italy; Iran; Egypt; Europe; or any other region or country for which the CDC has issued a level 3 Travel Health Notice.
  • Persons who reside or have had close contact with someone who has been in one of the countries listed above within the last 14 days.
  • Persons who have been asked to self-quarantine or self-isolate by any doctor, hospital, or health agency.
  • Persons who have been diagnosed with, or have had contact with, anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • Persons who are experiencing any acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath), flu-like symptoms, have a fever, or are coughing or sneezing.

Those scheduled or required to appear in the Circuit Court for St. Mary’s County, who are unable to appear because of the restrictions in the order, you are directed to proceed as follows:

If you are represented by an attorney, please contact your attorney.

If you are an attorney or are unrepresented and you are scheduled to appear in court before a judge, call 301-475-7844, ext. 74101.

 

From Historic Sotterley

Historic Sotterley’s grounds remain open for those “practicing social distancing while getting fresh air” — 10 am-4 pm Monday-Saturday and noon-4 pm Sunday.

However, the indoor exhibits and restrooms are closed.

 

MedStar Health Rescheduling All Elective Procedures Starting March 19

MedStar Health is committed to delivering the highest quality and safe care for its patients during the coronavirus pandemic.

“As we all experience this together, we are also committed to the safety of our physicians, nurses, and associates. The community spread of COVID-19 requires that we take unprecedented measures to ensure these goals. With these important priorities in mind, starting Thursday, March 19, we are postponing all elective procedures and surgeries across MedStar Health,” reads a MedStar news release. “This decision was made after thoughtful consideration and planning, balancing how we best use our resources to meet the needs of our patients while mitigating risk to our patients, associates and families. Our department leaders and our physicians will make case-by-case decisions using the specific clinical circumstances of each of our patients. We will be reaching out to our patients in the event their care will be affected.”

Click here for more information.

 

From The Newtowne Players

The Newtowne Players will cancel its spring production “Almost, Maine” by John Cariani. Due to the tight schedule of shows between now and the end of its 2019-2020 season, the show will not be rescheduled.

“We are heartbroken that we cannot share the work of our actors, production team, and volunteers with the public but must first be good stewards of the resources we have, namely our people. At this time we do not know how this closure will affect our upcoming production of ‘A Night On Broadway,’ but will share additional information with our members and patrons as it becomes available,” reads a notice on the group’s website.

“We are relaxing our exchange and refund policy until further notice. All patrons who have already purchased tickets to “Almost, Maine” will be contacted by a member of our front of house staff and will be allowed to transfer their tickets to one of the remaining shows in the season or receive a full refund of the ticket price. Please be patient as we have a lot of calls to make. We anticipate that this process will be complete by Sunday, March 22,” the statement continues.

 

From The Cove/DFZ

Status report from The Cove/DFZ adolescent clubhouse program.  (Please note that all Walden inpatient and outpatient treatment programs for adults are continuing to operate with recommended precautions.)

Like other community-based adolescent clubhouses throughout the state, The Cove team understands that safe places for youth are limited. As a result, it is taking the following measures for safety:

  • The Cove/DFZ has been limiting services to youth already enrolled only. It is temporarily not taking new youth referrals. Inactive youth are receiving tele-outreach.
  • The Cove/DFZ is screening youth daily who want to use the program for risk factors and signs/symptoms of being sick.
  • Daily youth participants are limited to restrict the number of people grouped together to 10 or less (staff and youth). Youth will receive services in The Cove and as a back up at Beacon of Hope facility (if needed).
  • Youth are being included and educated in safety and cleaning practices to pass on to homes.
  • The Cove/DFZ is serving meals on site to enrolled youth with safety precautions of self-food service. The team is also reaching out to provide to youth attending, or youth not attending via delivery/drop off, needed food and toiletries to youth and families.

Special Enrollment Period for Marylanders Without Health Insurance

The Maryland Health Connection has opened up a special enrollment period for anyone who does not have health insurance to get it until April 15 as a result of the coronavirus. Click here for the details.

 

Pax Commissary and NEX Remain Open

The operating environment inside the COVID-19 response continues to evolve, but the Pax Commissary and Navy Exchange remain open and committed to serving their customers at Pax River.

The Pax River Navy Exchange will maintain normal business hours until further notice. Food operators are open, but for take out only.
Two food operators are temporarily modifying their hours. The new hours are:

Seawings Café (Building 2272) Cafeteria 7 am to 1 pm

Starbucks 7 am to 10:30 am

Subway Monday-Friday 8 am to 5 pm; Saturday-Sunday 10 am to 3 pm

Pax Commissary Update:

Effective March 18, Pax River Commissary will begin 100% ID card checks at the entrance of the store and the visitor policy will be revoked.

Effective March 19, “early bird” shopping hours will be removed.

Commissary hours: Monday closed. Tuesday-Friday 9 am to 7 pm. Saturday 9 am to 6 pm. Sunday 10 am to 6 pm

Customers with questions or concerns about the Pax River Navy Exchange can call 301-342-0606; those with questions or concerns about the Pax River Commissary can call 301-342-3789/3630.

 

MARCH 18 UPDATES

St. Mary’s Caring Soup Kitchen

Meals will be handed out, one per person, between 10:30 am and 1 pm Monday-Saturday at the St. Mary’s Caring Soup Kitchen at 20850 Langley Road in Lexington Park. People will be required to leave the property upon receiving their food and will not be allowed to congregate on the grounds for personal safety reasons. The soup kitchen will alternate between hot meals and cold sandwiches.

The soup kitchen needs bottled water, fruit cups, puddings, granola bars, chips, to-go containers with lids for soup, individual condiment packets, and individual desserts. Drop-off times are 8:30 am to 1:30 pm Monday-Saturday.

If there are other agencies or citizens that are providing feeding service, contact the Kelsey Bush at 301-475-4200, ext. 71848 or kelsey.bush@stmarysmd.com.

 

Operational Changes at Health Department

Effective immediately, the St. Mary’s County Health Department buildings, including the main office and harm reduction satellite office, will be closed to public access until further notice.

The following services will continue to operate, though no walk-in service will be available:

  • Emergency Preparedness & Response
  • Infectious Disease Control
  • Environmental Health Services (e.g., perc tests, community health complaints, food safety inspections, septic, rabies, etc.)
  • Medicaid eligibility and enrollment
  • Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Nutritional Program
  • Vital Records (online only)
  • Nurse Monitoring & Care Coordination for Seniors & Individuals with Disabilities
  • Behavioral Health Care Coordination & System Management
  • Epidemiology

The following programs will be suspended until further notice:

  • Harm Reduction Program
  • Health Clinic
  • Local Health Improvement Coalition, Healthy St. Mary’s Partnership
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Program
  • Administrative Care Coordination Unit
  • Behavioral Health Prevention Programs
  • Primary Care Collaborative
  • Cancer Screening Programs
  • Asthma & Lead Programs
  • Tobacco Control Programs
  • School Wellness

For questions, call 301-475-4330 or visit its website. Environmental Health calls should be directed to 301-475-4321.

Community members, health care providers, and local business owners are encouraged to visit the St. Mary’s County Health Department’s website for local COVID-19 updates and information here.

 

St. Mary’s County Library Expands Access to Digital Materials and Online Resources

The St. Mary’s County Library offers an option for all citizens to sign up for a free Library Card through the St. Mary’s County Library website, www.stmalib.org.

Simply click on “Get a Library Card” under “Library Services” on the homepage. When you apply online, you will receive a temporary Library Card number that can be used to access the Library’s online resources and digital materials which include thousands of ebooks, eaudiobooks, emagazines, downloadable movies, TV shows, music, and more.

The library has extended all temporary cards to be valid for 90 days. Once the library is open again, you can come in to verify your address and receive your permanent physical library card.

Browse thousands of digital items available for free without ever leaving your home. Find easy to use instructions on accessing items on the library website “Read, Listen, Watch.”

 

MARCH 17 UPDATES

Circuit Court for St. Mary’s is Open for Business March 17-April 3 on Restricted Operations subject to the following information:

Pursuant to Chief Judge Barbera’s order of March 16 restricting the operations of the Maryland Judiciary due to the COVID-19 emergency, the following information is provided.

In accord with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control, and the further escalation of the emergency requiring more comprehensive measures to protect the health and safety of Maryland residents and judiciary personnel. This court will be operating on a restrictive basis pursuant to the order of March 16, seeking to limit the level, duration, and quality of contact among people who frequent the Circuit Court for St. Mary’s County.

To that end, all persons who enter the Circuit Courthouse are encouraged to practice good hygiene, by frequently washing their hands, keeping an appropriate distance from others and — in the case of employees — keeping workstations, keyboards, and phones clean. Commonly used surfaces in the Circuit Courthouse, including the areas around doors and elevators, are cleaned by county crews.

The concept of “social distancing” in the Circuit Courthouse is encouraged, but normal human interaction is inevitable. Thus, all courthouse users should be prudent and exercise good judgment during those interactions.

As a result of the decision to restrict operations having occurred after business hours concluded March 16, Administrative Judge Stamm will be meeting with court officials in an effort to streamline procedures going forward. For now, however, please note the following:

Pursuant to the March 16 order, only those proceedings designated as urgent mandatory matter will be proceeding on and after March 17 until April 3, 2020, or further order of court. These matters shall be scheduled or heard in person or remotely pursuant to the Administrative Order on Remote Electronic Participation in Judicial Proceeding.

The following is a listing of said mandatory matters per said Order;

  • Bail reviews
  • Arraignments for detained defendants
  • Juvenile detention hearings
  • Emergency delinquency
  • Quarantine and isolation petitions
  • Extradition cases
  • Body attachments
  • Extreme risk protective order appeals

As for the above urgent mandatory matters, if not done remotely only the parties, attorneys, and testifying witnesses are permitted to attend those trials, motions or hearings, with no exceptions, unless permission is expressly granted by the administrative judge to do so.

For all other emergency matters including those listed below, the administrative judge or his or her designee shall review the petition, determine whether it must be heard in person, or can be heard with remote electronic participation, or can be scheduled after the emergency period has ended, or can be resolved without a hearing:

  • shelter care hearings and/or related adjudications
  • emergency delinquency hearings
  • emergency Habeas Corpus petitions
  • emergency issues in guardianship matters
  • domestic violence protective orders
  • appeals from peace orders
  • family law emergencies
  • temporary restraining orders
  • criminal competency matters
  • Motions regarding: extreme risk protective orders, domestic violence protective orders, peace orders
  • contempt hearings related to peace or protective orders
  • matters involving locally incarcerated defendants;

Requests for initial or temporary Domestic Violence Orders are to be filed and heard by the Court Commissioner located at the St. Mary’s County Detention Center.

All remaining emergency non-mandatory matters, including both civil and criminal jury and civil trials, motions or hearings scheduled to commence on or after March 16, before any judge or magistrate, shall be re-scheduled. If you are currently scheduled for a matter not on the mandatory list your case is postponed this week and will be rescheduled to a later date. Case management will be contacting by phone litigants scheduled the week of March 16 and after this week by either MDEC or mailings of your new dates.

The March 16 order does not affect the courts’ consideration or resolution of matters that can be addressed without a proceeding that involves testimony or argument;

The clerks’ office will not be interacting with members of the public or attorneys, except by telephone. All court filings and land recordings shall be mailed or placed in the court’s after-hours drop box, located by the main entrance of the courthouse, with no exceptions.

Other than judges, designated essential employees of the courthouse, Register of Wills office, and State’s Attorney’s Office, the only persons who may access the Circuit Court are litigants, attorneys, or testifying witnesses in a case scheduled for hearing on a particular day; Public Defenders; probation agents; St. Mary’s County Office of Child Support; Pretrial Services employees; Department of Juvenile Justice employees; the St. Mary’s County Attorneys and Department of Health and Human Services employees. Any other user of the courthouse who frequently appears on behalf of a government agency who is not on the list above should contact the administrative judge.

The law library, Self-Help Center, Pro Bono/Self Help Clinic, notary services, any classes offered or attended in the Circuit Courthouse, and Lawyer Referral Service will continue to be closed to the public, except that attorneys or litigants who are in court for hearing or trial may use the library on the day of their hearing or trial.

 

Healthy St. Mary’s Partnership

All Healthy St. Mary’s Partnership in-person action team meetings have been canceled. Community members, health care providers, and local business owners are encouraged to visit the SMCHD website for COVID-19 information and updates at www.smchd.org/coronavirus.

St. Mary’s Caring Soup Kitchen

The St. Mary’s Caring Soup Kitchen is committed to providing meals. One take-and-go bagged meal per person will be distributed at the soup kitchen between 10:30 am-1 pm each day. No eating will be allowed on the property. Everyone will be required to exit the premises as soon as they receive their food.

St. Mary’s Caring Soup Kitchen is at 20850 Langley Road in Lexington Park, on the grounds of Good Samaritan Lutheran Church, directly across from Fair Lead Academy.

Historic St. Mary’s City 

All Historic St. Mary’s City events and programs also are canceled. Historic St. Mary’s City walking trails remain open.

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