March 31, 2020

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Hogan Issues Stay-at-Home Order -

Monday, March 30, 2020

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

Sunday, March 29, 2020

DNR Accepting Entries in Photo Contest -

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Newtowne Players Cancel Next Production -

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

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March 18 Coronavirus Updates for St. Mary’s

Coronavirus Case

March 21 Update: St. Mary’s County Reports First Coronavirus Case

Find March 20 updates here.

Find March 19 updates here.

The following are updated news releases and announcements related to the coronavirus pandemic. While at this time, there are no identified cases of COVID-19 in St. Mary’s County, residents are encouraged to continue social distancing measures by avoiding crowded areas and restricting travel and localized movement.

Update on Meals Program; Locations for Pickup Added

With increased flexibility to the guideline of the Summer 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 younger.

St. Mary’s County Public Schools Department of Food and Nutrition Services is offering meals to students through the Summer Meals Program. Acceptance and participation requirements for the program and all activities are the same for all regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. There will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service. Meals will be provided at the sites and times as follows:

Until March 27, 2020, Monday through Friday, a drive-up lunch service will be provided at the locations listed below from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm.

Leonardtown Elementary School
22885 Duke Street
Leonardtown, MD 20650

Greenview Knolls Elementary School
45711 Military Lane
Great Mills, MD 20634

Margaret Brent Middle School
29675 Point Lookout Road
Mechanicsville, MD 20659

Lexington Park Elementary School
46763 Shangri-La Drive
Lexington Park, MD 20653

Email questions to foodservices@smcps.org.

St. Mary’s Caring Soup Kitchen

Meals will be handed out, one per person, between 10:30 am and 1 pm Monday through Saturday at the St. Mary’s Caring Soup Kitchen at 20850 Langley Road in Lexington Park. People will be required to leave the property immediately 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 through Saturday.

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

 

Testing Available at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital

MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital and the St. Mary’s County Health Department are working together to provide necessary testing to residents with symptoms of the coronavirus.

Individuals who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms (including cough, fever, and shortness of breath) should:

  • Contact their primary care provider and make an appointment to be screened. Your primary care provider will evaluate you and determine if you should be tested. If you meet the criteria for testing, your provider will write a prescription for testing.
  • If you do not have a primary care provider and are experiencing symptoms, call the hotline at 301-475-4911. The health department will have nurses available to discuss concerns and assist in coordinating testing if you need it.
  • If you have trouble breathing or are experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 or call ahead to the emergency department to be evaluated in person.

People who do not have symptoms of cough, shortness of breath, or fever should not be tested for COVID-19 — the test will not work and may give false security.

Please only consider testing if you have symptoms and think you may have been exposed to COVID-19.

If you have a prescription for testing and a valid photo ID:

MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital is offering drive-thru testing outside the Outpatient Pavilion entrance at the rear of the hospital. Testing will be offered between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Please call 301-475-6142 for more information or current wait times. Residents should remain in their vehicle and a staff member will come out to administer the test. 

To be tested for coronavirus, you must present a prescription from a medical provider or the health department. If you have a high fever and cough, you may come to the Emergency Department where you will be screened to determine if you meet the criteria for testing.

Please note: Test results are not immediate; results may take up to four days to become available. You will receive a follow-up call from your primary care provider or the health department.

In the meantime, anyone with symptoms and concern for COVID-19 should stay at home, avoid close contact with others, and do not use public transportation, taxis, or ride-share services. Wear a facemask if you have one. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Cover your cough with a tissue. If you need medical attention, call ahead.

 

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.

“This action allows us to promote social distancing measures and to redirect our public health workforce to focus on COVID-19 emergency preparedness and response,” said Dr. Meena Brewster, St. Mary’s County health officer. “Essential services needed for the immediate protection of public health will continue, but walk-in services will no longer be available.”

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 about SMCHD programs and services, please 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

St. Mary’s County Government Operations
All St. Mary’s County government administrative offices are open for regular operations until further notice.
All St. Mary’s County government meeting spaces are closed through March 27.

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, 2020, 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, 2020 seeking to limit the level, duration and quality of contact among persons 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 on 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, 2020 Administrative Order, only those proceedings designated as urgent mandatory matter will be proceeding on and after March 17, 2020, 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 Administrative 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.

St. Mary’s County Public Schools

St. Mary’s County Public Schools closed through March 27. Students will return to school March 30, 2020.

Department of Aging & Human Services

All Senior Activity Centers (Garvey, Loffler, and Northern) are closed beginning until further notice. Senior Information & Assistance appointments will not be conducted in person. Individuals are encouraged to conduct business by phone or email, or to reschedule appointments for a time when Senior Activity Centers have reopened. All programs and activities are canceled. The Patrick Henry LIFE trip on March 20 and the Charles County Churches LIFE trip on March 26 are canceled.

Home-Delivered Meals will continue as regularly scheduled.

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
Department of Public Works and Transportation.

St. Mary’s Transit System will continue regular operations until further notice.

St. Mary’s County Regional Airport is open under normal operations.

Convenience Centers and Landfill

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

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 is open daily for golf from 8 am to 4 pm. The Riverview Restaurant is closed for food service and all events.

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

MetCom is open under normal operations.

Residents can call the COVID-19 Community Hotline at 301-475-4911 Monday-Saturday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. for information relating to COVID-19 or visit the following website for more information and updates www.smchd.org/coronavirus.

St. Mary’s County Government Boards, Committees, Commissions and Meetings Cancellations and Postponements

All St. Mary’s County government meeting spaces are closed through March 20. This includes, but is not limited to, the Commissioners Meeting Room in the Chesapeake Building and the Room 14 Conference Room in the Potomac Building.

The Airport Advisory Board Meeting scheduled for March 23 is canceled.

The St. Mary’s County Ethics Commission meeting scheduled for March 18 is canceled and will be rescheduled at a later date.

The YMCA Exploratory Committee meeting scheduled for March 19 is canceled and will be rescheduled for a later date.

The Census Complete Count Committee Meeting scheduled for March 19 is canceled.

The Commission on Aging Meeting scheduled for March 23 is canceled.

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

Healthy St. Mary’s Partnership

At this time, all Healthy St. Mary’s Partnership in-person action team meetings have been canceled.

HSMP feels it is crucial at this time to focus its attention on planning and preparedness efforts for COVID-19.

Community members, health care providers, and local business owners are encouraged to visit the SMCHD website for COVID-19 information and local updates at www.smchd.org/coronavirus.

St. Mary’s Caring Soup Kitchen

The St. Mary’s Caring Soup Kitchen is committed to providing meals for the food-insecure individuals in the community during the COVID-19 containment period.

It’s dining room closed starting Monday, March 16. One take-and-go bagged meal per person will be distributed at the soup kitchen between 10:30 am and 1 pm each day. For your safety, 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 until further notice.

Historic St. Mary’s City walking trails remain open.

St. Mary’s County Metropolitan Commission Partners with St. Mary’s County Health Department on Public Water Supply to Customers

The St. Mary’s County Metropolitan Commission and St. Mary’s County Health Department have partnered to ensure that public water supply is available to MetCom customers.

“Our primary concern at this time is the health and safety of our customers, the continued protection of the citizens of St. Mary’s County, and our desire to help create a safe and sanitary environment,” said George Erichsen, executive director of the Metropolitan Commission.

Effective immediately, and until further notice, and unless there is a water main break or other related emergency, the St. Mary’s County Metropolitan Commission will not be disconnecting water/sewer service to any customer who is delinquent in payment. In addition, for customers whose water had been previously disconnected, water supply will be temporarily restored. Customers should continue to pay their bills as they will ultimately be responsible for any charges and late fees incurred during this temporary turn-off moratorium.

“This is an important step in ensuring the availability of clean water to all of our residents in a time of public health emergency,” said Dr. Meena Brewster, St. Mary’s County health officer. “It is so critical for everyone to be able to wash their hands and prevent the spread of the new coronavirus disease, COVID-19 in our community.”

Statewide Restrictions Announced for Bars, Restaurants, Movie Theaters and Gyms Related to COVID-19

Gov. Larry Hogan announced at a news conference March 16 statewide restrictions on all bars, restaurants, movie theaters, and gyms. These businesses are closed as Maryland tries to slow the spread of novel coronavirus in the state. Some drive-throughs can remain open and carry-out and food delivery service will still be available. Grocery stores and pharmacies will also remain open. Hogan reiterated that these restrictions will be strictly enforced until further notice.

Local liquor stores, bars, and restaurants with questions relating to alcohol service should contact the Alcohol Beverage Board of St. Mary’s County by calling 301-475-4200, ext. 71600. Local grocery stores and retailers that are permitted to stay open are encouraged to consider implementing curb-side pickup or delivery services if possible.

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