COVID-19 Update from County Executive Barry Glassman

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New COVID-19 Webpage for Harford County

County Executive Barry Glassman has issued the following weekly update on COVID-19 in Harford County.

“As expected, COVID-19 continues to impact our community. Public health officials have reported a total of 41 positive cases among Harford County residents as of this morning. This compares to 19 cases at this time a week ago.

Harford County cases range from people in their 20s to their 60s and beyond. The vast majority are isolating at home, and some have been released from isolation. Nonetheless, public health officials believe the peak in cases is at least two weeks away if not longer, and cases across Maryland have been doubling every three days since mid-March. Sadly, 42 have died. 

New guidance on exposure risk

At the federal level, the CDC on Monday issued guidance that changed the period of exposure risk from the “onset of symptoms” to 48 hours before the onset. In other words, the virus can be spread by someone before they even know they’re sick. This underscores why we must continue to act as if everyone could be infected and practice social distancing and precautions such as handwashing for at least 20 seconds. If taken seriously, these actions will slow the spread and avoid overwhelming our healthcare system, and they will save lives.

My administration is working daily with the Harford County Health Department and other partners to prepare for a surge in local demand for healthcare system capacity, including ICU beds, ventilators and alternative care sites, and for personal protective equipment (PPE).

Stay-at-home orders

As you are no doubt aware, Gov. Hogan issued stay-at-home orders and interpretive guidance this week for all Marylanders.  We know that the vast majority of COVID-19 cases recover, but we must work together to protect individuals of all ages with underlying health conditions and those over 60, who are our most vulnerable populations.  I continue to monitor our nursing homes and other senior facilities, and I am working closely with our health department to provide the latest guidance and assist them with preparations.

Testing

The Maryland Department of Health this week announced COVID-19 test sites at Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program (VEIP) locations including Bel Air. The site will be operated by University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health, in partnership with the Harford County Health Department. Remember that to be tested, you must meet certain criteria, receive an order from a healthcare provider and make an appointment.

Keeping up with the news

To help you navigate the news on COVID-19, some of which has been changing daily, we have a new webpage that brings together information about the virus in Harford County. This includes the governor’s directives and interpretations, previously announced adjustments to county government procedures, the latest public health information, resources for businesses, employees and seniors, unemployment information, food assistance, support for recovery and mental wellness, and how you can help. Mark this page where you will also find an archive of my weekly updates https://www.harfordcountymd.gov/2823/COVID-19-Resources.

My administration is also here to answer your questions about COVID-19.  Contact us at citizensaffairs@harfordcountymd.gov or 410-638-3420 and we will connect you with accurate information to keep you and your family safe.

What you can do

Continue disinfecting surfaces to fight COVID-19, but our Water & Sewer Division asks that you avoid flushing disposable wipes and paper towels down the toilet. These items raise the risk of sewer main backups and sewage overflows. Please place them in the trash. 

Now more than ever it’s also important to answer the 2020 Census. The census determines how billions of dollars in federal funding will be spent and helps inform emergency and public health planning, such as how many vaccines to send to an area. It only takes a few minutes to go to www.my2020Census.gov and make sure everyone counts in Harford County.

In closing, I want to recognize those who are working through this crisis – the first responders, healthcare workers and essential employees in county government and the private sector who are on the front lines.  Thanks and be safe.”