UPDATE: All activities at Baltimore County senior centers have been suspended effective immediately. Activities organized by Baltimore County Recreation and Parks have been cancelled. This article has been updated with other additions as released by Baltimore County officials.
Original story below…
TOWSON, MD—Baltimore County officials held a press conference on Thursday morning to address the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and to outline measures being taken in response to Baltimore County’s first confirmed case of COVID-19.
County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced that the three remaining 2020 budget town hall meetings that had been scheduled for March 18, March 24, and March 31 have been postponed.
“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.”
In addition, the county has established a COVID-19 hotline that residents can call with any questions or concerns. The phone number is 410-887-3816.
Baltimore County Public Schools superintendent Dr. Darryl Williams announced that all BCPS public assemblies and “large events” have also been postponed. Further details will be announced soon.
The Baltimore County Department of Health and the Maryland Department of Health are closely monitoring the rapidly changing coronavirus situation, both in the U.S. and China. Marylanders are encouraged to wash their thoroughly, covering coughs, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, and staying home from work or school if they are not feeling well.
Baltimore 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.
The full news conference can be viewed below.