March 13, 2020
Dear Friends,
As you may be aware, there have been an increasing number of cases of COVID-19 made known in Maryland over the last week and we continue to monitor as information is released. While there are no confirmed cases in Howard County, there is evidence of a community-spread case in Maryland at this time. This edition of the Ball Bulletin is dedicated to providing our community with updates on our mitigation measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, in our community and in Maryland.
Howard County Government has been actively working with our State and County health and emergency management partners on preparedness and mitigation. We are following the guidance of Governor Larry Hogan, who declared that Maryland is now in a State of Emergency. By making this declaration, the State and local governments are able to leverage federal assistance and other resources. We are aware that the individuals who contracted coronavirus by travel are now in isolation and community acquired cases are under investigation.
We remain in frequent communication with our Health Officer Dr. Maura Rossman and urge Howard County residents to follow the  Howard County Health Department Maryland Department of Health  and  CDC  social media channels for the latest information and resources.
For Howard County coronavirus resources and information, please visit . If you have any questions about COVID-19 (coronavirus), please contact the Coronavirus Information Line at 410-313-6284.
Please continue the guidance and prevention measures to contain and mitigate the virus as previously recommended.
Community Guidance
Today's Updates

Earlier today, in coordination with the Howard County Health Department, various Department heads, and our partners, we held an informative press conference to provide our community with updates regarding COVID-19 in our community. I want to reiterate, there are no cases in Howard County at this time. I encourage you to watch our press conference here for the most up to date information of the virus here in Howard County. 
Department of Community Resources and Services

The Department of Community Resources and Services is canceling all group programming, activities, and events for 50+ centers, including exercise programs. All Social Day programs are suspended. Effective Monday, March 16th, all 50+ Centers will be closed in accordance with guidance from the Governor through the duration of the Maryland State of Emergency.

Scheduled meal programs will be held at the following centers: Bain, Ellicott City, and North Laurel. Other food access options in additional DCRS locations are being coordinated. All home visits and center or facility-based visits are suspended. All in-person childcare training and certification classes or workshops have been suspended until further notice. When possible these possible will be delivered online.
Essential DCRS services will be available by appointment for residents who need consultation via phone or web, including The Maryland Access Line (MAP) 410-313-1234, State Health Insurance Counselors, Ombudsman Services, our Adult Guardianship Program, and for our children and families, our CARELINE – 410-313-2273.

For a comprehensive list of closures and cancellations please visit the DCRS website here.
Department of Recreation and Parks

Howard County Recreation & Parks has been working closely with our office, the Howard County Health Department, and other local agencies as we continue to monitor and take protective measures against the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Although there are currently no suspected cases of the virus within Howard County, ensuring the continued health and safety of residents and visitors is our top priority.

In light of concerns for our participants and Howard County residents, Recreation and Parks will be closing all facilities and canceling all scheduled special events, programs, classes and facility rentals beginning tonight at midnight through March 29. League play is also delayed until at least March 30. If an event, program or tournament is canceled, participants will have the option of a full refund or credit.

During this time, all Howard County parks will remain open to the public. HCRP will make a decision on facilities on resuming scheduled programs on March 30.
We will continue to provide departmental updates at here.
Howard Community College

Howard Community College has been closely monitoring the rapidly evolving situation with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), now classified as a global pandemic. The health and safety of all faculty, staff, and students is paramount.
  • Spring break will no longer be held April 6–12. Spring break is now March 16–22, during which time the college will be closed, with campus access only for authorized employees.
  • For March 23–29, credit and noncredit classes will be canceled. More details about this week for students, faculty, and staff will be forthcoming.

For more information about HCC's academic calendar and class schedule, please visit their website here.
Howard County Library System

Howard County Library System considers the health and safety of our customers and staff a top priority. Due to the confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maryland and the recommendations from Governor Hogan to practice social distancing, avoid gathering in large groups, and cancel large events, starting Monday, March 16, Howard County Library System is closed until March 27.  

Before HCLS closes, please stop by our branches this weekend to stock up on books, DVDs, and other materials. HCLS will waive fines for materials that will become due during the time we are closed. Additionally, the period of time in which you can pick up requested items will be extended so you don’t lose your items on hold. 

For more information please visit HCLS' website here.
Howard County Public Schools

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen Salmon announced yesterday, March 12, that effective Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 27, all Maryland public schools will be closed for students. For information regarding the operations of the Howard County Public School System, please visit their website here.
Beginning Tuesday, March 17, HCPSS will be providing free “Grab-N-Go” nutritious meals to anyone age 18 and under at four school sites and five mobile sites. Meals will be available from 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m., weekdays, Tuesday, March 17 through Friday, March 27.

School Sites:
  • Howard High School, 8700 Old Annapolis Road, Ellicott City
  • Oakland Mills Middle School, 9540 Kilimanjaro Road, Columbia
  • Swansfield Elementary School, 5610 Cedar Lane, Columbia
  • Cradlerock Elementary School/Lake Elkhorn Middle School, 6680 Cradlerock Way, Columbia

Mobile Sites:
  • Laurel Woods Elementary School Parking Lot, 9250 North Laurel Road, Laurel
  • Ducketts Lane Elementary School Parking Lot, 6501 Ducketts Lane, Elkridge
  • Bushy Park Elementary School Parking Lot, 14601 Carrs Mill Road, Glenwood
  • Monarch Mills Apartments, 7600 Monarch Mills Way, Columbia
  • Forest Ridge Apartments, 5890 Stevens Forest Rd, Columbia
Howard County Sheriff's Office

The Howard County Sheriff’s Office announced this morning that all eviction orders in Howard County will be stayed for an initial period of 15 days, to be reevaluated as new developments arise.
Howard County State's Attorney

At this time, the District Court is open for motions, hearings, and sentences. The Circuit Court and State’s Attorney’s Office will not conduct any business that requires a jury or grand jury, respectively through April 6th. 
Large Gathering Guidance

We are taking comprehensive precautions to mitigate, to the greatest extent possible, community spread of COVID-19 in Howard County. We want to first and foremost ensure the safety and public health of our community and vulnerable populations.

We have been working closely with the  Howard County Health Department   to provide guidance to our residents, employers, and County workers. I encourage our community to follow this guideline when organizing and conducting events and gatherings.
Legislative Updates

Due to the coronavirus, the The Maryland General Assembly (MGA) in Annapolis has adopted a “sponsor only” public hearing rule for bills beginning next week. Residents who wish to submit testimony, may do so by emailing their representative. For more information, please visit the MGA website here.

Below are two important pieces of legislation which were recently introduces in the MGA in response to the coronavirus.

State Budget- Revenue Stabilization Account Transfers- Coronavirus ( HB1661 /SB1079)
  • Governor Larry Hogan signed emergency legislation on 3/9/2020 that authorizes him to transfer by budget amendment up to $50.0 million from the State’s Rainy-Day Fund to fund costs associated with the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). The Senate and the House of Delegates passed this legislation unanimously.

State Government-State of Emergency and Catastrophic Health Emergency-Authority of the Governor ( COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Protection Act of 2020 )
  • Senate President Bill Ferguson and Senator Clarence K. Lam introduced the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Protection Act of 2020. Speaker Jones introduced the cross-file (HB1663) in the House of Delegates. This emergency bill authorizes the Governor to take certain actions that could facilitate access to health care and mitigate health care costs for individuals undergoing COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment, such as prohibiting cost-sharing for disease testing. During the state of emergency, the Governor can prohibit retailers from increasing the sale or essential price of essential goods and services. The Governor can also prohibit employers from terminating employees because they have been required to be isolated or quarantined.
Coronavirus Information
What is the Coronavirus?

Symptoms of Infection with COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus)
This virus can cause either mild illness like a cold or can make people very sick with pneumonia.

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing

There are currently no vaccines available to protect against COVID-19 infection. To help prevent illness from this or other viruses you should:  

  • Wash hands often with soap and warm water or use alcohol-based sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or into a tissue.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home from school or work.
  • Get a flu shot

There is no specific treatment available for COVID-19. However, if you have traveled or been in close contact with someone who has traveled to affected areas and now have a fever and cough or shortness of breath, you should:

  • Seek medical care. Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room and tell them about your recent travel or contact and your symptoms.
  • Stay home except for seeking medical care and avoid contact with others.

Plan ahead in the case you should have to stay home because you are sick or to care for a loved one who is sick.  

  • Have an adequate supply of nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, which could include pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluid with electrolytes and vitamins
  • Check your regular prescription drugs to make sure you have an adequate supply; refill your prescriptions if needed
  • Have a thermometer, tissues and hand sanitizer
  • Have a two-week supply of food available at home
If you have any questions about COVID-19 (coronavirus), please contact the Coronavirus Information Line at 410-313-6284 between the hours of 8:00a.m. and 5:00p.m. Monday - Friday After hours, if you are sick and having a medical emergency dial 911.
Frequently Asked Questions

I understand there are many questions regarding the coronavirus in our community. For a full list of Frequently Asked Questions, please see this informative guide from the Health Department.