Two COVID-19 cases confirmed in county; Hancock prepares with closures, services

by Geoff Fox

Over the weekend, Washington County officials announced there have been two confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the county.

On March 21, the first case confirmed in the county was a 50-year old woman who officials said was in good condition with mild symptoms and recovering at home.

A second case was confirmed a day later. Officials said the second case was a male in his 30s who is also in good condition with mild symptoms and recovering at home.

“The Health Department is investigating these cases with the help of the Maryland Department of Health,” Washington County Health Department said on their website.

A third case was linked to Washington County after a 40-year old woman from Montgomery County died as result of the virus. She was the third death associated with COVID-19 in the state of Maryland.

County officials said the woman had visited the county.

None yet in Hancock

Mayor Ralph Salvagno said Town Hall has been closed to the public. Even though office staff will be inside working, there is to be no customer interaction with bills being paid online or deposited in the drop box located at the Hancock Police Department.

While it’s been hammered home from the federal level down to state and local levels, people are still gathering in numbers.

Salvagno said Hancock officers have been instructed to disperse groups of over 10 or any significant group of people.

Earlier this month, Governor Larry Hogan closed restaurants to dine in services and instructed them for carry our or delivery.

Salvagno is encouraging Hancock residents to support the local restaurants by using their carry out services if they offer them.

As for the town meetings, Salvagno said he is working on doing virtual town meetings instead of having people gather at Town Hall.

During those virtual town meetings, even town officials would not be at Town Hall.

On April 4, Salvagno had scheduled his second “Coffee with the Mayor” and said that date could be used as a trial run for the virtual meetings.

Salvagno said the 100 miles in 100 days health initiative would still go on as planned as people can still be outside and exercising while practicing social distancing.

In his role at Meritus Medical Center, Salvagno said he has been in touch with hospital officials and they are preparing to make sure supplies and beds are ready to meet the challenges ahead.

Over the last several days, Interfaith Service Coalition and the Hancock Police Department have been making deliveries to those in need who cannot get out.

ISC Director Deb Cohill said there have been a “good number” of people who have reached out to her and the police department for assistance. ISC can be reached at 301-678-6605.

Cohill has said ISC will remain open as they are considered essential to people’s well-being. When people are contacting ISC, Cohill said those who are not familiar with the office would need to show proof of residency.

When folks show up, they won’t need to sign for anything as they can have ISC sign in their stead as a proxy.

Deliveries are limited to those with disabilities who are unable to get out to and also the elderly residents. All others can go to the ISC offices at 116 West High Street.

Cohill said deliveries would be inside town limits for the Hancock Police and ISC outside town limits.