As Easter weekend begins, health officials and law enforcement agencies remind residents that the governor’s stay-at-home order is still in effect.
“We know that people are tired of being cooped up at home,” says Dr. Fredia Wadley, Health Officer for Talbot County, “but we must all continue our efforts to stop the spread of this virus. This is no time to let your guard down.”
Wadley’s comments come with the news that the number of confirmed cases in Maryland continues to rise. The state reported 783 new cases on Friday, which brings the total number of cases to 6,968. The number of deaths is also increasing, with 30 people dying the past 24 hours.
“People are getting restless at the same time our numbers are going up in Maryland,” says Clay Stamp, Director of Emergency Services for Talbot County. “We don’t want people to be lulled into a false sense of security because of where we live. We must stay focused on our goal of stopping the spread of this virus. We must follow the plan and trust in the process.”
With Easter approaching, Talbot County Council President Corey Pack encourages county residents to make memories at home this year. “Easter is a time when we go to church and then get together with family and friends,” he says. “Some of my favorite photos are of my family when we were all dressed in our Easter outfits.
“I know it will not be like our traditional Easter gatherings, but this year needs to be different,” he continues. “Find a way to make some special memories at home this year. Call your family members or use social media platforms to be together.”
It is possible to practice social distancing and still have fun, but many citizens still have questions about what is allowed and what is not.
“With the COVID-19 pandemic, the phrase ‘social distancing’ has become a part of our language and our lives,” Dr. Wadley says. “With all the information thrown at us, it is not that easy to determine exactly what we should avoid. To make it easier to understand, the Talbot County Health Department created a list of things you should and should not be doing.”
Social Distancing Do’s and Don’ts
• DO go outside for some sunshine and fun with your children and dog. DON’T congregate in groups outside unless every person is a household member. Inviting your cousins over for a football game is not social distancing.
• DO ride your bicycle, jog, take a walk or work in your yard. This fights cabin fever and is healthy for mind and body. DON’T jog or walk with others if you can’t keep six feet apart.
• DO go to the grocery store when you really need items. DON’T go every day just because you are bored. Before every “essential” trip, ask yourself if you really need that today or could you wait and get several items if you waited a few more days.
• DO consider that during this “stay at home” period you raise your risk of a COVID-19 infection every time you leave the house for an essential errand. You can take personal responsibility and do all the things advised to lower your risk, but there is still a risk. DON’T underestimate the risks you take.
• DO take the responsibility to keep six feet distance from other people when you go to work or to the store. Your spouse or child doesn’t have to be six feet away, but why did they come on this essential trip? You are exposing three people when you only had to expose one. Remember that this is not a family outing to break the boredom, but an essential trip for food, medications, and other necessities that can be adequately handled with only one person taking a risk. Of course, if there is no one at home to leave your child, your child goes on this essential trip.
• DO wear a cloth mask when you go into a store. This shows you care about your fellow man and are willing to take a step to protect them in case you are infected and don’t yet have symptoms. DON’T let the mask take the place of social distancing and frequent hand washing or sanitizing. These two practices are still your greatest protection from the virus.
• DO remove your mask without touching your face. DO sanitize your hands immediately after getting in your car and removing the mask. DON’T wear gloves instead of washing your hands frequently. Gloves can pick up the virus, and people tend to wash their hands less when they wear gloves.
• DO feel comfortable reminding others who may crowd you that you are practicing social distancing and will stay six feet away from others. DON’T insult and embarrass people who might have forgotten to keep their distance. Reminders can be more effective than commands.
• DO order take-out from one of our restaurants providing this service. DON’T crowd people waiting in line. Stay six feet apart.
• DO sanitize your hands after exchanging money or receiving your credit card back from an employee. Upon arriving home, DO take the food out of boxes and cartons and place in dishes or on plates. Put the containers in the trash and wash your hands for a full 20 seconds with soap and water. From what we know about the coronaviruses, we have no worries getting it from food, but we need to take care with the cardboard containers.
Talbot County Public Schools
TCPS will follow the approved 2019-2020 school calendar with all schools closed from April 9 to 13.
The next TCPS meal distribution will be from 9 to 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 14, at all school sites.
The TCPS IT Help Desk will be open 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday, April 14, and noon to 3 p.m. Friday, April 17, at Easton High School and St. Michaels Elementary School. Please email email@example.com for virtual support or to schedule a help desk appointment for iPads or laptops.
“We are pleased with the roll-out of our Continuity of Learning program. I have seen tremendous innovation and creativity from our teachers,” said Dr. Kelly Griffith, Superintendent. “I am also happy to report that we have contacted every family to make sure we are meeting their needs, which I consider a huge success,” she added. “Finally, I’d like to give a shout-out to Talbot Family Network for writing a grant that funded the purchase of 100 Hotspots for TCPS. Many thanks!”
Talbot County Library
Library Producing Face Shields for Health Care Workers During COVID-19
When a friend who is a nurse told the Talbot County Free Library’s Amy Wise that University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Easton has been forced to ration Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for staff due to the COVID-19 outbreak, she decided to do something about it.
Using the library’s 3D printer, Wise went to work creating face shields designed to keep our health care workers safe as they care for their patients. Currently (with help from Dr. Andrew Thaler of Blackbeard Biologic) Wise is able to create three face shields a day. Amy has produced over 15 new, sterilized shields for the hospital this week and will produce more as soon as more plastic arrives.
Wise has also begun using the 3D printer to create fitted plastic bands that allow health care workers to secure their face masks behind their heads instead of over their ears which keeps their ears from becoming irritated. The bands only take about half an hour to print. Amy Wise’s innovative approach to helping local health care workers has shown us that library staff can make our community a better, safer place to live.