This is a rapidly evolving situation and the Washington County Health Department will provide updates as they become available.
For COVID-19 testing and confirmed case counts:
As of 3/29/2020:
Washington County has 12 confirmed cases.
For a count of confirmed cases, death, tests administered and test results received please visit washco-md.net/coronavirus-info/
The Health Department is investigating these cases with the help of the of the Maryland Department of Health. Communicable Disease nurses will identify contacts and advise them of any necessary actions to take. Information will be released as soon as possible if any risk to the public is identified.
Maryland has 992 confirmed cases.
- In Maryland: https://phpa.health.maryland.gov/Pages/Novel-coronavirus.aspx
- In the United States: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html
At this time Maryland State and Washington County have declared a State of Emergency.
For more information on the State of Emergency and the state’s and county’s actions during this time, please see the press briefings below.
Please visit the Washington County Government for updates on COVID-19 regarding local news, closings and more.
For updates on the health department’s operations during this time:
- March 17, 2020 WCHD Suspended Services Press Release
- March 16, 2020 Local State of Emergency Press Release
- February 27, 2020 Coronavirus Press Release
For updates from Meritus Health please visit there website at: Meritus Medical Center
Messages from Health Officer, Earl Stoner
Local Press Briefings
Washington County agencies have formed a Joint Information Center (JIC) in order to better share information regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and provide the public with timely, accurate and consistent briefings on what is happening in Washington County. Daily briefings will be posted at 2 p.m. Briefings can be found on the Washington County Government website at https://www.washco-md.net/jic/
Video Recorded Briefings
What to Do If You’re Sick?
If you have symptoms like cough, fever, or other respiratory problems, call your regular primary care provider first. Do not go to your doctor’s office without calling.
Your provider will decide if you meet the guidelines for testing and give you instructions. If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are mild, you do not need to be tested, but you need to follow the same guidelines – stay home when sick, avoid contact with other people and practice social distancing, cover your cough/sneeze, monitor your symptoms and stay in contact with your healthcare provider if symptoms worsen.
Do not go to the emergency room unless you are having a medical emergency. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs.
Where is testing being done?
Once you have spoken with someone on the COVID-19 care line -301-730-9170- or to your physician about your symptoms you may be directed to one of Meritus’ screening centers to be tested for the flu (this is the first step) and then COVID-19.
- Screening Drive Thru Center is located at 13620 Crayton Blvd. The drive-thru screening center is open Monday – Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Walk-thru Center: COVID-19 screening is available at 24 N. Walnut Street, Hagerstown, MD. The walk-thru screening center is open Monday – Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Washington County Health Department does not test people for COVID-19.
For specific Meritus Health COVID-19 screening center testing criteria click here.
I’m sick but can’t get tested OR I tested positive for COVID-19. What do I do now?
Currently, testing is very limited due to the nationwide shortage of test kits and the current capacity of laboratories to process specimens. The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is working aggressively to obtain more supplies and preserve our current resources
Those with the most severe symptoms are prioritized for testing. That is why everyone with mild symptoms, whether they have or have not been tested, needs to follow the same precautions – stay home when sick, avoid contact with other people and practice social distancing, cover your cough/sneeze, monitor your symptoms and stay in contact with your healthcare provider if symptoms worsen – to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses. For those being tested, typical wait times to receive results are approximately 5-7 days. At the local and state levels, health professionals are working to increase testing availability as soon as more test kits and lab capacity are in place.
If you are sick with severe symptoms, call ahead and get medical care immediately. Older adults and people with underlying health conditions should contact their provider for medical concerns.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19
- Shortness of breath
- In more severe cases, pneumonia (infection in the lungs)
The vast majority of people recover from this infection. Most people will have mild or moderate symptoms. Older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions have a greater risk for more serious illness.
What can I do to protect myself and others?
Take everyday preventive steps that are always recommended to slow the spread of respiratory illnesses like colds and flu:
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not available
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, your sleeve or your elbow
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using standard cleaning practices
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- If you are sick, stay home, except when seeking medical care
For more Questions and Answers check out the the following FAQ sheets
- Washington County Health Department
- Maryland Department of Health
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, social distancing is a way to keep people from interacting closely or frequently enough to spread an infectious disease. Social distancing can take many forms, depending on your lifestyle and your family and work situation. Social distancing can include the following habits and steps:
- Avoid handshaking, hugging and other intimate types of greeting
- Avoid non-essential travel (your health care provider may have specific guidance for your situation)
- Avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces
- Work from home if possible for your work situation
- Avoid unnecessary errands — consider ways to have essential items, like food and other household supplies, brought to your house through online delivery services or through family or social networks
About Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. This is a new virus that hasn’t caused illness in humans before. Worldwide, COVID-19 has resulted in thousands of human infections, causing illness and in some cases death. Cases have spread to countries throughout the world, with more cases reported daily.
How does COVID-19 spread?
COVID-19 is spread just like colds or flu through:
- Coughing and sneezing, which creates respiratory droplets
- Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
- Touching an object or surface with the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly eyes.
Who is at risk right now?
Currently, people are at risk who:
- Recently traveled to China, South Korea, Italy, Iran and Japan (This list changes visit https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices for an updated list of countries)
- Have close, personal contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19
- Care for people with COVID-19
- Older adults (age 60+)
- Those with pre-existing medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease
Washington County Community Partners Efforts
Washington County government, health, school, first responder and law enforcement agency partners, along with the city of Hagerstown, are working together to plan, respond and communicate on COVID-19 by:
- The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) continues to work with Meritus Health to assure capacity needs are being addressed in the event that Meritus Health experiences a surge of patients as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak
- The EOC is working aggressively to obtain more supplies and preserve our current resources, such as COVID-19 test kits and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
- Communicating with CDC and MDH for international, national and local situational awareness updates.
- Washington County agencies have formed a Joint Information Center (JIC) To ensure coordination of public information during the COVID-19 crisis to support the gathering, verification, coordination, and dissemination of accurate, accessible, and timely information to the public.
- Conducting site visits and providing CDC guidance to local organizations and businesses to assist them in planning and preparing for COVID-19.
CDC Guides on How to Prepare and Take Action for COVID-19
- At Home
- At Childcare and K-12 Schools
- At Colleges and Universities
- At Work
- Community and Faith-Based Organizations
- Large Community Events/Mass Gatherings
- Maryland Department of Health Coronavirus Website
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus Website
- World Health Organization Coronavirus Website
- Corornavirus Updates for the Deaf and hard of hearing
For General Information on Coronavirus please call MD 2-1-1 or 301-790-9170
or email: COVID-19@MeritusHealth.com