While free COVID-19 resources at statewide sites have officially ended and many local options at no-or-low cost for Washington County residents have slowed or nearly disappeared, care teams at the health department continue to be available for testing, vaccinations and supplies.
“As long as we are receiving COVID-19 vaccinations, boosters, masks and test kits and have lab access to process tests, we will offer these services in downtown Hagerstown and select sites in Washington County, especially to reach those who have little or no health insurance,” says Earl Stoner, health officer for the Washington County Health Department.
The health department’s website and social media pages on Facebook and Instagram provide regular updates on the drive-thru/walk-up testing center site located at 13 W. Lee St. Details on where residents can receive free COVID-19 vaccinations and updated boosters in the community can also be found there. Other than for pediatric-age patients, no appointments are necessary for the services and insurance is not required.
“We will also continue to request at-home COVID-19 test kits and KN95 masks from state and local resources and have those available for pick up at our clinics and in the lobbies of both 1302 Pennsylvania Ave., and 925 N. Burhans Blvd., in Hagerstown, at no cost to the public,” says Stoner. “As long as the supplies continue to come in, we will provide.”
Beyond COVID-19 services
While many clinics and services are available at the two health department buildings, the Harm Reduction team now brings services “to the streets” weekly in its “healthy living” van. The team provides practical needs, while “instilling hope and uplifting the health and well-being of all people who use substances and supporting the recovery community while respecting diversity, equality and connection,” according to its mission.
“Basically, we meet people where they are,” says David Washington, program coordinator. “We understand substance use is complex … In order to help reduce harm, we have to be non-judgmental and non-coercive with the services and resources we can offer.”
Updates on where the team will be with services can be found on the Hub City Strong Harm Reduction Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/HubCityStrong).
Staff from the prevention services team work with partners in the community and area schools to offer no-to-low cost resources to help people quit smoking and vaping; support parents; identify and intervene in at-risk student behavior; and more.
New or soon-to-be moms and young families can have support right in their homes with the assistance of the family support specialists from the Healthy Families Washington County program.
The Washington County Health Department houses everything from health coverage assistance to screenings for various diseases and illnesses; education and resources for those who are considering pregnancy; and referrals and case management in a number of areas including cancers, communicable diseases and chronic disorders. Washington County residents are encouraged to visit washcohealth.org to find out about all of the health care programs and events at the health department, call to ask questions and find out details or stop by weekdays between 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. to the offices, located very near downtown Hagerstown and along public transportation routes.
“No one needs to fall through the cracks when looking for health care,” says Stoner. “They just need to talk to us and we will help.”