Need exceeding Carroll County Health Department’s contact tracing capacity

Carroll County’s health officer said the local health department has exceeded its contact tracing capacity. With the rise in COVID-19 cases, the Carroll County Health Department has resorted to using a state contractor, NORC and its call center in Chicago to help with tracing close contacts. Health Officer Ed Singer said at last week’s Carroll County Board of Education meeting that the heath department was overwhelmed with contact tracing logs. And if the COVID-19 cases continue to rise, “you guys are kind of going to be on your own.” (Carr Co Times)

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Maryland closes in on 4M COVID tests

There have been more than 3.95 million COVID-19 tests conducted in Maryland since March, according to the state health department. That includes 31,801 new tests reported Wednesday, Nov. 18. There has been a recent surge in coronavirus tests along with a rise in positive cases and hospitalizations prompting new restrictions and orders from Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan. (Star Dem)

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Homelessness in Maryland worsens during COVID-19 pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has increased the strain on groups that work to prevent homelessness in Maryland, with experts saying single mothers and people of color are being hurt the most. Multiple advocacy groups have expanded their programs to try to handle the surge in cases, as one agency said requests for help have nearly tripled from March to early October. “It was already concerning last year because we had 239 clients total, all of 2019, and [as of Oct. 14], I have 600,” said Carol Ott, tenant advocacy director at the Fair Housing Action Center. “And the overwhelming majority of these people are Black, single women with children.” (Balt Sun)

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In bid to ‘match-make’ as coronavirus cases rise, Maryland agency will coordinate bed availability across hospitals

With the load of coronavirus patients rising and some hospitals reaching capacity, Maryland officials plan to ramp up a program that makes it easier to move patients among hospitals. Hospitals already had been moving patients among their own systems, but typically only refer a patient to an outside hospital when they do not have the expertise for a specific treatment. (Balt Sun)

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AFSCME Members Travel Across Maryland Calling For Additional Protections For Essential State Workers

As Maryland faces a rising number of COVID-19 cases, union leaders from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees traveled the state Tuesday advocating for essential state workers they say are continuously exposed to dangerous working conditions. Union members said they show up to work every day and they want those in charge to recognize the sacrifices they’re making. (WJZ-TV)

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‘Living in a cocoon’: As coronavirus pandemic grows longer, experts fear isolation’s impact on Baltimore-area seniors

In the 72 years Dick and Lois Hess have been married, they’ve watched their country bludgeoned by economic calamities, unrest, corruption and tragedies. But nothing prepared them for this: eight months of separation, during which they haven’t been able to hold hands, hug or sit closer than 6 feet apart, even though they both live in the same Towson retirement community. It’s been a disruptive, difficult and sad period for the pair. (Balt Sun)

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‘Take action’: Anne Arundel housing advocates, delegates, offer evictions advice and resources tenant town hall

Maryland legislators, including two who represent parts of Anne Arundel County, are set to introduce a slew of bills in January’s General Assembly session to protect tenants during the coronavirus pandemic. Annapolis Del. Shaneka Henson, a staunch housing advocate, highlighted some of the legislation Tuesday night during a virtual town hall on tenant rights hosted by Action Annapolis. Some of the bills will be reintroduced from the last session, such as one sponsored by Henson to establish statewide mold detection and remediation standards in rental housing. (Capital)

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Cold Weather Shelter program to start in Howard County on Nov. 30

The Howard County Department of Community Resources and Services is partnering with the Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center to provide an expanded Cold Weather Shelter program this year. The program begins Nov. 30 and ends March 28. The shelter, which is usually housed on a rotating basis by county faith communities, was created to help people who are unable to find emergency shelter when the Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center in Columbia is full. (Balt Sun)

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