Several Carroll County leaders are uniting to promote a common message strongly recommending face coverings to slow the spread of COVID-19, and to launch a shared campaign to encourage all Carroll Countians to work together to move Carroll Forward.
Carroll County Government, Carroll County Health Department, Carroll Hospital, Office of the State’s Attorney of Carroll County, Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, Carroll County Public Schools, and the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce are working together to support the initiative.
Governor Hogan’s Executive Order requires face coverings in all retail stores, food service establishments, and personal service businesses such as salons. However, Carroll County leaders are taking the next step to strongly recommend that Carroll County residents and visitors wear face coverings in all indoor public spaces, and any time social distancing is difficult.
“The Carroll County Board of Commissioners is very concerned by the observed lack of facial coverings in many social settings and strongly recommends all people wear masks when in public settings or when physically distancing is difficult,” said Board of Commissioner President Stephen Wantz, speaking on behalf of Commissioners Rothstein, Weaver, and Frazier. “By following the guidance of health experts, we can help protect all people, regardless of known or unknown personal circumstances,” Wantz said.
As previously reported on Conduit Street, Governor Hogan is calling on counties – including Local Health Departments, liquor boards, and local law enforcement – to emphasize compliance with statewide orders for bar and restaurant practices, responding to the continuing coronavirus threat.
“We believe anything that helps slow the spread of COVID-19 is helpful and the possible benefits to wearing face coverings will outweigh any downsides. Everyone should err on the side of caution and make every effort to protect themselves and others to reduce the possibility of spreading COVID-19,” Wantz said.
According to a County press release:
Cloth face coverings, commonly referred to as masks, act as simple barriers to help prevent droplets from spreading in the air when people cough, sneeze, talk, sing, or shout. This is especially important with COVID-19, which can be spread by people who don’t have any symptoms and do not know they are infected. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued a release citing increased evidence that wearing cloth face coverings helps prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading it to others. The CDC called face coverings “a critical tool in the fight against COVID-19… particularly when used universally within communities.”
“Wearing a cloth face covering properly – covering your nose and mouth and fitting it snugly on your face – is one of the most important actions we can take to protect our community,” said Ed Singer, Health Officer for Carroll County. “We are receiving numerous complaints about locations not enforcing the use of face coverings and many reports of people wearing masks only covering their mouths. Covering both the mouth and nose is critically important for the coverings to be effective.”
The spread of COVID-19 can be reduced most when cloth face coverings are used along with other preventive measures, such as:
- Staying home when sick.
- Social distancing 6 feet or more from others in public.
- Washing your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer.
- Not touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Frequently wiping down high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, counters, and phones.
- Planning outdoor activities rather than indoor activities.
- Avoiding large gatherings.
“We strongly support wearing face masks, in combination with other preventative measures, as one of the best ways to slow the spread of COVID-19. Carroll Hospital follows CDC recommendations and requires everyone to wear one on our campus,” said Garrett Hoover, Carroll Hospital president and COO. “Ensuring the safety of our patients and staff while supporting the health of our community are our highest priorities and during this pandemic encouraging residents to wear face masks whether they are indoors or outdoors is one of the most effective ways to care for each other and our community.”
The Carroll Forward campaign is being developed by partner organizations and initially will spotlight ways residents can work together to slow the spread of COVID-19. A specific webpage features PSAs from many community leaders promoting mask wearing and other actions people should take to protect each other. The Carroll Forward website also provides links to member agencies for local information and resources about COVID-19: https://carrollcountymd.gov/carrollforward. The initiative is expected to grow over time and Carroll County residents should check the site for updates.
“This work can’t be done by one agency or group – we need our whole community to be a part of these efforts, to protect each other, and to build resilience and strength across all ages, races, and levels of socioeconomic and health status. This pandemic is a huge challenge, but also a chance to grow as a community,” said Singer. “Together, we can move Carroll Forward.”