Johns Hopkins Study: Health Officer Harassment Impedes Public Health

Findings from the "The Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 Civic Life and Public Health Survey" suggest faith in public health officials and institutions is eroding, undermining ongoing COVID-19 response efforts. The survey results, released on July 29, noted a significant percentage of 1,086 adult respondents, 21%, believed that threatening public health officials for business closures to slow COVID-19 transmission was justified. Said responses were taken in July and August of 2021. They represent a significant spike…

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State Discusses Expanded Monkeypox Response

Governor Larry Hogan's Administration and the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) have updated the state's operational response to the monkeypox outbreak to make testing, vaccination, and public health resources more widely available for high-risk populations. As of Wednesday, August 3rd, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that Maryland has 149 lab-confirmed monkeypox cases, representing 2.4% of cases nationwide. Conduit Street previously provided a Monkeypox Primer detailing the disease's history, transmission, and symptoms. Under…

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Following Federal Approval, State Recommends Use of Novavax COVID Vaccine

On July 27th, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) circulated a health provider bulletin detailing updates to Maryland’s COVID-19 Vaccine Plan, including a recommendation to administer the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine.  The Novavax product received emergency use authorization (EUA) through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on July 13th. According to the MDH bulletin, providers should provide a primary series of the Novavax vaccine to individuals 18 years of age and older. Neither the FDA nor…

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Baltimore City Releases Homeless Count Findings

On Friday, July 29th, Baltimore City released its 2022 Point-In-Time (PIT) Count Report based on a survey of people experiencing both sheltered and unsheltered homelessness on a single night on February 26, 2022. Altogether, 1,597 people were counted in emergency shelters, transitional housing, and unsheltered spaces, down from 2,193 people in 2020. The City's reduced numbers follow a four-year downward trend. Baltimore City Mayor Brandon M. Scott discussed his administration's commitment to reducing homelessness in a press…

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9-8-8 Update: Crisis Hotline is Live

On Saturday, July 16th, the nationwide 9-8-8 hotline providing suicide and mental health crisis interventions went live. The hotline will operate 24 hours a day for seven days a week. With 9-8-8's launch, its predecessor, the 10-digit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, will be phased out. At a launch event held on July 15 in Philadelphia, PA, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra delivered the following remarks: Too many of us are…

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Health is Everybody’s Business 

Counties rely on partnerships with private organizations for countless reasons, including serving as community ambassadors, extending resources, and lending technical expertise - functions critical to our counties' pandemic response. Join several county officials and private organizations as they co-present on their enduring partnerships to tackle public health issues, from the pandemic to the environment to chronic disease and beyond. Description: The COVID-19 pandemic forced county actors, especially local health departments, to think creatively and cultivate…

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Breaking Developments in Police Oversight: Training Requirements Yes, Partially-Retired Judges No

The Police and Correctional Training Commissions (PCTC) and the Maryland Judicial Ethics Committee have released guidance further shaping how counties implement the Maryland Police Accountability Act of 2021. Both rulings will pose additional challenges to counties' ability to fulfill these broad, mandated requirements. In a letter to county leadership dated Monday, July 25th, PCTC discussed how it will administer a recently approved 40-hour training for members of county Administrative Charging Committees (ACCs), a requirement of…

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Southern Maryland’s Resiliency Depends on Tourism
Courtesy of Don Shomette, Charles County website
Southern Maryland’s Resiliency Depends on Tourism

A recent Southern Maryland Chronicle article highlights tourism's important role in Maryland, with a particular focus on the state's southern region. According to the Chronicle, tourism accounts for more than 150,000 jobs across Maryland. In 2018, 41.9 million people visited the state and spent $18.1 billion. Moreover, before the COVID-19 pandemic, Southern Maryland saw a boost in its tourism economy thanks to a steady increase in visitorship. The Chronicle notes, "Southern Maryland welcomed 36.1 million…

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Nationwide, Counties Prepare for Influx of Opioid Settlement Funds

Counties are preparing to spend millions of dollars from settlements reached with Johnson and Johnson and the nation's largest opioid medication distributors. A recent National Association of Counties article highlights the many opioid-related needs counties seek to address. In Maryland, nearly every county signed an agreement with the state to distribute its almost $400 million settlement award. At present, funds have yet to be disbursed due to uncertainty surrounding a consent judgment at the federal…

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NACo Unveils Housing Solutions Matchmaker Tool

Understanding how housing environments vary significantly across the nation, the National Association of Counties unveiled the "Housing Solutions Matchmaker Tool," a utility intended to help county officials develop policies tailored to their communities. The tool, launched at NACo's 2022 Annual Conference and Exposition, will assist officials with understanding their housing market and provide potentially helpful resources and policies to address key challenges. The Brookings Institute and Aspen Institute lent their expertise to develop the matchmaker…

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