Message wall, April 1, 2020

Submitted to Dorchester Banner/Gillnet
Local residents are posting notes on social media, sending flyers and emails, all trying to reach neighbors to spread news of how they are dealing with the COVID-19 situation.

CAMBRIDGE — As the situation regarding COVID-19 continues to develop, local groups are reaching out to spread the word about changes to their events and schedules. It remains a good idea to check on the status of goods and services before leaving home.


The Banner compiled a list of announcements over the previous week, which follows:


• Dorchester County Public Schools announced on Friday that starting the week of March 30, there will be changes to the grab-and-go bag distribution program to make it more efficient and safer. Bags will be distributed as usual on Monday through Wednesday, but on Thursday, bags will contain meals for Thursday and Friday, meaning there will be no distribution on Friday.
Cold holding and heating instructions will be included in the bags. This means one fewer trip out by adults and children and less exposure for both families and DCPS Food Service staff. Remember: four days, four trips, but five meals, and still served with the same big smile!

• Suicide Bridge Restaurant on Saturday announced that $500 had been received from P&M Hydraulics to be applied to meals for first responders in Dorchester County and Caroline County for their unwavering dedication during these times of crisis. Thank you to all our first responders!
• When the Dorchester Chamber of Commerce and Dorchester County Dept. Emergency Services reached out to Ricky Fitzhugh of Hoopers Island Oysters for help with the shortage of PPE equipment, he didn’t hesitate to donate a case of N95 masks. “We are enormously grateful to first responders, healthcare workers and all who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe,” a statement from the Chamber said.
• The state government ordered all child care providers to be closed by the end of March 27, except those serving essential personnel. Essential employees can call 1-877-261-0060 to find child care.

• Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum will remain closed through April 30. Postponed and canceled events and programs include:
9th Eastern Shore Sea Glass and Coastal Arts Festival – postponed; Homeschool Day (April 8) – canceled; Small Diesel Engine Maintenance & Repair (April 10) – postponed; Open Boatshop (April 11) – canceled; Oyster Pirates of the Chesapeake (April 23) – postponed; Delaware AFAD Workshops (April 25-26) – canceled; Boater’s Safety (April 25-26 and May 13-14) – canceled; Sunset Yoga Cruise (May 20) – postponed; Lighthouse Overnights – canceled (when possible will reschedule for Fall 2020 or Spring 2021); Spring Rising Tide after-school sessions – canceled; Wednesday Night Racing Spectator cruise (June 3) – canceled.
Rescheduled dates are yet to be determined. Refunds for tickets purchased for events and programs will be issued automatically by the end of April. If you do not receive one by then or have questions, please contact Laurel Seeman at lseeman@cbmm.org.

• The Maryland Department of Human Services (DHS) has taken steps to expedite services for their customers to lessen the burden of this unprecedented public health emergency. The Department’s request to extend certification periods and adjust reporting requirements for Maryland’s SNAP benefit recipients was successfully granted approval by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS).
The state agency extended certification periods for SNAP households that were scheduled to expire in March, April, and May, for six months, until September, October and November 2020 respectively. This adjustment includes households with earned income that, by regulation, cannot normally be certified for more than a six-month period.

In line with the SNAP waiver, the Department of Human Services also extended the redetermination requirements for those Marylanders receiving cash benefits, such as Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) and Temporary Disability Assistance (TDAP), for an additional six months. Additionally, the Department waived work requirements across all eligibility programs, including TCA and SNAP, and is using emergency assistance to address the needs of residents who may be ineligible for the aforementioned assistance programs.
Marylanders can get information, apply for DHS programs and services, and check the status of applications online at mydhrbenefits.dhr.state.md.us/dashboardClient/#/home, and by calling the DHS Call Center at 1-800-332-6347 (TTY 1-800-735-2258), available from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday.
• East New Market VFC announced the cancelation of Breakfast with the Easter Bunny. “We are as sad as you are about this,” a statement from the company said. “Here is a cute idea to do with your kids,” with a photo of pancakes and fruit used to create an image of the Easter Bunny.
“Please stay safe during this trying time in our country. We ask too that you keep our local Firefighters, EMS, police, nurses, doctors and all others who are deemed essential in your prayers,” the statement concluded.

• Midshore Meals till Monday is in need of volunteers, especially outside of the Cambridge area such as Hurlock and Vienna. To reach them you can call 443 225-6789, or search for them on Facebook.
• The Department of Social Services is currently running at a smaller staff size than normal. Anyone needing their services to report any Adult or Child Abuse should call 410-330-6874 during this time period as we are addressing this virus.

• Commander of American Legion Dorchester Post 91 released the following message to members on March 25:
“To the benefit of our members and local community and in accordance with CDC and governmental recommendations, as you know, we have made the decision to temporarily close our facility due to the global spread of COVID-19. Therefore, we will not be sending out an April/May Newsletter or calendars of events as, to date, the information would be inaccurate.
“Be assured that Post 91 will be monitoring the situation daily and making adjustments accordingly. I encourage everyone who has not already done so to like us on Facebook at Dorchester Post 91 American Legion to stay connected with real time updates.
“Likewise, I encourage anyone not already getting email news blasts to call your Adjutant and give that information to him/her. During this trying time, it is everyone’s mission to ensure the safety of, not only ourselves, but our families and community as well.
“Please stay vigilant with following the protocol of the Coronavirus Guidelines for America that is updated regularly at CDC.gov. I pray that you and your family stay safe and take all necessary precautions and hopefully we all will get back to normal life soon.”

• The Blood Bank of Delmarva on March 24 canceled all blood drives. Over 3,000 units were lost, which leaves the Bank in a critical shortage.
“Please keep your commitment to donate by scheduling an appointment to give at a donor center near you,” the statement said. Call 1-888-825-6638 to schedule by phone. To learn about the Bank’s coronavirus donation safety protocols, visit www.delmarvablood.org/coronavirus.
• Bayside Animal Hospital on March 25 released a statement saying, “Due to the COVID-19 safety recommendations of the AVMA, AAHA, and the MVM, we will be making the following changes to our appointment protocols:
“We will be asking clients to not enter the hospital. Parking is available in the lot next to the pine trees.
“Please call from the car when you arrive for your appointment. Our technicians will get your pet’s history and escort your pet inside. Our doctors will perform your pet’s exam and call you to discuss their findings before discharging your pet back to you.
“Our receptionists will help you with payment. We can process credit cards by phone (preferred) or accept cash or checks. Once your pet’s exam and treatments are complete, our technicians will escort them back to your car.
“All medication refills, food pick up, or sample drop off can be done through our pharmacy drive through window. We regretfully are unable to provide boarding until further notice.”

• Staff at Pleasant Day Medical Adult Day Care sent a message saying: We hope that everyone is safe and healthy, if a little uncomfortable from cabin fever. The staff at Pleasant Day is doing everything they can do help the participants during this outbreak. Every day, staff is calling participants to ensure they have food and fluids, medicine, and essential supplies. Likewise, call your own friends and family to see if they have everything they need. Do you have an old friend or relative that you haven’t spoken to in a while? Call them! Even if they have everything they need, their needs may simply be social. No one likes being cooped up at home, especially with the weather becoming as nice as it is now. You may not be able to hang out, but you may still be able to make someone’s day with just a phone call. Remember to wash those hands and stay home!


Helpful Coronavirus links

Maryland Department of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage

Have a question about the coronavirus? Submit it to our newsroom and we’ll ask the appropriate public officials.