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Baltimore County News

Baltimore County News

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  1. Baltimore County Rec Councils Authorized to Hold Youth Sports in Fall with COVID-19 Safety Protocols

    Plan for Youth Sports Must Follow Requirements Based on Guidelines from CDC, County Health Officer

    The Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks today announced that it will authorize rec councils to hold youth sports in the fall, with strict requirements in place to protect public health and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

    Using guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Baltimore County Health Department, and the National Recreation and Parks Association, the County developed guidelines to protect public health, which includes requiring the use of face coverings by all individuals who aren’t actively playing the sport, and limiting spectators to parents and guardians of players.

    The plan also encourages social distancing and prohibits individuals from sharing personal equipment.

    It is the responsibility of all facility users to follow the requirements. Failure to adhere to County guidelines may result in removal from Recreation and Parks property.

    The Department will continue to follow all State Executive Orders related to recreational activities.

    Below is the full list of requirements for programs that are utilizing Baltimore County Recreation and Parks Facilities or programs that are operating under a permit issued by Baltimore County Public Schools to the Department of Recreation and Parks:

    • Participation in programs is only allowed if you have had no signs or symptoms of COVID-19, and you have not been exposed to someone who has had signs or symptoms of COVID-19 for a minimum period of 14 days before participation.
    • Participation in programs requires a signed Baltimore County COVID-19 Waiver Form.
    • If you are sick or feel sick, you should remain home.
    • At risk individuals, youth or adult, should remain home.
    • Temperature checks, under 100 degrees Fahrenheit, are required for players, volunteers and coaches.
    • Hand sanitizer should be available at all activities.
    • Assign an area for each player to place their equipment.
    • No sharing of drink bottles or any personal equipment.
    • No centralized hydration or refreshment areas.
    • No spectators at events, with the exception of parents and guardians.
    • Masks are required for parents and guardians if not practicing social distancing.
    • Masks are required by all volunteers and coaches in the program.
    • Masks are required for participants when entering the field and while on the bench.
    • Masks are not required for players and officials while on the field of play, but are recommended.
    • Social distancing should be practiced at all possible times.
    • Participants should refrain from handshakes, huddles and high fives.

    In addition to recommendations that must be followed by all participants, some sports will be required to follow specific guidelines.

    Sport Specific Guidelines

    Football:

    • No Tackle Football games/scrimmages
    • Flag football games/scrimmages are authorized
    • Drills and conditioning activities are authorized
    • Player gloves are recommended

    Soccer:

    • No throw-ins
    • Goalkeeper must wear gloves

    Baseball and Softball:

    • A clean ball must be utilized at each change of team at bat, i.e. each half inning

    Cheerleading:

    • No stunts
    • Masks must be worn at all times.
    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 14:45:00 GMThttps://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/News/BaltimoreCountyNow/baltimore-county-rec-councils-authorized-to-hold-youth-sports-in-fall-with-covid-19-safety-protocols
  2. Baltimore County Department of Health Distributes 100,000 COVID-19 Safety Kits to Residents

    Responds to Over 20,000 Pandemic-Related Inquiries and Requests from the COVID-19 Hotline

    The Baltimore County Department of Health hit its goal to distribute 100,000 COVID-19 safety kits to County residents in order to help mitigate and slow the spread of the coronavirus in communities hardest hit by the epidemic.

    Kits are provided to locations across Baltimore County, including:

    • PAL Centers
    • Faith and community organizations
    • Nonprofits
    • Apartment complexes
    • Food distribution sites
    • COVID-19 testing clinics

    “From the outset of this pandemic, our team at the Health Department has been working around the clock to protect the health and well-being of our residents,” Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said. “I want to thank all our frontline staff for reaching these milestones. By continuing to focus our efforts in the most impacted communities, we can work together to stop the spread and save lives.”

    In addition, the Department’s COVID-19 Hotline has received over 20,000 inquiries and requests for assistance since the line opened in March of this year.

    “Our African-American and Latinx communities are disproportionately affected by the pandemic,” said Baltimore County Health Officer Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch. “We’ve worked diligently to get safety kits into the communities hardest hit in order to provide safeguards and information that help to slow the spread of the virus. It is vitally important that efforts like this continue.”

    The kits contain educational materials and personal protective items such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and paper soap (as available). Launched in May, the initiative was expected to take until December to complete. However, the demand for items provided and the Department’s commitment to meeting the need resulted in reaching the goal months ahead of schedule.

    The County’s COVID-19 hotline is available seven days a week by calling 410-887-3816. Staff assist callers with everything from scheduling appointments for testing to helping residents successfully quarantine. Bilingual staff are available to assist residents who speak Spanish. 

    The Safety Kit distribution initiative is a joint effort between the Baltimore County Department of Health, the Maryland Department of Health and the Maryland Partnership for Prevention (an Owings Mills-based nonprofit focused on disease prevention and education with an emphasis on high-risk populations).

    Department of Health staff are also in the community emphasizing the importance of correctly wearing face coverings, frequently washing hands, consistently practicing physical distancing and encouraging residents to "Stay Smart, Stay Safe."

    Fri, 14 Aug 2020 14:34:00 GMThttps://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/News/BaltimoreCountyNow/baltimore-county-department-of-health-distributes-100-000-covid-19-safety-kits-to-residents
  3. Baltimore County Launches Interactive Crime Data Dashboard

    County Experienced Reductions in Crime Through First Six Months of 2020

    Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today released a new interactive data dashboard, where residents can view detailed information about crime. The dashboard is the latest tool available to increase government transparency and accountability in Baltimore County.

    “Residents deserve to know exactly what’s happening in their communities, and this dashboard shines a light on crime statistics in Baltimore County,” Olszewski said. “We’re pleased that the dashboard shows that crime is decreasing in Baltimore County, and that Baltimore County remains a safe place to live, work, and raise a family.”

    The data dashboard includes County Part 1 Crime data from 2017 to present. The dashboard will be updated each month.

    “We will continue to work relentlessly on building public trust in the communities that we serve. The creation of this information center increases our transparency for citizens to see and understand what is happening in their communities and within our agency,” said Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa Hyatt. “We remain committed to promoting equitable policing across Baltimore County and will continue to evolve and enhance our level of service.”

    According to data through the first six months of 2020, Baltimore County reported reductions in homicides and all other major crime categories. From January 1, 2020, through June 30, 2020, Baltimore County saw the following major reductions compared to the same period in 2019:

    • Homicides: 15 percent decrease
    • Burglary: 35 percent decrease
    • Robberies: 30 percent decrease
    • Assault: 24 percent decrease
    • Theft: 23 percent decrease
    • Motor Vehicle Theft: 15 percent decrease

    No Part 1 crime categories saw year-over-year increases.

    “Ensuring the safety of our communities is one of our most important responsibilities and I want to applaud Chief Hyatt and the Baltimore County Police Department for their bravery, service, and progress,” Olszewski added. “Early in the new year, I introduced a series of interventions to enhance the safety of our communities, changes which are already showing significant progress. Moving ahead, we will continue to innovate to make sure Baltimore County’s neighborhoods remain safe.”

    The interactive crime data dashboard released today joins Baltimore County’s growing set of resources for residents that provide greater transparency, reflecting Olszewski’s unprecedented commitment to a more transparent and accountable government.

    Earlier this year, Olszewski launched BCSTAT, a data-driven performance management program that aims to improve performance, ensure data quality, enhance transparency and increase accountability across government.

    Baltimore County has also released a number of downloadable raw data-sets related to numerous government functions and services. Open Data also includes access to the “My Neighborhood” interactive mapping application, which allows residents to select, view and print predefined maps and reports about Baltimore County, such as police precincts, enterprise zones or census information.

    In 2019, the Olszewski Administration released the Baltimore County Open Budget platform to empower residents to explore the County’s budget in an online, easily understood format. The platform currently features information on current and prior year’s budgets, including revenue and expenditures for both operating and capital expenses.

    As part of a recent package of reforms to improve transparency and accountability in the Baltimore County Police Department, the Olszewski Administration announced plans to build public dashboards displaying data on the number and disposition of complaints against police officers, instances of uses of force and traffic stop data broken down by race. These dashboards will be released in the coming weeks.

    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 13:44:00 GMThttps://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/News/BaltimoreCountyNow/baltimore-county-launches-interactive-crime-data-dashboard
  4. Baltimore County Announces Benefits Screening Call Center

    Connect with More Than 20 Programs to Address Critical Needs

    Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today announced a new initiative to connect low to moderate income County residents with critical federal, state and local benefits. Residents can call 311 to be referred to trained counselors for a comprehensive screening process.

    The CASH Campaign of Maryland, a nonprofit organization that promotes economic advancement, will serve as the County’s lead partner for this initiative.

    “This pandemic provides unfortunate reminders every day that too many of our residents are struggling, particularly those who have lost jobs or income,” Olszewski said. “This new service ensures that our residents have a one-stop-shop to help them determine which benefits might be available to help them weather this crisis.”

    Benefit Programs

    The CASH Campaign of Maryland is now offering its benefits screening and support services to County residents. Callers to 311 can request an appointment to receive a confidential and customized screening for over 20 different benefit programs to help them make ends meet and support their financial future.

    These programs include:

    • Temporary Cash Assistance
    • Temporary Disability Assistance
    • SNAP (formerly food stamps)
    • Medicaid
    • Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC)
    • Maryland Utility Assistance
    • NeedyMeds (discount pharmacy program)
    • Discounted Cellular and Landline Programs
    • Maryland Children’s Health Program
    • Child Care Subsidy Program
    • Child Support Payment Incentive
    • Free and Reduced Price School Meals
    • Head Start and Early Head Start
    • Renters and Homeowners Tax Credit
    • Child Tax Credit
    • Earned Income Tax Credit

    Making the Call

    Interested residents should call 311 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to be connected to CASH. A trained case manager will help callers complete an application and navigate the process to receive the help they need. CASH can also help County residents develop a plan to strengthen their economic stability through financial coaching and financial education classes—all offered remotely, by phone and for free. All conversations with the CASH team are confidential.

    “CASH is excited to work with Baltimore County more closely to ensure that residents are getting connected to the resources and help they need. Many families are struggling to make ends meet as a result of the economic impact of COVID-19 and getting the help they need can be really overwhelming,” said Sara Johnson, Co-Founder and COO of the CASH Campaign. “CASH is here to be a guide. Our benefits access program is free and confidential, so we encourage people to take advantage of this service. It's really encouraging to see County leadership and their teams working to streamline access to programs like ours.”

    The Benefits Screening Call Center is the latest effort by Baltimore County to strengthen the safety net for families suffering economic losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Baltimore County and Baltimore County Public Schools have distributed more than four million meals to residents facing food insecurity since the beginning of the pandemic. In addition, Olszewski has committed millions for the County’s efforts to help residents avoid eviction.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 15:56:00 GMThttps://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/News/BaltimoreCountyNow/baltimore-county-announces-benefits-screening-call-center
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