County Executive Jan Gardner provided an update on the County’s battle against COVID-19. While Frederick County flattened the curve by shutting down early in the pandemic, Frederick County now faces the challenge of keeping the rate of infection down.
Gardner urged everyone to wear masks and maintain social distance of six feet from those outside of their own households.
Frederick County currently only meets one of the two standards for opening schools. While the positivity rate at 3.1% in Frederick County is less than the 5% required, the rate of 7.32 new cases per 100,000 people is higher than the 5 per 100,000.
Executive Gardner reiterated the restrictions under Maryland’s Stage Three of re-opening. Most businesses and activities are still limited to 50% capacity, including the movie theaters and live entertainment venues that were allowed to open.
Capacity limits for outdoor events and entertainment continue to be 50% of capacity or 250 people, whichever is less. Gardner noted that the county received reports of one event held over the Labor Day Weekend that had over 2,000 people in attendance.
Executive Gardner addressed a rumor on social media that she could issue an executive order to allow expanded visitation at Frederick Health Hospital. Gardner explained that the County Executive has no authority over the hospital’s policies and procedures.
“All of us must remain cautious and do our part to prevent the spread of the virus so that we can stay healthy, and so we can protect people most at risk for bad outcomes . . .,” Gardner explained.
She continued, “We certainly have this goal of trying to operate in a safe manner so that our economy can at least be partially open. We’re trying to figure out how to live and work and participate with a virus in our midst. And that requires wearing a mask. Its really a critical component to doing this successfully.”
Executive Gardner announced that 298 child care providers applied for grants from $1,800,000 to help support day care providers open to support families in Frederick County. Grants were awarded to:
- 232 Family Child Care Providers received $951,000
- 22 centers serving up to 59 children received $112,000
- 44 centers serving 60 or more children received $299,200
A total of $1,362,600 was granted from the county through federal CARES Act funding. These grants allowed day care centers that would not have opened to open and help families with child care.
Child care providers, small businesses and renters in Frederick County have benefitted from a series of initiatives designed to support people and help jump start the local economy. Today Executive Jan Gardner announced the results of the child care grant program, which contributed to the reopening of as many as 50 local daycare providers. She also outlined the broad reach of other programs that provide food and financial assistance to the people of Frederick County. During her remarks, Executive Gardner emphasized the need for continued vigilance against the COVID-19 coronavirus, emphasizing that people should continue to wear face coverings and maintain physical distancing.
“Frederick County is a caring community,” Executive Gardner said. “We will get through this together, and we will come out stronger.”
The County awarded nearly $1.4 million to licensed child care providers, through a partnership with the nonprofit Child Care Choices. A total of 298 providers applied for the one-time payments to help offset the cost of increased disinfection and cleaning. Awards were made to 232 family-based providers, which received $4,100 each, for a total of $951,000; 22 small centers (up to 59 children), $5,100 each, for a total of $112,000; and 44 large centers, $6,800 each for a total of $299,200.
Additional County initiatives have resulted in:
- $5 million in JumpStart grants to farmers, and small and micro businesses;
- $3 million in rental assistance, in conjunction with the City of Frederick and the Religious Coalition for Emergency Human Needs;
- Expanded free legal services through Maryland Legal Aid;
- Increased food delivery to seniors in need; and
- Funds to keep local food banks stocked, in partnership with the City of Frederick.
The rental assistance program remains open for people who are behind on their rent because of COVID-19. Information is available at www.TheReligiousCoalition.org.