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Coronavirus Updates: Ball to Host Virtual Town Hall, Fire and Rescue Implements Rapid Response Team, Resources for Homeowners and Tenants

Coronavirus Updates: Ball to Host Virtual Town Hall, Fire and Rescue Implements Rapid Response Team, Resources for Homeowners and Tenants

March 23, 2020

Media Contact:

Scott Peterson, Director of Communications, Office of Public Information, 202-277-9412


ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball will host a Virtual Town Hall on Thursday, March 26th at 6:30 pm to answer questions and concerns from Howard County residents about coronavirus and the local response, the census, and upcoming elections. Residents can call in at 855-756-7520 ext. 57556#. The event will also be live-streamed online

“I want the Howard County community to know that our government is working tirelessly to keep our public safe and informed,” said Ball. “We’re hosting this town hall to provide updates, clarity, and reassurance to our residents as we face this challenge. We will get through this together, with collective action, compassion, and kindness.” 

Residents are encouraged to pre-register and will receive a phone call to join the virtual town hall.

On Sunday, March 22, Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services (HCDFRS) went online with a new protocol from the Maryland Institute of Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS). This program allows EMS personnel to not be required to transport stable patients with COVID-19 non-life-threatening symptoms. HCDFRS is also one of the first EMS agencies in the region to implement a Rapid Response Team (RRT) program. Staffed by specially trained Mobile Integrated Community Health (MICH) Paramedics, the RRT can evaluate patients with non-life-threatening symptoms. The RRT will also conduct follow up phone calls with those patients who were not transported.

“The goal of this program is to provide additional emergency medical capacity during this unprecedented event,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. “We are confident this program will help preserve critical healthcare infrastructure in a manner that does not compromise patient and emergency responder safety.”

Housing & Utilities Resources

Currently, a tenant cannot be evicted if they can show the court that they can’t pay rent because of income loss tied to COVID19. If you are renting your home and unable to pay rent during the state of emergency, contact your landlord to discuss your situation as soon as possible.

On March 18th, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) suspended all foreclosure actions on FHA-insured mortgages for the next 60 days per HUD notice. That same day, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac also announced that they would take similar actions for homeowners with conventional mortgages. If you are a homeowner and unable to pay your mortgage during the state of emergency, contact your mortgage servicer for assistance.

For housing choice voucher program tenants and landlords, please see guidance from the Howard County Housing Commission.

Beginning today, Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE) will work with customers to restore power to those that have been disconnected prior to the March 13 moratorium. Customers who have had their service disconnected can contact BGE at 800.685.0123 to begin the reconnection process. Their call center team will also work with customers to help identify assistance programs that customers may qualify for.

Additionally, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced a new webpage to alert consumers to scam phone calls and texts related to COVID-19. The webpage includes sample audio from actual scams, including: free home testing kits, scams targeting diabetics who need insulin, and coronavirus HVAC cleaning.

Alpha Ridge Landfill

Alpha Ridge Landfill continues to operate, Monday through Saturday, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, however some changes have been made to its daily operations:

  • Cash, check and credit card sales have been discontinued. Businesses will be billed based on material type and tonnage to the address associated with its landfill permit. Residents with Construction/Demolition (C&D) material will not be charged and should use the Residents Convenience Center.
  • Residents with trailers or box trucks of material should still proceed to the scales; however, all other residents should proceed through the Residents’ Convenience Center.
  • Dropoff donations of reusable bikes, medical equipment and building materials are currently not being accepted. The Landfill is asking residents with items to donate to The Loading Dock, Bicycles for the World or The Loan Closet to please hold onto them until the need for social distancing ends.
  • Sales of compost and topsoil will be limited to contractors with permits; however, the Landfill’s free shredded wood and chips program has expanded to include mulch as well.

The County’s Bureau of Environmental Services is urging residents to avoid unnecessary trips to the Landfill. Curbside collection services, including bulk trash and scrap metal pick up, continue to operate as normal. If you have any questions about any of these services and/or the Landfill, give the Bureau a call at 410-313-6444.

Finally the County’s shredding events, previously scheduled for April 4th and April 11th, have been cancelled.

Howard County Animal Control
Effective 5 p.m. on March 23, the Howard County Animal Control and Adoption Center is closed to the public. Animal adoptions are being suspended until further notice.

If you have an animal-related emergency, such as a cruelty in-progress, an animal bite or a sick or injured animal, please call Central Communications at 410-313-2200. If you have a lost pet, would like to report a dead deer or any other non-emergency animal related concern, please e-mail

The public should rest assured that the animals currently in our center are being well cared for. Thank you for your understanding as we strive to ensure the safety of our staff, volunteers, animals and the public.

Additional Updates:

Today, additional mitigation measures were enacted throughout the State, including the closing on non-essential businesses and business and labor relief information. To review which businesses will remain open please read the guidance from the Governor’s Office.

The Maryland Department of Commerce authorized $130 million in loan and grant funding for small businesses and manufacturers that have been negatively impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). This emergency assistance provides interim relief and proceeds that can be used to pay cash operating expenses including payroll, suppliers, rent, fixed debt payments and other mission critical cash operating costs.

The Maryland Department of Labor launched the new COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund, which is designed to support businesses undergoing economic stresses due to the pandemic by preventing or minimizing the duration of unemployment resulting from layoffs. The award (up to $50,000 per applicant), will be a quick deployable benefit and customizable to the specific needs of your business to minimize the need for layoffs.