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Coronavirus Updates: Essential Worker Child Care, Census Day, HoCo Food Go Map, Detention Center Status

Coronavirus Updates: Essential Worker Child Care, Census Day, HoCo Food Go Map, Detention Center Status

April 1, 2020 

Media Contact: 

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


ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County government provided additional guidance today for essential workers who need child care amid the coronavirus outbreak. Last week, the Maryland State Department of Education ordered all private child care providers closed, except for those that serve emergency services personnel. Howard County has 150 approved child care sites at this time. The Department of Community Resources’ Office of Children and Families is providing a directory of approved providers’ information and availability.  

“This is an especially challenging time for all our emergency services personnel,” said County Executive Calvin Ball. “I’m thankful the Governor took this action to provide child care at no cost to these families. We’re working diligently to facilitate child care placements and provide updated resources to make this process smoother for families.” 

Any Howard County resident or employee of Howard County essential business whose employment falls into one of the following categories is eligible for this program: 

  • Public health employees; 

  • Law enforcement personnel; 

  • Correctional services employees; 

  • Firefighters and other first responders; 

  • Government employees required to work during the state of emergency or catastrophic health emergency; 

  • Employees and representatives of insurance carriers, and those authorized by the Maryland Insurance Administration to engage in the business of insurance; 

  • National Guard personnel called to active duty; 

  • Staff and providers of child care or education services, including custodial staff and food service providers; 

  • Food distributors and suppliers, including food and supply services or distribution personnel; 

  • Transportation and delivery services personnel; 

  • Gasoline service station operators and automobile repair mechanics; 

  • Critical infrastructure employees, including emergency support personnel for gas and electric utility operations, public works, water treatment, and waste management 

  • Personnel of other institutions ordered to remain open during the declared state of emergency and catastrophic health emergency; 

  • Such other persons as the State Superintendent of Schools may designate in one or more orders as Essential Persons. 

If you are eligible, you may contact approved providers that are listed online. Registration will also include completing the following forms: 

DCRS is working to ensure parents and families have accurate information on approved providers, including their operating hours and availability. DCRS will update daily their directory of available providers as more become approved. If you need assistance navigating eligibility, registration or placement, please contact DCRS by calling 410-313-2273 or email  

Census Day 

Howard County Executive Ball encouraged residents to complete their 2020 Census today – April 1st.  

“The Census count is more important than ever amid the current public health crisis. The Census is used to allocated federal funds that impact all facets of our community including education, transportation, infrastructure, healthcare, and more,” said Ball. “We want every resident to be counted, and I encourage anyone who has yet to complete their census to take 10 minutes right now to do so - it is safe, easy, and important.” 

Residents can complete their census online, over the phone by calling 844-330-2020, or by completing the questionnaire received by mail.  

HoCo Food Go  

Today County Executive Calvin Ball launched an innovative new map for Howard County restaurants and bars to list their delivery and carryout options. The resource, “HoCo Food Go” is available online and via mobile device and allows customers to see an overview of restaurants, including their website, phone, hours and location. To date, 94 restaurants provided information for inclusion. If you would like your restaurant listed, please be sure to complete this online form.  

“The coronavirus pandemic has been a disruption and challenge for all of us, but our restaurants and their employees have been significantly impacted,” said County Executive Calvin Ball. “By creating ‘HoCo Food Go’ our administration wanted to do whatever we could to help them persevere these tough times. We can assist many of our neighbors and friends by coming together and looking out for our local businesses and their employees. I’m incredibly thankful to every employee working in the food service industry from restaurants to grocery stores to delivery services. Your service is essential to our health and we appreciate the efforts of you and your families at this time.” 

Listings can be viewed on a map or in a list. Restaurants can also be filtered by type, including deli, bakery, fast food, casual fast, casual contemporary, and traditional. Each restaurant description also includes information about carry out alcohol, dietary restrictions, and kids’ menus. 

Howard County Detention Center Status 

While other corrections facilities have reported confirmed cases of coronavirus, the Howard County Detention Center, a County-operated facility, has no symptomatic staff or inmates or confirmed cases of the coronavirus at this time. 

The Howard County Detention Center continues to implement all recommendations from the Center for Disease Control for jails and prisons to manage the coronavirus. This includes: 

  • Ensuring inmates have adequate soap, disinfected wipes and access to hand sanitizer; 

  • All persons entering the facility are temperature checked and symptom screened; 

  • All persons entering must use hand sanitizer and/ or hand wash before entering; 

  • Daily cleaning and sanitizing of the facility are occurring around the clock; 

  • Entry into the facility is limited to those who provide essential services; 

  • All inmate intakes are held in quarantine for at least 14 days and medically cleared before placed in general population; 

  • All new intakes are receiving daily temperature checks and screenings by medical staff; and 

  • All inmates have daily sick calls to address any medical concerns.