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Coronavirus Updates: Contact Tracing Information, Howard County Businesses Producing PPE, Expanded Food Benefits

Coronavirus Updates: Contact Tracing Information, Howard County Businesses Producing PPE, Expanded Food Benefits

April 29, 2020 

Media Contact: 

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


ELLICOTT CITY, MD – The Howard County Health Department has designated 35 staff as Contact Tracing Investigators to track the spread of COVID-19 and prevent community spread. The Health Department aims to nearly double that number by utilizing the Medical Reserve Corps, Howard County Public School System staff who have expressed interest, and new hires.  

Investigators gather vital information that helps identify individuals who may have recently had close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus. Each contacted individual is provided specific education and guidance to monitor their health or even quarantine for a time, if needed. These actions prevent the virus from spreading in households and in the community.  

If residents receive a call from the Health Department about their health status, they are encouraged to answer the phone and work with the Contact Tracing Investigator to help stop the virus from spreading.  

“Our Health Department is working diligently to track the spread of COVID-19, and residents are encouraged to respond and engage with our Contact Tracers.” said County Executive Calvin Ball. “Our community can support their work by encouraging their friends, neighbors, and loved ones to do the same and know that private information is safe and secure.”  

The Health Department takes privacy very seriously and does not share patient information or the health status with anyone, including with any individuals who may have been in contact with a COVID-19 positive individual. Any information that is shared with the Health Department including, addresses, phone numbers, and emails, is only used in the tracing process to share health resources and reduce the virus outbreak. It will not be shared with any other agencies, organizations or employers. 

Not all COVID-19 positive individuals show symptoms or feel sick, so residents should not jump to conclusions about exposures. No one should be stigmatized for having COVID or being exposed to the virus. 

Learn more about contact tracing and other COVID-19 resources from the Howard County Health Department, by clicking here. at 


Howard County Businesses Producing PPE 

Three Howard County companies have received grants up to $100,000 from the Maryland Department of Commerce to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE). The Maryland Department of Commerce selected only 20 businesses from more than 200 applications and are planning to make additional grants available in the coming weeks. 

The companies are:  

  • CR Daniels producing face masks and gowns; 
  • Fabrication events producing face masks, head coverings, and other PPE; and 
  • X-Laser producing face shields. 


Restaurant Worker Food Distribution 

La Palapa Grill & Cantina in Ellicott City is hosting a Restaurant Worker Support event on Friday, May 1st from 12 -1 p.m. The restaurant has partnered with Saval Foodservice to distribute bagged groceries to local restaurant employees. The event will be located outside in Parking Lot D behind La Palapa Grill & Cantina

For more resources and information on food distribution please visit  


Expanded Food Benefits 

The Maryland Department of Human Services (DHS), in conjunction with the Maryland State Department of Education, is coordinating a Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) Program.  

The Department of Human Services estimates that approximately 427,000 vulnerable children in Maryland will benefit from the P-EBT program for a combined value of over $49 million in estimated benefits. Monthly benefits will be calculated at the daily rate of $5.70 per child for each day the child’s school was closed in a particular month.  

Maryland households with children who have temporarily lost access to free or reduced-price school meals due to pandemic-related school closures will be eligible for Pandemic-EBT benefits. Because Maryland public schools were closed to students effective March 16, 2020, approved households will be able to obtain retroactive benefits as a result. March, April, and May benefits will be issued in June, and Pandemic-EBT benefits will continue to be issued for the duration that schools are closed due to COVID-19. 

Maryland SNAP households qualifying for the Pandemic-EBT benefits will receive the additional benefits on their existing EBT card. Any SNAP recipients who have lost their EBT card may call the Maryland EBT Customer Call Center at 1-800-997-2222 to have a replacement card issued.