Whether you're looking to get tested, vaccinated, or find general information to guide you and your organization, see our resources below for Howard County residents regarding COVID-19.
Check our COVID-19 Community Level on the CDC website to help guide your daily COVID strategies against the virus.
COVID-19 Community Level Approach to COVID in the Community
The CDC released a new framework to monitor the level of COVID-19 in communities that includes hospitalizations, hospital capacity and cases. This new approach called COVID-19 Community Levels, focuses on preventing hospitals and the healthcare system from being overwhelmed and directing prevention efforts toward protecting people at high risk for severe illness. Rather than focusing on eliminating all virus transmission, CDC will recommend prevention measures, such as masks, when the level of severe disease in communities has the potential to overwhelm the healthcare system. These prevention measures can reduce that strain and avoid crisis.
Going forward, recommendations will be based on the level of COVID-19 in a community and the strain on healthcare;
- When communities are at a “low” level: Things are looking pretty good. In this circumstance, masks are not needed in most settings.
- When communities are at a “medium” level: Hospitals are seeing more sick patients and there is likely more disease in the community. The focus is on protecting the people who are most likely to get severely ill and die from COVID-19. In this circumstance, masks are optional. Persons at high-risk, or whom interact with someone who is immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease, may choose to wear well-fitting masks indoors in public.
- When communities are at a “high” level: There is potential the healthcare system could soon become strained. In this case, universal indoor masking is recommended, including schools and workplaces.
- Importantly, people may choose to mask at any time.
To check on Howard County's Community Level visit the CDC's COVID-19 Community Levels page.
KN95 and N95 Masks for the Community
More information about how to obtain masks may be found on our COVID-19 Prevention page.
Note: The Howard County COVID-19 Dashboard receives case data from the Maryland Department of Health (MDH). Due to the recent network security issue at MDH, case data is not available at this time. Reporting will resume when the issue is rectified.
CARES Act Spending Dashboard
The emergency legislation suspending some rules regarding outdoor dining expires on November 15, 2021. At that time, all “OS20” and “OS21” Outdoor Seating permits will expire and become invalid.
Knowing what a success and welcomed addition the outdoor seating has been to you and your customers, Howard County has developed an expedited process to allow you to request to keep your outdoor restaurant seating. Those who wish to make their temporary outdoor seating permanent, can do so but must get approval through one of two processes. Unfortunately, not all outdoor seating arrangements will be able to be approved. However, those that can be permitted must be approved through one of two processes: either the Simplified Permit Review, or the Permanent Outdoor Seating Review (POSR). (Note: Facilities served by a well and/or an On-site Sewage Disposal System are not eligible for the Simplified Permit Review.) To see if your outdoor seating can be made permanent and to determine which process you will need to follow go to:
If you have any questions, contact Jill Manion in the Department of Planning & Zoning (DPZ) at [email protected] or 410-313-2350, or Don Mock in the Department of Inspections, Licenses & Permits (DILP) at [email protected] or 410-313-2436.
‘HoCo Food Go,’ is a resource which lists and maps different delivery and carryout options for Howard County restaurants. Check out the map here.
'HoCo Farm Connect' is a resource which lists and maps Howard County farms that are selling produce, dairy, meat and more directly to residents. Check out the map here.
'HoCo Donation Collection' is a tool which lists and maps locations for Howard County residents to drop-off product donations needed during the COVID-19 pandemic.Check out the map here.
What is HoCo Rise?
HoCo RISE is Howard County Executive Calvin Ball’s plan of Reopening Innovatively, Safely, and Effectively within the framework laid out by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. HoCo RISE uses data to inform decision-making around reopening and, if necessary, when to maintain our restrictions:
- The number of new cases.
- The number of new hospitalizations.
- The number of patients admitted to ICU.
- The number of tests conducted.
- The amount of available PPE.
- Surge capacity at Howard County General Hospital (HCGH).
- HoCo RISE follows the Governor’s guidance on the building blocks for reopening
To view the complete HoCo RISE framework, please click here.
Howard County is offering HoCo RISE Business Grants funded through its allocation of the CARES Act. To learn more about how to apply and if you're eligible for a business grant, please click here. To see how Howard County has spent its CARES Act funding, please view our new dashboard here.
HoCo RISE Collaborative
County Executive Ball established the collaborative through Executive Order . The HoCo RISE Collaborative is chaired by former Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, will be supported by the Baltimore Metropolitan Council, and is made up of five independent workgroups that will develop and provide recommendations on the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, including:
- Jobs and the Economy
- Education and Workforce Development
- Public Health Response
- Family Opportunities
- Government Response