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Allegany County Emergency Services Gives COVID-19 Overview

March 23rd, 2020 by WCBC Radio

During Governor Larry Hogan’s  Monday morning press conference, he has enacted an emergency order to close all non-essential businesses across the state effective at 5 p.m. today to aid in the slowing the spread of COVID-19. Allegany County remains one of four counties in Maryland with no confirmed cases, according to local health officials.

“Public health and public safety have been working together around the clock to ensure that citizens of Allegany County are protected and safe,” Emergency Services Director James Pyles said.

Pyles said his team at the Department of Emergency Services and allied agencies including the Allegany County Health Department, Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems, Maryland Emergency Management Agency, UPMC-Western Maryland and county law enforcement spend hours daily receiving updates on the best practices and procedures for citizens and healthcare providers.

"We have an incredibly experienced, talented and passionate team working for you," Pyles added. 

After Governor Hogan’s morning announcement, essential personnel are limited to the following categories: Healthcare; Public health; Law Enforcement; Public Safety and First Responders; Food and Agriculture, including grocery stores, pharmacies, farms and food delivery services; Energy, including electricity, petroleum, nature and propane gas workers; Water and Wastewater; Transportation and Logistics; Public Works; Communication and Information Technology; Community-Based Government operations with essential functions; Critical Manufacturing; Hazardous Materials management; Financial Services; Chemical Industry; and Defense Industrial Base.

This emergency order is not a shelter-in-place order, however, Pyles echoed Governor Hogan’s comments and urged Marylanders to remain home, adhere to social distancing guidelines.

“I want to thank the amazing residents of Allegany county for staying home and helping us maintain and control this pandemic. At this time there are 20 counties to include Baltimore City that have positive, confirmed cases of COVID-19,” Pyles said. “Allegany County remains one of three counties with no positive cases.”

Pyles reminded citizens that testing for COVID-19 is not as simple it may seem. However, UPMC-Western Maryland and other healthcare providers are testing citizens at same rate as other counties in Maryland. Some patients may experience extended wait times for results as labs are overwhelmed and unable to keep up with the nationwide demand.

“County health officials report that test kits and materials are in short supply,” Pyles said. “As a community, we need to prioritize the testing for the sickest citizens.”

The Allegany County Health Department reports that not everyone needs a COVID-19 specimen collection. The sicker you are, the more likely you should be tested for COVID-19. Get immediate medical attention if you start to experience difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in your chest, confusion, difficulty staying alert or bluish color in your lips or face. We are all in this tougher. Speak to your healthcare provider by phone to determine if your case requires a COVID-19.

“Public safety and public health want to remind citizens to do their part to conserve resources in this critical time,” Pyles said. “You as Allegany County Residents remain vigilant and passionate on bringing our community together as one.”

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