SNOW HILL – Worcester County Commissioner Joe Mitrecic outlined local actions to fight the spread of COVID-19 in a state of the county address Wednesday.
Mitrecic, president of the board, discussed the county’s efforts to support actions taken by Gov. Larry Hogan in an online video.
“My fellow commissioners and I recognize that the actions we have already and are continuing to implement are unprecedented, never before seen or experienced by most of us in our lifetimes, but these measures are meant to save lives by stopping the spread of COVID-19,” he said.
In accordance with Hogan’s executive orders, Mitrecic said the county had closed all non-essential businesses, prohibited large gatherings and instructed residents to stay at home. The county declared a local state of emergency on March 16 and on April 1 issued a declaration restricting non-essential short-term rentals.
“Our goal is to elicit voluntary compliance with the county’s latest emergency declaration however due to the deadly nature of this health crisis in instances where these directives are not obeyed we’re prepared to fully enforce this action,” Mitrecic said.
As of Wednesday, he said 215 individuals in Worcester County had been tested for COVID-19. Ten tested positive, and four of those have been released from health monitoring.
“The others are still being monitored,” he said. “If the recovery process seems lengthy it’s important to understand that there is a 14-day public health monitoring period. That time frame is the same for those under self quarantine.”
Meanwhile, Atlantic General Hospital and Peninsula Regional Medical Center have been implementing changes to ensure they have enough beds for potential coronavirus cases. Mitrecic said AGH has the 83 beds recommended by state hospital officials.
Mitrecic reminded residents to complete the 2020 Census, which is now underway. He said that so far, only 22.4% of county residents had taken part.
“We need everyone’s help to shape the county’s future,” he said, adding that Census figures would help determine, for example, the number of vaccines the county might need.
Though the last few meetings of the commissioners have been canceled, the board is expected to host some sort of online meeting April 14. Mitrecic said an online county budget hearing would be held May 5.
“More information about this first ever online county budget hearing will be forthcoming,” he said. “At this time, the requested budget includes no property tax increase.”