Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – September 4, 2020

Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – September 4, 2020

The Ocean Pines Association (OPA) has been diligent in releasing information about positive COVID-19 cases among its personnel. There have now been four documented positive employee tests. In a statement, OPA General Manager John Viola reported, “Another worker in the Aquatics department tested positive for COVID-19. The employee has not returned to work and will not until it is safe to do so, consistent with CDC protocols. We notified the local health department of the situation and will cooperate fully with public health officials. We understand that the employee had no close contact with residents and minimal contact with other employees. We do not believe this employee had contact with the employee testing positive for COVID-19 earlier this month.”

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Also yesterday the OPA posted on its website some valuable information from the Worcester County Health Department. It was a question-and-answer format, which can be found on the OPA’s website for full review. A highlight for me was the question, “The county’s positivity rate is nearly triple the state positivity rate, and the highest it’s been since May 31. What does that mean?” The answer was, “Several factors are involved with the positivity rate. Over the past weeks we’ve dramatically increased testing within the county. We also have new, private labs entering the State reporting system who are not always reporting negative results. This will make the positivity seem particularly high. We also experience a massive population spike in the summer months and more people equal more chances for transmission of COVID-19. However, we know that positivity rates tend to ebb and flow from week-to-week. One of our primary focuses is to make sure that our hospital infrastructure and ICU capacity isn’t overtaxed. And even with the increase in positivity rates right now, we’re in strong shape.”

The information also included a statement about monitoring, saying, “Our hospitals and ICUs remain below capacity, we are releasing residents from isolation and quarantine daily, in fact we have released 1,691 people from monitoring as of this morning, and we have a recovery rate of 97%.”

Worcester Preparatory School Virtual Tour

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There have been a couple major crime events in Ocean City the last couple weeks.

Unlike the previous messaging in late June when arrests were highly publicized, the Ocean City Police Department kept under wraps the disturbing arrest of four Virginia individuals for armed robbery on the Boardwalk. Word got to us through a search of police calls for service. This is one of the more disturbing incidents of the summer for its randomness, and the suspects may not have been so quickly apprehended without solid police work. The incident occurred after 2 in the morning and involved a shotgun being used to hold up a woman and her 10-year-old niece on the Boardwalk. The full story can be found in the paper.

Additionally, in the police beat section, there’s a story on an armed Pennsylvania man and woman being involved in a fight outside a downtown pizza shop. Fortunately, the fight did not go to the next level, but police found a loaded handgun with a bullet in the chamber, along with a folding knife, when the male suspect was arrested.

What does all this mean? It just goes to show the criminal element is not just a June situation. It’s an issue that needs further review for sure over the off-season months.

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It was a relief Wednesday to learn the state’s Board of Public Works has removed from consideration any sort of reduction in the Maryland State Police Aviation service on the Eastern Shore. It had been announced last month the state was looking to cut either the service on the lower shore or the upper shore in the face of massive budget reductions needing to be made amid the pandemic. The good news is it’s off the table for now, but as Senator Mary Beth Carozza pointed out this week the subject could be returning in the future because the service will be studied.

“At today’s Board of Public Works, Governor Larry Hogan, Comptroller Peter Franchot and Treasurer Nancy Kopp ordered that no action take place regarding any base closures or MSP helicopter sale until a comprehensive aviation unit study is completed and vetted,” she posted on her Facebook page. She continued, “As I wrote in my letter to MSP Superintendent Jones, ‘The possible budget cuts to the Eastern Shore’s MSP Medevac services truly would have a life-threatening negative impact to my constituents and other Shore residents and visitors, especially in the remote rural areas on the Shore like Smith Island and in Ocean City which swells to the second-largest city in Maryland during the season.’”

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In other news, after five years on the market, the old Shore Drive-In movie property on Route 50 has been sold for $500,000. The 14.6-acre property was purchased as an investment by Keith Coffin of Delaware Elevator. At this point in time, there are no immediate plans for the property.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.