LA PLATA, Md. – On Tuesday, Jan. 5, Department of Emergency Services Director Michelle Lilly and Health Officer Dianna Abney provided the Board of County Commissioners with an update on the COVID-19 public health emergency. COVID-19 vaccinations have begun with first responders and healthcare workers. The public will be able to get vaccinated based on the state’s phased plan for prioritizing groups who need it most. The Department of Health will provide this information on their website as it is available. The public is encouraged to get tested through their medical provider, urgent care center, or local pharmacy. A drive-through testing site is available every Tuesday at Regency Furniture Stadium, and appointments are required in advance by scheduling online. Residents should also get their annual flu shot. The University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center provided an update on COVID cases, including a significant increase in COVID hospital patients over the past two weeks in Maryland. Chief of Media Services Jennifer Harris provided an update on the county’s communications efforts, which are focused on informing residents about the upcoming COVID-19 vaccinations and reminders to continue to wear masks, social distancing, and avoiding out-of-state travel and large gatherings of family and friends.

Open Session Briefings
• Department of Community Services provided a briefing on Charles County Housing Authority programs and services, including recent accomplishments and new initiatives.  The briefing included updates on the Housing Choice Voucher program and plans to reopen the wait list on a periodic basis in the future to provide increased housing opportunities for families in Charles County. The department also discussed housing preservation programs for low-income families; homeownership programs to build financial stability and facilitate equitable access aimed at reducing the wealth gap; various community development initiatives; and a preview of new service initiatives planned for 2021.

Approval Items

Commissioners also approved the following items:

• A fiscal 2021 budget transfer request of $10,000 to match the USDA Rural Housing Preservation Grant, which will provide housing repairs for low to very-low income rural residents.

• A request to set a virtual public hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 6 p.m. for an amendment to the Development Rights and Responsibilities Agreement for Christopher Pointe.

• A request to set a virtual public hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 6 p.m. for the Zoning Text Amendment 20-156 Agricultural Related Uses.

• A memorandum of understanding between the County Commissioners, Sherriff of Charles County, and the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 24 concerning fiscal 2021 wages.

On Wednesday, Jan. 6, the County Commissioners attended the Education Association of Charles County Legislative reception virtually.

Next Commissioners Session: January 12, 2021 (held virtually)

Citizens with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or Relay Service TDD: 800-735-2258.