This is a rapidly evolving situation and CPA will provide updates as they become available.
General Policy Statement: Chesapeake Paddlers Association, Inc. generally recognizes the value of social distancing in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Event and trip leaders are cautioned to consider the state of emergency with regard to the virus and cancel or postpone planned events or trips until such time as the pandemic is deemed under control. Small groups can still meet safely if participants observe the prevention measures below, and choose to self-isolate if they a) have been tested and diagnosed with the disease, b) show any of the symptoms below, c) have recently traveled to any of the domestic or international virus “hot spots”, or d) been in contact with people who meet a) through c). Participants should practice the prevention measures below during the event and event leaders should emphasize the need for self-isolation and following preventative measures.
COVID-19 is a disease caused by a respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019. COVID-19 is a new virus that hasn’t caused illness in humans before. Worldwide, COVID-19 has resulted in thousands of infections, causing illness and in some cases death. Cases have spread to countries throughout the world, with more cases reported daily.
COVID-19 is thought to be able to spread like the cold or flu through:
- coughing and sneezing, which creates respiratory droplets
- close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
- touching an object or surface with the virus on it
Symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- shortness of breath
- in more severe cases, pneumonia (infection in the lungs)
The vast majority of people recover from this infection. Most people will have mild or moderate symptoms.
At-Risk Individuals: Older adults (age 60+) and those with pre-existing medical conditions have a greater risk for serious illness, and in some cases death, if they become infected with COVID-19. Examples of pre-existing medical conditions include: cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other conditions that impact the immune system’s ability to fight germs.
Currently, people deemed at risk for contracting COVID-19 are those who:
- recently traveled to geographic areas of concern
- have close, personal contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19
- care for people with COVID-19
Prevention: There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19. Many experts are at work developing one. As with any new vaccine, it must be tested to make certain it is safe and effective. It may take over a year for a COVID-19 vaccine to become available.
You can take everyday preventive steps that are always recommended to slow the spread of respiratory illnesses like colds and flu:
- wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
- use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not available
- cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, your sleeve or your elbow
- avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using standard cleaning practices
- avoid close contact with people who are sick
- if you are sick, stay home, except when seeking medical care
If you are an older adult or you have one and more chronic health conditions, you can take action to reduce your risk of exposure to COVID-19:
- take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others
- when you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often with soap and water or hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol content
- avoid crowds as much as possible
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a global pandemic in response to the virus, and the President has declared a national emergency for the United StateThe State of Maryland on March 13, 2020, instituted the following emergency actions in response to the virus pandemic:
- RAISING MEMA ACTIVATION LEVEL TO FULL: Governor Hogan raised the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) activation level to full, meaning that the State Emergency Operations Center is now operating at its highest level and that there will be full coordination of state response activities and resources.
- ACTIVATION OF NATIONAL GUARD: The governor directed the National Guard to move to a higher state of readiness in order to carry out any necessary emergency functions, such as food distribution or other critical areas of need. Read the executive order.
- PROHIBITION ON MASS GATHERINGS AND
CLOSURE OF SENIOR CENTERS:
- Effective immediately, gatherings of more than 250 people, including social, community, spiritual, religious, recreational, leisure, and sporting gatherings, are prohibited at all locations and venues. Read the executive order.
- Planned large gatherings and events must be canceled or postponed until after termination of the state of emergency and the proclamation of the catastrophic health emergency has been rescinded.
- All senior citizen activities centers shall be closed beginning on Friday, March 13, 2020 until after termination of the state of emergency and the proclamation of the catastrophic health emergency has been rescinded.
- CLOSURE OF SCHOOLS: Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) State Superintendent Karen Salmon is directing that beginning on Monday, March 16, all schools throughout Maryland will close through Friday, March 27, 2020. Read the MSDE press release.
- CLOSURE OF CRUISE TERMINAL AT PORT OF BALTIMORE: No passenger or crew member will be allowed to disembark at any terminal at the Port of Baltimore from any passenger vessel that has made a call at port outside of the United States since January 31, 2020. Read the executive order.
- GUIDANCE TO HOSPITALS FOR VISITATION POLICIES: The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) is advising hospitals to adopt new procedures to limit visitation, including:
- No one under the age of 18 is
permitted to visit, including in all waiting areas and common spaces.
- Only one adult visitor per patient in all areas of the hospital.
- Visitors should be screened for flu-like symptoms.
- Visitors who have traveled internationally may not visit for 14 days after arrival into the United States.
OF VISITS TO CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES: The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional
Services (DPSCS) is suspending all visits to its correctional facilities
effective immediately. The department will provide free phone calls and video
visitation for inmates.
- There have been no cases of coronavirus in our correctional facilities.
- At this time, facility programming will continue on a case-by-case basis.
- DPSCS will re-evaluate the situation often in an effort to restore normal visits as soon as possible.
- MANDATORY TELEWORK FOR NON-ESSENTIAL STATE EMPLOYEES: Governor Hogan is directing the Department of Budget and Management to implement a period of mandatory telework, beginning Friday, March 13, across state agencies for all non-essential state employees. Read the executive order here. Read the Department of Budget and Management’s guidance here.
- DAY-TO-DAY OPERATIONS OF STATE GOVERNMENT: As he continues to manage the crisis, Governor Hogan is delegating the day-to-day operations of state government to Lt. Governor Rutherford.
- STATE OF EMERGENCY: This week, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic. The State of Maryland is continuing to operate under a state of emergency, and all levels of government are taking a comprehensive, collaborative approach to keep Marylanders safe. The list of ongoing state actions is available at governor.maryland.gov/coronavirus.
- For health resources regarding COVID-19, including case counts and clinician guidance, Marylanders should visit health.maryland.gov/coronavirus.
The level of social restriction indicated in State and National emergency guidance should inform our decisions with regard to cancelling or postponing planned events and trips.