Calvin ball’s record on:
#1 in the State in Vaccinations
Thanks to the Ball Administration’s quick action and coordination across county government, Howard County continues to lead the state in vaccinations. The county was the first in the region to reach the milestone of 50 percent of residents receiving their first vaccination dose. Howard County was also the first in the state for residents 16 and up and 65 and up receiving at least one dose as of April 2021.
Leading an Equitable Vaccine Distribution
To ensure the County’s most vulnerable residents had an opportunity to be vaccinated, County Executive Ball directed the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services to use their Mobile Integrated Community Health units to reach people at their homes, congregate living facilities, religious congregations, and community centers.With this effort, Howard County closed disparities in vaccine access and uptake. Additionally, County Executive Ball entered into a partnership with Safeway and Alpha Pharmacies and the Howard County Public School System to promote and provide vaccines to Howard County students.
Supporting Our Frontline Workers
While many workers spent the majority of the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic working remotely, some did not have that option, particularly our emergency and healthcare workers who have been battling the disease on the frontline for over a year. To recognize the dedication and commitment of workers performing mission-critical work, County Executive Ball authorized a one-time discretionary bonus. Workers who received the bonus included firefighters, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, law enforcement officers, and more.
Creating a Vision for the Future
The COVID-19 pandemic not only changed life as we know it today but also changed the way life will look in the future. Understanding the importance of tackling these policy issues headfirst, County Executive Ball created the HoCo RISE Collaborative. This group of 50 members was charged with providing key recommendations in five policy areas related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The HoCo RISE Collaborative Report was released on the one-year anniversary of Howard County’s first COVID-19 case, outlining recommendations and a path forward for continued response and recovery.
Educating the Public to Keep People Safe
As COVID-19 cases began rising dramatically in the late fall of 2020, the Ball Administration launched the “Stay COVID Safe” campaign to provide residents with simple steps everyone can take to stop the spread of the virus. The campaign included print and TV advertising to target youth and minority communities, resources and marketing materials, the creation of the StayCOVIDSafe Alliance with County stakeholders, and an updated website to connect residents and businesses to the information they need on COVID-19 testing, vaccines, assistance, and more.
Utilizing a Data Driven Approach
When the state began relaxing some COVID-19 restrictions in the spring of 2020, local jurisdictions were encouraged to reopen at a pace best suited to each county’s individual case numbers. To guide Howard County’s reopening, County Executive Ball released HoCo RISE, his framework for reopening the county innovatively, safely, and effectively. This framework outlined metrics specific to Howard County that the Ball Administration would use to guide decisions around reopening. Many of the metrics included in the HoCo RISE framework were tracked on a public-facing dashboard located on the County’s COVID-19 website, including availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Throughout the pandemic, Howard County consistently maintained a 90 day supply of PPE
Assisting County Businesses in Times of Crisis
One of the groups most heavily impacted by the statewide stay-at-home order was the business community who faced plummeting revenues as their consumer base essentially disappeared. To support Howard County’s businesses during this time of crisis, County Executive Ball awarded nearly 2,000 HoCo RISE Business Grants to Howard County businesses totaling more than more than $18 million. Businesses who received grants included restaurants, small-retailers, farms, hotels, live venues, and childcare providers. As of January 31st, more than 76 percent of businesses that received grants were women, minority, or veteran owned. In addition, to connect consumers to businesses even in the midst of a pandemic, the Ball Administration created HoCo Food Go and HoCo Farm Go. These web-based tools allow users to see restaurants with take-out and delivery options nearby, as well as farms with food for sale.
Providing Critical Support to Howard County Residents
To support residents who were greatly struggling due to loss of income during the pandemic, County Executive Ball provided nearly $2.5 million in rental assistance funding. The Ball Administration also provided $1.5 million to 40 local nonprofits through the RISE to the Challenge grant program.
Expanding Access to COVID-19 Testing
With more buildings and schools opening their doors, it is critically important that testing remains accessible and widely available. In the spring of 2021, County Executive Ball launched new community-based mobile testing at five rotating sites throughout Howard County. This innovative testing strategy will ensure the County has the tools to stop outbreaks before they occur and help slow the spread of the virus. Rapid and PCR testing is available at no cost at each location.