The global COVID-19 pandemic not only altered everyday life but changed the way the world will operate for decades into the future. Governments were forced to adapt to a constantly changing landscape, responding often without notice to changes in policy. Businesses struggled to stay afloat in the face of statewide stay-at-home orders. In Howard County, Calvin Ball led through this challenging time with a data-informed and people-driven approach that ensured decisions were not made in a vacuum, but instead were done in coordination with healthcare professionals based upon relevant metrics. The Ball Administration worked tirelessly to support businesses by creating tools to connect them to customers and expedited processes to help keep their businesses alive. When tests, and later vaccines, became available, the Ball Administration jumped into action to deploy resources as quickly as possible across Howard County.
Howard County was the first in the region to reach the milestone of 50 percent of residents receiving their first vaccination dose. The 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. Other accomplishments include:
- Creating 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.
- 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.
- Releasing HoCo RISE, a framework for reopening the county innovatively, safely, and effectively, and the HoCo RISE Dashboard.