The surreal scenario that is the coronavirus has challenged Calvert County residents and has local law enforcement on its guard.
“We’re just trying to help people,” said Calvert County Sheriff Mike Evans (R).
The local sheriff’s office’s ranks of deputies have trained in a variety of scenarios, including active shooter and mass casualty.
“I don’t think we’ve ever dealt with anything like this,” said Evans, who told The Calvert Recorder that deputies lately have conducted a lot of patrol checks in local parks to make sure citizens are adhering to state directives to practice social distancing.
While a quarantine was imposed on the current class of recruits at the Southern Maryland Criminal Justice Academy, Evans reported no patrol deputies have needed to be tested for the virus.
Last week, the Maryland State Police issued a long list of modifications they hope will reduce the exposure to the virus for troopers and citizens.
In addition to access to the barracks and other walk-in services, 911 callers seeking police response will be asked a few COVID-19-related questions.
The MSP press release stated, “the information will be relayed to the duty officer who will ensure all troopers responding to the scene put on personal protective equipment they carry. Contact will also be made with emergency medical services for assistance, if possible.”
“We are actively involved in supporting the enforcement of the governor’s orders related to limiting crowd size and closing certain businesses in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus,” said Lt. Jimmie Meurrens, Prince Frederick Barrack commander. “We are asking for voluntary compliance and fortunately are seeing that most often. However, those who violate the Governor’s executive orders could face arrest and a fine of up to $5,000 or one year in jail, or both.”
While Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) did not impose a shelter-in-place directive as some thought he might Monday, he did announce the closure of businesses statewide deemed nonessential.
“We have all received FEMA training which helps during events like this where coordination with our local and federal partners is paramount to success,” Meurrens said when asked about the MSP’s readiness amid the crisis. “We have been issued personal protective equipment and trained in how to use it. We have also been trained in our policy regarding bloodborne pathogens and related issues. Some of our troopers at the barrack are part of the state’s Mobile Field Force and they have received extensive training in responding to a variety of emergency situations. We are receiving frequent guidance from our superintendent and command staff regarding our procedures and policies related to our response to this emergency.
“We are trained to handle all types of emergencies and do so regularly in less than favorable conditions,” he said. “I see this as being no different.”
Residents seeking essential products that will be needed for any lengthy stay at home have found the purchase of many of those products to be problematic. “I went to three stores to look for toilet paper one morning,” John Traas of Lusby stated. “The third store was a hit. I can’t believe that in 2020 there is a big demand for toilet paper like never before.”
Some of the grocery stores in Calvert, such as Safeway in Prince Frederick and Harris-Teeter in Dunkirk, have placed limits on the number of paper products shoppers may buy. However, Giant, which has three stores in Calvert County, has no such sanctions at this time.
“Giant is not imposing purchase limits on any products at this time, either in-store or through Giant delivers,” Daniel Wolk, a spokesman for the grocery chain, told The Calvert Recorder. “We are asking our customers to be courteous while shopping and only buy what they need so that supply may be available to others. We are working with all of our supply chain partners to replenish products as quickly as possible.”
While schools remain closed, some students and faculty have been busy outside the classrooms. “We’ve been working hard with End Hunger in Calvert County,” said Patuxent High School social studies teacher Jennifer McCulley, who added that she and her coworkers have been driving around trying to reach students in need. “We’ve delivered food to students we were worried couldn’t make the ‘grab and go’ locations. A lot of awesome teachers and school staff have been showing up to put together bags with food pantry food and food donated by very gracious neighbors. Our community is really coming together.”
The local clergy is also reaching out to the community without literally touching anyone. According to Sue Stavely of the staff at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in North Beach, “the priest set up drive-through confessions and is also offering adoration. All of our priests are finding ways to keep in touch with their people.”
Many county residents have been given the go-ahead to telework in their homes—on land and the water. “I’m currently living and teleworking aboard my 40-foot Mainship 350 Trawler at the Calvert Marina with my daughter,” Alex Louis Cadiz posted on The Calvert Recorder’s Facebook page. “I’ve made a few trips to the store for essentials. Social distancing is easy, especially when you anchor out.” The Recorder encourages our readers to continue sending us your “social distancing stories.” Send your stories to email@example.com.