After receiving a phone call from Mr. Carl Magee relating to the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic and its impact on certain vulnerable citizens in Baltimore County, The Baltimore Post requested that Mr. Magee document his request for action in writing.
The following email is representative of the impact this deadly disease is having on the vulnerable citizens of Baltimore County.
Folks, there needs to be some type of coordinated effort to assist those in need and who can’t get out of their homes during this crisis. An example of this would be how our citizens rise to the occasion when there is a big snowstorm and those with 4 wheel drive vehicles volunteer to give rides to emergency personnel such as Doctors and Nurses. As many of you know I am in The Medicare Business and have many clients who are senior citizens and need help.
Right now I am in the process of making some food runs for current clients of mine who can’t get out and much more is needed. There needs to be a centralized and coordinated effort made where our citizens can volunteer to help where help is needed, and where those who need help can reach out. I am currently reaching out to those who can help. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
Based on that email, the Post decided to contact Baltimore County Executive Johnny O with the following suggestion:
To Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski Jr.:
Please read the following email sent to The Baltimore Post by Mr. Carl Magee regarding the COVID-19 Coronavirus crisis.
Mr. Magee also contacted The Post by phone and suggested Baltimore County formulate a plan to meet the needs of vulnerable seniors who are unable to fend for themselves.
The Post wants to suggest action that could go a long way in relieving some of the tremendous anxiety many of these vulnerable senior citizens face.
We believe the county should create a task force that would be divided among the councilmanic districts. The goal of the task force members will be to create list of restaurants and food stores that will deliver products to these at-risk seniors.
Breaking down the list by councilmanic districts will make it easier for people to find assistance in procuring the food, medicine, and other necessities needed to survive this emergency.
Once the list is established, it should be disseminated through every media outlet in Baltimore County. It can be daunting for seniors to access information through a complex government website.
It was suggested that The Baltimore Post develop this list, but we are a small news agency that doesn’t have the staff or resources for that task. We believe this type of action requires a government-level effort.
With that said, we pledge our support in promoting this list to the public. We will be happy to create a banner at the top of our main page that links to the list, as well as provide any other information that will be useful to anyone who needs help in securing the basics in order to survive this national emergency.
As the Chinese Coronavirus continues to spread unabated, states like California are urging people to shelter in place. Should this happen in Maryland—and that is a real possibility—we question how vulnerable adults will survive without some sort of assistance.
Mr. Olszewski, we believe the county developing this task force and list will be a big step in providing such assistance, and we hope you will take this suggestion seriously.
Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.
Mr. Magee received the following email response:
My email address has been sent to all Department Heads and Baltimore County Council Members asking to have anyone willing to Volunteer to contact me directly with their name, contact information, along with the area and times available to volunteer. The County Executive’s Office of Community Engagement will be emailing all community leaders as well to share with members of the community to build our Volunteer base up. I than log them into the Volunteer database base and as request come in we call upon the list of volunteers to assist with request case by case depending on location, time, and availability of volunteers.
I hope this information is helpful.
Sr. Outreach Coordinator
Office of Baltimore County Executive’s Community Engagement
400 Washington Avenue,
Towson, Maryland 21204
Office: (410) 887-2450
Apparently someone in Baltimore County is not getting the message that this crisis does not adhere to normal working hours. Sadly, when people call two of the most important phone numbers, nobody answers the phone.
How insensitive of the pandemic to not respect the 9 to 5 workday…
Meanwhile, Johnny O announced the suspension of town hall meetings and closing of senior centers. Time will tell if this was a “Johnny-come-lately” moment for our county executive.
Even the Dundalk Eagle was asking for assistance from the readers to gather important information on dealing with this public health crisis.
In the second installment of this investigative series, the Post will delve into trying to navigate the multiple websites of various government agencies. This endeavor only leads to more confusion among those already stressed about just trying to survive.
The Baltimore Post interviewed one person with advanced computer skills who stated that most government websites are so convoluted, especially to those unfamiliar with technology, that they are almost impossible to navigate.
So much for just putting information online and hoping that people find it.
For now, we’ll leave you with the two messages we received when attempting to contact so-called hotlines from the county Department of Health and the county Police department:
The Baltimore County Department of Health Hotline
The Baltimore County Police Public Information Hotline
Drastic action will be necessary to provide all aspects of the government’s response to this deadly crisis. It will require all hands on deck for sure, folks.