If you ask Gov. Larry Hogan, or any other state governor, for that matter, we are woefully behind having the necessary tests to detect COVID-19. While more tests are seemingly becoming available, there’s still a finite number. We’re hearing from people who have symptoms but whose doctors can’t get them the test. It’s frustrating for them and not helpful in determining where there are high concentrations of cases.
The medical community is doing the best it can, and we have nothing but praise and admiration for the first responders who are rushing to help. The most visible of that help came this week as Frederick Health Hospital opened the county’s drive-through testing clinic. We can’t say enough good things about them.
But they need help. We all need help. That means the federal government must ramp up the number of test kits, as well as ventilators and protective gear, faster than it is.
The closing of schools last week left a lot of students wondering about their access to the free meal service. But Frederick County Public Schools, nonprofits and local businesses have stepped up to make sure that these students have meal options.
FCPS is providing up to three meals a day at eight schools for any child under the age of 18. The meals are all carryout. Nonprofits such as Blessings in a Backpack, the nonprofit that works to feed FCPS students over weekends and breaks, provided students with two weekends’ worth of food as well as three days’ worth of “Blizzard Bags” and emergency snack packs.
Businesses such as Chaps Pitt Beef in Westview Shopping Center in Frederick, Canapes Catering and Thurmont Kountry Kitchen are offering free meals to school-aged children at any time during operating hours. As we write this, more are joining to make sure kids won’t go hungry.
There are lots of families who are appreciative of this service. And given the economic realities of this pandemic, many more will likely need help. We’re fortunate that we have folks stepping up to help.
It may have been an abbreviated state General Assembly session, but local lawmakers were still to able to bring back about $8 million in capital funds for Frederick County. This makes up for the $5 million in funds squandered last year when a political debate over whether that money should be used for a downtown Frederick hotel and conference center. Sens. Ron Young (D-Frederick) and Michael Hough (R-Frederick and Carroll) put that argument aside to find ways to keep that original $5 million and then some.
“I told Senator Young, when you and I work together on these capital projects, we’re quite the team,” Hough told reporter Steve Bohnel earlier this week. For their efforts, a number of Frederick area projects will benefit, from $2.5 million for Frederick Health Hospital improvements and $1.5 million for upgrades to the county’s Adult Detention Center to money for the Brunswick reservoir site and many more local projects.
All in all, not a bad haul for Frederick County, particularly in these tight times.
With bars and restaurants closed until further notice, there isn’t as much going on in downtown Frederick right now. But if you do visit, you should venture down to Carroll Creek and check out a really cool art project.
Under the auspices of the Rotary Club of Carroll Creek, three artists created the Carroll Creek Kinetic Art Promenade, consisting of sculptures that move and change with the wind. The artwork adds color and life to the creek, which was in need of something to spruce it up after the Winter Solstice boats were removed.
And as social distancing is further encouraged and more public places are temporally shuttered, these pretty sculptures — standing in the water between the suspension and stone bridges — might be a welcome distraction, especially since they are outside and looking at them does not require you to be within 6 feet of anyone. So if you get the chance, head downtown and see them on a nice day. You won’t be disappointed.
Yeas and nays is a weekly feature of quick-hit opinions from The Frederick News-Post’s editorial board. Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.