Update: 7:00 p.m. EST.- Ball touts unity and cooperation amid COVID in State of County address. “If we work together we will rise together,” Ball said in the speech.
Howard County Executive Calvin Ball will emphasize the principles of unity and perseverance in the face of the coronavirus pandemic in his annual State of the County address on Wednesday evening.
“I think that we are demonstrating that we are a resilient county, a resilient state, a resilient nation-and that if we work together we will rise together. And not only work to survive this pandemic-but on the other side of it-rise,” Ball (D) told MarylandReporter.com in a response to a question during an online press gaggle on Wednesday afternoon.
MarylandReporter.com asked Ball to describe the main theme of his address in one word.
“Rise,” the county executive replied.
The address will be posted to Ball’s Facebook page at 6 p.m. EST. Reporters who participated in the virtual press gaggle were provided with advanced copies of the speech via text and video. The materials are embargoed until this evening and thus cannot be published in his story. The address was originally scheduled to be delivered to a Chamber of Commerce luncheon but the in-person event was cancelled due to the pandemic.
Ball previewed one of the initiatives that he said he will be announcing in the speech.
“Tonight we will be announcing a major step in recovery from this pandemic. Tonight we will announce the HoCo Rise collaborative, which will be chaired by former [Howard] County Executive Ken Ulman. And it will be an effort comprised of five different workgroups that will examine and provide recommendations in the following subject areas: jobs and the economy, education and workforce development, health care, quality of life, and government response.”
Ball added: “Along with our HoCo Rise task force, this collaborative will serve as a necessary conduit as we work to not only restore but reinvent the way that we create and implement policies that impact our community as we work to emerge from this pandemic and for years to come.”
Ball noted there have been more than 5,800 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Howard County and that 130 people in the county have died from the virus.
Ball said Howard County is doing better economically than most of Maryland.
“With the groundwork laid by our administration and with our economic development authority we made progress in empowering our residents to get back to work safely. With a most recent unemployment rate of 5.4%, which is down from 8.1% in April-is one of the lowest in the state of Maryland and has decreased steadily since June.”
There are 142,425 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maryland as of Wednesday morning, according to the state’s Department of Health, and 3,969 people in Maryland have died from the virus. The state’s positivity rate is at 3.36%, which is better than that of most states in the country. Maryland has conducted more than 3.3 million COVID-19 tests.