Somerset County prepares for Isaias’ landfall with temporary shelter

PRINCESS ANNE, Md. – Counties across Delmarva are preparing for the landfall of Isaias. In Somserset County, a shelter opened Monday night with the help of the American Red Cross. The Somerset County Department of Emergency Services and volunteers welcomed people to the temporary shelter at Washington High School.

The American Red Cross tells us that COVID-19 is presented a unique set of challenges for keeping everybody safe. “We’re in an entirely different environment than we’ve been in the past. So, people need to be comfortable coming to a congregate shelter – and in the current environment we’re asking people not to congregate,” said Executive Director for the Delmarva Chapter of the American Red Cross Theresa Young.

Somerset County workers and volunteers say they’re juggling giving people shelter and trying to prevent the spread of COVID-19. “We’re still dealing with COVID-19, so if you are evacuating you need to be aware that masks will be required at the shelter and you should be bringing your personal protective supplies,” said Public Information Officer for Somerset County Julie Widdowson.

Those going to the shelter are asked to bring their own PPE, blankets, pillows, and personal hygiene products. Also, pets are allowed, but owners are asked to bring their shot records, medications, and crates if they have them. Free transportation was provided to Washington High School from multiple points around Somerset County.

Young says typically human contact is a big part of getting through a serious storm – but this time around things are different. “Normally we would have a lot of people on the ground who could hug and care. At this point we’ve taken hugs out of the toolbox, and what we are doing as we’ve got about 30% on the ground and 70% virtually,” said Young.

Widdowson says despite the challenges of the pandemic – being prepared for dangerous storms is key. “We always prepare and we always urge our residents to be prepared. Have a plan – know where you’re going to go, have a plan how your family is going to communicate,” said Widdowson.

The American Red Cross tells 47ABC that they will continue accepting people until their capacity is met Monday night. They also say that people can also download their emergency app. It allows users to locate shelters, track incoming severe weather – and even locate family and friends who are also using the app. You can also find storm preparedness and recovery tips and resources.

Categories: Coronavirus, Local News, Maryland