Staff are assigned to research rumors and get the facts.
Reisterstown, Md (KM). Residents may be confused with all of the rumors swirling around during the COVID-19 pandemic., but there is a place where they can find answers. The Maryland Emergency Management Agency has set up a Rumor Control Page, where citizens can submit rumors, and MEMA staff will research and get back with the correct information.
“If we think it’s something that deserves clarification, then they’ll do the research. They’ll go to the Maryland Department of Health, or they’ll go to the CDC website, some good,vetted quality location and get the appropriate information,” says Ed McDonough, MEMA spokesman.
McDonough said it started as an internal website among MEMA staff to answer questions about the Governor’s executive orders to attack the COVID-19 virus. From there, it went public in April.
He says MEMA staff use many sources to check out rumors. “They kind of look at what’s trending and what’s important, and where they think gaps are in public understanding, and that’s what they’ll base the information on,”: he says.
One example that MEMA staff had to research was the meaning of one of the Governor’s executive orders requiring most citizens to remain home, and only go to obtain food and medicine or go to a job that’s considered essential. He says there wasa rumor that the police would pull over drives randomly to see what you’re doing. He said that’s not correct. “What happens is if someone gets into an accident or maybe has a speeding tickets, if they’re out and not trying to go the grocery store or not going to an essential workplace, then they could have a citation added to their ticket,”> says McDonough.
He says some the other issues people ask about include the Novel Coronavirus and the disease it causes COVID-19; Maryland and Federal Government orders; and schools and education.
“There is no political agenda to it It’s just a matter of getting good information out to everybody,” McDonough says. “If people are hearing things in the community that they’re not sure about, they can go to that page and post a rumor or something they’re hearing. And we will either say ‘yes, that is correct,’ or ‘no, it’s not;’ Or maybe, it’s partly correct and give them the right information.”
The webpage address is https://govstatus.egov.com/md-coronavirus-rumor-control
By Kevin McManus