Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott will hold a telephone town hall meeting Thursday afternoon about the coronavirus pandemic with former Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Joshua Sharfstein.
People can call into the town hall starting at 6:15 p.m. by dialing (855) 756-7520 and entering the pin 57975#.
Scott said he decided to hold the town hall to better inform Baltimoreans about coronavirus and what they can do to limit its spread.
“Despite the constant barrage of information coming from myself, from other elected officials, from health professionals, we can see consistently and we hear questions every day when I do my live feed from people about ‘Why is this so serious?’” he said.
Once on the call, listeners will be able to ask a question by pressing a button on their phone that will connect them with a member of the council president’s office. That staff member will then take down the person’s question and submit it to Scott, said Stefanie Mavronis, Scott’s communications director.
Maryland saw an increase of at least 157 new confirmed coronavirus cases Thursday morning, “by far the largest one-day increase to date,” Gov. Larry Hogan said.
The spike brought the state’s total number of confirmed cases to 580, as of 10 a.m. Thursday. Just the day before, Maryland had surpassed 400 confirmed cases.
Scott said he had been planning the town hall even before Maryland saw sharp increases in the number of confirmed cases this week because he wanted residents to be able to talk directly to a trusted public health professional.
“We want for folks to hear from some of the best public health professionals, and we’re blessed to have people like Dr. Sharfstein in Baltimore,” Scott said.
Scott also hopes that conducting the town hall over the phone will help reach people who do not have access to the internet or television.
“It’s also about reaching a population that we know is not going to get it on social media, and people that we know might not have access to TV and news,” he said. “We have to reach everybody that we can in Baltimore to spread this information out.”
People who do not get their questions asked and answered during the town hall can leave a voicemail at the end of the call. Staff members from the council president’s office will then follow up and get those individuals the information they need, Mavronis said.
Mavronis added that people can also email email@example.com or call the council president’s office number at (410) 396-4804, which will be staffed even while office members are working remotely.