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New COVID-19 Cases in Montgomery County Brings Total to 12

For Immediate Release: Sunday, March 15, 2020

County Executive Marc Elrich and County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles announced that Montgomery County now has 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the latest information from State health officials.

“We have learned from the Maryland Department of Health that we have six new cases, bringing our total number of cases to 12,” said Dr. Gayles.  “We expected this increase in cases and it will likely continue.  Montgomery County is working around the clock to address the COVID-19 crisis and our primary goal will be to continue to protect the health and safety of our residents and to provide the latest information.”

In a press conference this afternoon, Gayles said with the expected rise in cases, moving forward, individual cases will not be reported.  “We know the number of cases will continue to increase so we will not have the capacity to continue reporting individual cases,” he said.

Among the six new cases are four men and two women. The men are in their 20’s to 70’s and the women are in their 20’s and 30’s.

In a message to County residents today, Gayles said while more tests are available in community-based laboratories, hospitals and urgent care centers, the decision to test someone for COVID-19 is still based on Centers for Disease Control (CDC) criteria and is limited to individuals with symptoms. 

While those guidelines continue to be expanded, there is NO walk-in, on demand testing for the general public unless they have symptoms and fit those guidelines.  “I understand the public’s concern about the lack of widespread testing availability, but the guidance about what to do if you have symptoms will not change with a test results,” Gayles said.  He urged residents to self-isolate if they are ill and to seek symptom relief with standard fever-reducing medication, adding, “individuals with severe symptoms may require hospitalization but by and large, most of us will have mild symptoms and recover.”

Montgomery County has about 10,000 employees serving a county with more than one million residents.  Elrich emphasized that the health and safety of employees is paramount, while also maintaining some continuity of services.  For example, County employees are assisting in multiple response activities including staffing a call center. Beginning Monday, March 16 through March 27, recreation facilities, libraries and senior centers are closed.  During this time, the Department of General Services is performing enhanced cleaning of County buildings, including daily cleaning of Ride On buses.  Visit the COVID-19 website for a complete list of cancellations and service modifications as of 8:30 p.m. Sunday, March 15.

“County government is open with employees teleworking where possible.  As a result, there may be some modification of services. In-person services offered, such as SNAP applications, will continue, although we encourage residents to access online services, including applications, as much as possible,” said Elrich.

Speaking directly to Montgomery County’s students, the County Executive said, “To the kids, these are not snow days, this is not time off, people are not getting to have a vacation, this isn’t spring break, this is really serious. And even though you’ve heard that younger people don’t necessarily get sick, you have to understand that younger people can be carriers of the virus.”

Visit our COVID-19 webpage and follow us on Facebook @montgomerycountyinfo and Twitter @MontgomeryCoMD.

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Release ID: 20-089
Media Contact: Julie Parker