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Hospital Tents Going Up, Restaurants Closing - Montgomery County Prepares for COVID-19 Virus Spread

For Immediate Release: Monday, March 16, 2020

With the number of COVID-19 cases growing to 15 in Montgomery County, local hospitals are gearing up while restaurants, bars, and theaters are closing.

County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles said even though the County and the State are now taking extraordinary steps to stop the spread of COVID-19, more cases are certain to be reported. Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring installed a tent today on its parking lot, while other local hospitals are making similar plans.

“We wanted to let our community know that they should not be alarmed when they start to see tents popping up at our area hospitals,” said Dr. Gayles. “This is actually a sign of preparedness. We want to ensure that due to this highly contagious virus, we separate those who are seeking traditional ER care from the people who may be infected. The tents also help us boost capacity to treat patients.”

In a video message, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said he supports the actions of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan who ordered all restaurants, bars, theaters and gyms in the state to close as of 5 p.m. Monday, March 16.

“Governor Hogan's actions today to close bars and restaurants is significant and drastic, but it is what we have to do,” said County Executive Elrich. “We all must understand that we are in a State of Emergency and that means taking every precaution possible to eradicate this deadly virus and so we can all return to our daily routines.  The challenge is that we just don’t know when that will be.”

Elrich said many residents have contacted his office with offers to help seniors and other vulnerable populations who are self-quarantining.  The County is coordinating volunteer opportunities through the Montgomery Volunteer Center.

For the latest COVID-19 updates, visit the County’s COVID-19 website and follow

Montgomery County on Facebook @MontgomeryCountyInfo and Twitter @MontgomeryCoMD.

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Release ID: 20-091
Media Contact: Julie Parker