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County Executive Marc Elrich and Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles Provide Roadmap for Reopening Community After COVID-19

For Immediate Release: Saturday, May 9, 2020

            Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles today said they are not ready to reopen the County until the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations is on a sustained decline. Citing Governor Larry Hogan’s recent order opening a limited number of outdoor activities, the County Executive said Montgomery County officials will be deliberate and thoughtful in planning when to loosen restrictions and begin to reopen businesses and services.

            “We are in a densely populated metropolitan area, and we share borders with other jurisdictions.  It is important that whatever any one of us does, we all do,” said County Executive Elrich.  “Until we are all ready to open, it is not prudent for any one of us to open.”

            As of today, Montgomery County has 6,555 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and there have been 336 deaths from COVID-19.  Another 33 deaths are classified as probable cases.

            The County continues to work closely with the EMS system and network of six hospitals to monitor hospitalizations and availability of beds, including intensive care beds.  Hospitalization rates across Maryland are between 19 and 20 percent, down from a rate of 26 percent a month ago.

            “While we continue to monitor the number of cases and hospitalizations, we ask residents to continue to be vigilant in practicing preventive measures such as keeping nonessential travel to a minimum, wearing a face covering when going out in public, washing hands frequently and practicing physical distancing of at least six feet,” said Dr. Gayles.  “Quarantine fatigue is real, and I know it is impacting everyone, including myself.  It is difficult to stay committed to all the changes there have been to every aspect of our daily lives; but now is not the time to let down our guard.”

            Testing capacity is key to having data to support reopening according to Gayles.  “We have so far tested 2.3 percent of residents, above Maryland’s baseline goal of 2 percent, but below the County’s goal. Testing capacity is continuing to expand, and plans are in place to test as many residents as possible, particularly frontline and essential employees.”

            For the latest COVID-19 updates, visit the County’s COVID-19 website and follow Montgomery County on Facebook @MontgomeryCountyInfo and Twitter @MontgomeryCoMD.

            Put the “count” in Montgomery County! Be sure to complete the Census online, by phone, or by mail. It’s safe, confidential, easy, and important. #2020Census #EveryoneCountsMCMD

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Release ID: 20-248
Media Contact: Julie Parker 240-777-6507