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COVID-19 Stay at Home Order in Effect Until Local Conditions Improve

For Immediate Release: Thursday, May 14, 2020

            Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles announced today they are joining other large jurisdictions in Maryland and the National Capital Region (NCR) in continuing a stay-at-home order until COVID-19 data show it is safe to move toward a relaxation of the order. The decision follows yesterday’s announcement by Governor Larry Hogan that some parts of Maryland could move to the first stage of recovery. The Governor’s Executive Order, which goes into effect Friday at 5 p.m., lifts the stay at home order for parts of the state, but allowed local jurisdictions to make decisions based on local data. This local order means that the current restrictions and permitted activities remain in place; for a complete list see here. As of this morning, Montgomery County has 7,548 reported cases of COVID-19 and 397 deaths, the highest number of deaths in the state. The death count is still rising in Montgomery County, as is the daily total of new COVID-19 cases.  

            While the County will not provide an arbitrary date for reopening, the decision will be based on science and local guidance from public health officials. There are five key metrics that need to be met before reopening and a relaxation of restrictions can occur:

  1. A sustained decrease during a 14-day period of new cases in an environment of increased testing
  2. A sustained decrease in the COVID-19 related hospitalization rate  
  3. A sustained decrease in the percentage of COVID-19 related ICU beds in use
  4. A sustained decrease in the number of COVID-19 related daily deaths
  5. A sustained decrease in the number of COVID-19 related patients going to County emergency rooms

            “I appreciate the Governor providing local jurisdictions the latitude to address reopening based on local needs.  While we have made progress, the data is not signaling that we are out of the woods yet, so no local restrictions are being lifted,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “Montgomery County has the second highest number of positive COVID-19 cases in the state, behind Prince George’s County.  Unlike Western Maryland and the Eastern Shore, we are a densely populated area and disease spreads more easily.”

            Testing capacity is also key to having data to support reopening, according to Dr. Gayles.  “So far, three percent of residents have been tested but the County’s goal is to test five percent. A sustained decrease in the number of cases while increased testing is occurring, is one of the benchmarks we are looking for that before we think about easing restrictions and reopening,” he said.  “We continue to expand testing and we are scaling up an aggressive effort to screen and test essential employees.”

            A testing helpline is available for residents who believe they need testing but do not have access to a primary care provider. Residents can call 240-777-1755 and will be evaluated for the need for testing.  If a resident does not have a doctor, they will be contacted within 24 hours by a volunteer medical professional who will evaluate them and set up an appointment for testing, if needed, at one of the three testing sites currently available.

            While continuing to monitor the number of cases and other metrics, County officials are asking residents to continue to be vigilant in practicing preventive measures:

  • Only go out for essential travel and permitted exercise
  • Practice physical distancing of at least six feet
  • Do not congregate in groups of more than 10 people
  • Wear a face covering when going out in public
  • Wash hands frequently

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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Media Contact: Julie Parker, julie.parker@montgomerycountymd.gov

Release ID: 20-255
Media Contact: Julie Parker 240-777-6507