The number of COVID-19 cases in Montgomery County and the Washington Region is rising again, leading County officials to offer precautionary recommendations to prevent further community spread of the virus. The increase in transmission, both within the County and in other jurisdictions around the region, has outpaced the rise in other parts of Maryland.
“Our current surge in cases is lasting longer than expected, which leaves more people at-risk of being exposed to COVID-19,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “I encourage everyone to wear masks indoors in public spaces when possible as well as continue to use our ample testing and vaccination resources we have in the County. I know we are all tired of this virus, but the virus is not tired of us. If we keep doing our individual parts, as a community, we can tamp down this increase in the case rate and avoid going back to days of more restrictive measures.”
The County’s COVID-19 case rate has risen steadily over the last month and is now more than triple the recent low on March 15. Although the County is currently an area of “low level community transmission,” as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the case rate is quickly approaching medium-level community transmission. There has not been a commensurate increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations in the County, but there is concern about the impact that holiday gatherings may have on transmission.
Based on the advice of Acting Health Officer James Bridgers, it is strongly recommended that residents voluntarily engage in the following precautionary measures to slow transmission, protect most vulnerable populations and keep hospitalizations down:
- Use a well-fitting face covering during visits to congregate places and indoor spaces with limited social distancing.
- Use testing and test-to-treat antiviral medication after returning from travel or gatherings.
- Stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations, including booster-shots.
Even with the end of the County indoor mask mandate in February, health officials continued to strongly encourage the use of masks indoors to reduce the risk of transmission. Businesses and other organizations can continue to require customers or visitors to wear a mask in their establishments.
The County continues to strongly recommend that front-facing staff who have not received their booster shots and visitors in County Government offices and facilities continue to wear a mask in publicly accessible areas. The CDC also recommends that individuals who are unvaccinated should continue to wear masks when indoors or in crowded areas to minimize the potential spread of the virus.
Visit the County’s COVID-19 data dashboard to review the latest metrics and key indicators. Find additional information on masks and transmission levels on the COVID-19 website.
Free vaccination clinics can be found at www.GoVAXMoCo.com. If you feel sick or think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, get tested. Find free testing clinics at www.MoCoCOVIDtesting.org.