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County moves into ‘high’ transmission of COVID-19

by Judith Hruz


Montgomery County returned to the high transmission category of COVID-19 in late July.

As of July 27, county officials were reporting that daily case rates were hovering at about 250 cases per 100,000 residents.

In March, the county was reporting less than 50 cases per 100,000 people.

The hospital admission rate was 12.7 per 100,000 people.

The higher numbers stem, in large part, because the prevalent strain of COVID, the BA.5, is easily transmissible.

“The good news is that those with shots, in the majority of case, are kept from having to deal with serious bouts of the disease,” County Executive Marc Elrich during his weekly press briefing on July 27. “The bad news is that many people let their guard down and are not taking seriously how devastating COVID can be.”

County officials are urging the community to return to the practices that are known to slow transmission of the coronavirus, including:

Staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters;

Wearing a well-fitted face covering indoors in public places, regardless of vaccination status;

Getting tested if they have symptoms;

Washing hands for at least 20 seconds; and

If testing positive, stay isolated for at least five days and/or until test results are negative.

“COVID is still here,” said Acting County Health Officer Dr. James Bridgers. “And we should continue to plan for it.”

He added, “And mild COVID is still COVID.”

Bridgers said that although the BA.5 variant is the predominant variant in the region, health officials locally, national and internationally continue to track all variants.

In addition to COVID-19, officials are tracking monkeypox in the state, where 91 cases were reported in Maryland as of July 27. State officials did not inform municipalities where those 91 people live.

Monkeypox is not transmitted in the same way as COVID-19. People without symptoms cannot spread monkeypox; it is most likely to be spread by adults with lesions who are in direct contact with others.

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