MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. — Editor's Note: The video above originally aired in February.
In the past few months, COVID-19 cases once again surged across the U.S., and Maryland is no exception. Currently, more than 400 Marylanders are hospitalized with the virus, and the state's positivity rate is the highest it has been since Jan. 31.
Montgomery County officials want to reduce any further spread of the virus by implementing precautionary measures, particularly with holiday gatherings and summer travel on the horizon.
The case rate in the county is currently at the low level of community transmission - defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - however, if the cases continue to rise, the county could transition to medium-level transmission.
Acting Health Officer Dr. James Bridgers is advising that all county residents:
- Wear face coverings in large group settings 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
"I know we are all tired of this virus, but the virus is not tired of us," said County Executive Marc Elrich. "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.”
Although the county's mask mandate ended in February, health officials in Montgomery county strongly encourage the use of masks indoors as one of best the methods to reduce the risk of transmission.
Health officials also advise that anyone working in county government buildings who have not received a booster shot wear masks at all times when around others. Businesses and other organizations can continue to request visitors or customers to wear a mask as well.
Councilmember Will Jawando announced he had tested positive for COVID on Tuesday.
Thankfully, I am fully vaccinated and boosted against the virus and am only experiencing mild symptoms," Jawando said. “I encourage all eligible Montgomery County residents to get fully vaccinated and boosted to best protect themselves and their loved ones against this virus.”
The councilmember said he would continue to isolate and work from home, per CDC guidance.
The CDC recommends individuals who have not been vaccinated wear masks when indoors or around others at all times. Find additional information on masks and transmission levels on the COVID-19 website.