March 4, 2020

County Health Officials Monitoring Novel Coronavirus Situation; What You Can Do to Help Be Prepared

As federal officials continue to monitor the outbreak of respiratory illnesses caused by a new form of coronavirus first detected in Wuhan, China, County Executive Marc Elrich and County health and emergency management officials are coordinating efforts across agencies as well as with state officials and healthcare providers to ensure we are prepared for the situation as it evolves.

Currently, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maryland, Virginia, or the District of Columbia.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises state and local health departments to prepare for community spread of COVID-19. The County’s Department of Health and Human Services is working with partners, including the Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, public safety agencies, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), and hospitals to plan for a response should there be cases in Montgomery County.

Here is how the County has prepared:
  • Launched an internal emergency management group for coordination, enhanced monitoring and planning with partners and other local agencies.
  • Developed an action plan for incident management and surveillance for individuals at risk of infection.
  • Communicated with hospitals and healthcare providers to provide the latest information and guidance from the CDC.
  • Communicated and coordinated with MCPS to provide guidance to parents, teachers and staff.
  • Launched a COVID-19 website to update Montgomery County residents on the current situation. The website is updated regularly.
While the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is low, here are some steps that residents should take to prepare:
  • Stay informed by using trusted sources for up-to-date information. The County’s website includes information on prevention techniques as well as links to the CDC and other resources.
  • Wash hands frequently throughout the day. Use warm water and soap. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Keep surfaces (especially bathroom surfaces and children’s toys) clean by wiping them down with a household disinfectant.
  • Stay home from work or school if you are sick.
Residents are encouraged to visit the website and sign up for Public Health and Environmental Alerts for critical updates. Sign up for alerts (listed under Montgomery County Government Alerts) through the County’s Alert Montgomery notification system.