I had planned to start this letter with Happy New Year, but yesterday’s events at the Capitol were really disturbing and alarming so “happy” is not the right term. The mob that stormed the Capitol was trying to change the results of a democratic election—essentially it was a coup attempt. And the President of the United States encouraged it—and then was silent at crucial moments.
It was reassuring that Congress was able to resume its work to certify the votes of the Presidential election, but the events were alarming nonetheless. Some of our Montgomery County public safety employees went to the Capitol to help out with the emergency response after assistance from local jurisdictions was requested. I want to thank those employees for their work. I am glad our County was able to help preserve our nation’s democracy.
We are looking forward to new Federal leadership because that leadership has been missing throughout this pandemic. We need Federal funds for local jurisdictions as we work to help our residents and businesses. And we need leadership on COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
Speaking of vaccines, you may have heard that the County has begun to receive doses from the State. I am pleased to report that we are administering the doses as fast as we get them. With only about two days notice each time, our staff has organized vaccine clinics to distribute about 4,000 doses the first week and about 8,000 doses the following week. I appreciated that Maryland Governor Hogan this week noted the efficiency of our operations.
I am sure you have questions about how the vaccine will be distributed. The information we do have is available on our new COVID-19 vaccine website. At this site, you also can sign up to get regular alerts about new information.
We do not have all the answers at this point. Because there is a limited supply of vaccines, a priority list has been established. We cannot set dates for when different phases will “have their turn” because we do not know when we will receive more doses from the State and we do not know what amount we will receive each week. We are intent on making sure that whatever number of doses we receive are administered quickly and efficiently. Also please note that vaccines for hospitals and nursing homes are being provided directly to those facilities—the County is not involved in those distributions.
It will likely be months before we have enough vaccines for people to have the two doses that provide the maximum effectiveness. Right now, we continue to have an alarming number of cases and our hospitals are stressed. You can see from the graph below that the numbers still are concerning.
|7 day average number of new confirmed cases per 100k residents
Mask wearing, physical distancing and hand washing are all still essential.
There is reason to be optimistic, but still be careful and vigilant.