February 11, 2021

Message from County Executive Marc Elrich

Dear Friends:

We are going to overcome the COVID-19 health crisis that has gripped our lives for almost a year. And the best way to do this is by staying informed and exercising some patience.

Many of us are eager to be vaccinated as soon as possible. As I think you are well aware, the number of people eligible is much greater than the number of vaccines available.

We have all seen stories of people who want appointments and cannot get them because of the limited doses. Unfortunately, we have also seen stories of people who are becoming overly stressed because the lack of vaccine doses has left them endlessly frustrated.

I ask everyone to remain patient. We are going to get there, but it will take some time.

More than 94,000 Montgomery residents have received their first vaccine, about nine percent of our County population. Just about everyone knows people who have received vaccinations because they are in Priority Group 1A (primarily frontline workers), Group 1B (which includes those 75 and over and educators) and Group 1C (including those 65 and over).

Be patient. Your turn is coming. The priority groupings that we are following, how you can preregister for appointments and where shots are being distributed can be found at https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/covid19/vaccine/.

The Biden Administration has said that it will be receiving greatly increased number of vaccines starting next week. So I am hopeful that the number of doses coming to Montgomery County will increase. We are ready to administer additional vaccines as soon as they arrive.

If you are seeking vaccine appointments, you can check multiple sites. I know it can be discouraging. You can keep checking and you can put your name on several websites, including at the County site.

You can also receive updates from the County by signing up here.

In some positive news, our efforts to get control of the virus have been making inroads. As of today, our seven-day average of new positive cases per 100,000 was 18.7. That is a drop by more than half since our high in January when it was almost 50 new cases per 100,000. The number of positive cases among those being tested in our County has decreased to 4.8 percent on a 14-day average. In January, it was eight percent.

Because the transmission rates have been reduced, I have issued, and the County Council has approved, Executive Order 19-21AM to allow restaurants to resume indoor seating at 25 percent capacity starting Sunday, Feb. 14. I understand how tough these times have been on our restaurants and their employees. We are taking a cautious reopening stance to balance the opportunity for some indoor dining with the need to protect the public health.

Additionally, the Board of Education has announced a reopening plan for students. You can read more about it here.

To all who celebrate the Lunar New Year starting tomorrow, I want to wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous new year. And to all, lets use Valentines Day as a reminder to show our love for our family, friends and neighbors by continuing to maintain physical distance, wash hands frequently and MaskUpMoco.

Let’s continue to work together to get through the frustration and difficulties. We are finding a path out, but it will continue to take time. Your understanding is greatly appreciated.

Marc Elrich
County Executive