More and more people are getting vaccinated for COVID-19, which is great.
However, we are once again seeing an increase in cases and test positivity, and it is concerning. Our seven-day average case count per 100,000 residents is higher than it was in mid-June, and yet the State has lifted many restrictions.
In Montgomery County, our case and positivity rates have gone up 25 percent over the last three weeks.
Across the State, cases are going up. We are at levels that have surpassed the second wave in mid-summer and are at the same levels we were at the end of last October.
You can see that today, we are higher than we were during the “second wave”:
The variants have been found in Maryland and are likely contributing to this increase. We are also seeing hospital bed use rates for COVID cases beginning to rise.
While we take some comfort that our numbers are lower than most of the State and region, they are numbers that we considered unsafe back in the summer, and they are still unsafe now. New COVID-19 infections are increasing across the State and the country.
We are still in the midst of this pandemic. Please follow guidelines—wear a mask and please continue to maintain physical distance.
And testing continues to be very important. Last weekend, I visited ANGARAI's COVID Test Center (ACTC) in Silver Spring. I was impressed with its operation and grateful for its efforts. To see where you can get tested in Montgomery County, go to https://montgomerycountymd.gov/covid19/testing.html.
The good news is that more and more people are getting vaccinated:
Please note: beginning this week, all residents 16-and-over can preregister to get a vaccine. Preregister on the County site at https://montgomerycountymd.gov/covid19/vaccine/. You can also preregister at the State site at https://onestop.md.gov/preregistration.
On a different note, I know that many of you have seen the video regarding a 5-year-old student and his interactions with the police. I want everyone to know that I – and all of us – take the incident extremely seriously. You can view my statement on this incident here. Even before I was elected, I was determined to work on issues of racial equity and on the role police in our community. We had money in our budget to allow for us to do a study, a complete study, that involved evaluating hiring and promotion policies, the training our officers receive, and review of police data from an equity perspective. Last year, I created and convened a community task force to begin this work, along with our consultants who are conducting a comprehensive audit of the Police Department that will guide our reimagining public safety efforts. We are nearing the end of that project, we will soon be receiving reports on training and on what our data shows and it will identify areas where we need to bring about change.
Enjoy your holidays and the warm weather when it returns, but please keep following the guidelines. We are almost there and our continued restrictions will help save lives until we can get the vaccines out everywhere.