Montgomery County officials say they may be forced to reinstate some restrictions that were lifted if things don't improve after seeing an increase in COVID-19 infections.
The county’s test positivity rate is 3.2%, which is low but higher than last week. More concerning is the number of cases is increasing, averaging more than 10 cases per 100,000, which puts on hold any further reopening plans.
“We were preparing an update to our executive order this week that would allow additional activities,” said Earl Stoddard of Montgomery County Emergency Management and Homeland Security. “We are putting that on pause while the public health team does investigate this uptick in cases to understand exactly what the cause in the uptick is.”
The next two weeks are considered critical. If cases and hospitalizations go up, it could cause Montgomery County to roll back activities reopened during the summer.
“We might look at reducing outdoor dining to 25% of capacity from 50% of capacity,” Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said.
Coronavirus Cases in DC, Maryland and Virginia
COVID-19 cases by population in D.C. and by county in Maryland and Virginia
With coronavirus cases rising and the election just three weeks away, the Montgomery County Elections Board offered advice.
“You have the mechanism called mail-in voting, so please request a ballot,” said Gilberto Zelaya of the Montgomery County Elections Board. “Once again, the received deadline is Oct. 20.”
Montgomery County wants people to consider using a mail-in ballot to avoid long lines and exposure to the virus at voting centers.
The county is urging everyone to get tested.