Montgomery County, Maryland, will reinstate its indoor mask mandate on Saturday after recording seven consecutive days of “substantial” COVID-19 transmission.
The mandate is automatically triggered once the jurisdiction reports a week straight of a substantial or high transmission rate, or over 50 cases per 100,000 residents, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As of Tuesday morning, the county had a rate of 57.4 infections per 100,000 residents, according to its COVID-19 Surveillance Dashboard.
The county rules require a four-day notification period before the mandate goes back into effect.
Earlier this month, the county council changed the policy regarding the mask mandate, resolving that the measure will return only if Montgomery County sees seven straight days of a substantial or high spread of the coronavirus. Previously, it had to record only four consecutive days for it to be reinstated.
The county's case rates have had ups and downs like a roller coaster, and some residents may be feeling whiplash over the changing mask mandate policies.
A mask mandate was put in place in August when the COVID-19 cases rose as the delta variant spread in the county; it moved into the high transmission category a month later.
On Oct. 21, transmission fell back to a moderate level. On Oct. 28, the mandate was lifted. However, 48 hours later, the county was already back in the substantial transmission category.
The numbers then fell, barely avoiding the triggering of the indoor mandate. But since last week, the infections have been increasing once again.