Montgomery County will join D.C. and surrounding counties in staying shut down as the coronavirus continues to spread.
Though other parts of Maryland will gradually reopen starting Friday, now is not the time for Montgomery County to reopen, County Executive Marc Elrich said at a news conference Thursday.
“Life in Montgomery County is going to continue as it was because the circumstances in Montgomery County, as well as in many of the areas around us, have not changed enough to make reopening safe,” he said.
The county executive will release an executive order later Thursday that officially orders continued restrictions, he said.
Montgomery County has more cases than any other county in the state except for neighboring Prince George's County.
"Our hospitals can't withstand an uptick," Elrich said.
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The county will reopen once data shows it’s safe to do so, County Health Officer Travis Gayles said. Officials need to see a sustained decrease in the number of new cases over a 14-day period, as well as decreases in the hospitalization rate, percentage of intensive care beds used and number of deaths.
Elrich and Gayles thanked residents for their patience.
The county executive questioned Gov. Larry Hogan’s decision to begin to reopen the state.
“Personally, I think he went further than he should have right now,” he said.
Prince George’s County also will remain restricted, County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said Thursday. The stay-at-home order will remain in effect for at least another two weeks as the remainder of Maryland reopens.
Similarly, leaders in D.C. and Northern Virginia announced this week that the area will remain closed.
Stay with NBC Washington for more details on this developing story.