Montgomery Co. leaders look to reduce, track COVID-19 transmission


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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — As of Wednesday morning, Montgomery County had over 125 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus.

County leaders were first briefed on preparations for COVID-19 about three weeks ago, and now they say their the focus is on reducing and tracking transmission of the virus.

“As more testing opportunities are made available and more folks are getting tested, we’re seeing an increase in the number of positive results that are coming back; but we also recognize that we’re seeing potential pockets of transmission popping up,” said Dr. Travis Gayles, the county’s chief health officer.

Dr. Gayles says he recognizes and understands frustrations stemming from the current lack of testing opportunities, but says testing kits simply haven’t come in yet. He says health care providers have been warned to do their due diligence and rule out other illnesses before testing a patient.

“Everything that coughs and has a fever is not coronavirus,” he said in a briefing with the Montgomery County Council on Tuesday.

Health officials and higher education institutions across the region are collaborating to create predictive technology that could help determine areas where transmission is likely to occur.

“We’re working to develop an apparatus that will be able to take input of our positive cases and be able to spit out geo-related maps and predictive models to determine the direction we might be going, dependent on public health actions,” Dr. Gayles said.

Dr. Earl Stoddard, Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security for the county, says there’s been a lot of local interest from residents looking to volunteer and donate resources. He says they have the means to keep track of who has what resources.

“We’ll try to match up the personal protective equipment or another kind of resource that’s being offered with the appropriate place for it to be utilized, so if you have those resources or know of people who have those resources we’re happy to hear about them,” he said.

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