Montgomery County not likely to reopen with the rest of Maryland

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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — With Governors Larry Hogan (R-Md.) and Ralph Northam (D-Va.) announcing reopening plans for Maryland and Virginia, local leaders in the National Capital Region are thinking twice about following the state’s timeline.

“We are not the western part of the state, we are not the Eastern Shore. We have a case load that is still growing,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich.

Elrich says he’s been in talks with other Maryland county executives, like Angela Alsobrooks of neighboring Prince George’s County.

“Between [Montgomery and Prince George’s] we have almost half of the state’s cases. We are a densely packed community. When you think of us, Prince George’s County and D.C., our borders overlap; they are completely fluid,” he said.

With nearby Northern Virginia other Maryland counties eyeing a phased reopening process, Elrich fears for the health of residents across the region. He said Montgomery County most likely won’t follow the same timeline as the rest of the state.

“I really hope people understand this is in all of our interests to make sure we don’t get a second wave and that this wave doesn’t take off again,” Elrich said.

Many reopening strategies are dependent on increased testing capacity, the results of those tests and hospitalization rates.

“We also want to make sure that when we’re looking at declining numbers of new cases that it is in the setting of testing new people,” said the county’s Chief Health Officer, Dr. Travis Gayles.

Dr. Gayles says an even more robust testing operation is on the way in Montgomery County, along with continued re-evaluation of local data.

“We’ve tested about 2.3 percent of the Montgomery County population. That’s above the 2 percent benchmark set by the governor’s team. We want to do even more,” he said.

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