Local health officials share COVID-19 concerns ahead of July 4th travel

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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — With the holiday weekend ahead of us, thousands of locals are expected to head out of town to celebrate the Fourth of July. For some, its their first trip since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

With many restrictions lifted in the National Capital Region and across the country, some local health officials have expressed worry that holiday travels will put others at risk for COVID-19 when vacationers return home.

“Our responsibility is to keep people safe while they’re here and to keep people who go out from bringing anything back in,” said Montgomery County’s Chief Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles.

Some states and areas have issued guidance asking travelers to quarantine after visiting areas where one is at high risk for transmission, and Montgomery County, Maryland health officials say asking residents to do the same after returning home from vacation isn’t out of the question.

“We have had some internal discussions on what that looks like. All I can say is we are continuing to assess that here in our local jurisdiction but also are curious to see if there will be any guidance provided at the state level on this issue,” said Dr. Gayles.

While nearly three dozen states saw increases in confirmed COVID-19 cases last week, Maryland’s test positivity rate stayed just about the same. It currently sits at 4.84 percent.

In-state holiday travel hotpsots like Garrett County, home to Deep Creek Lake, and Worcester County, home to Ocean City, have much lower seven-day positivity rates than the entire state. Garrett County has a 0.0 percent positivity rate and Worcester County has a positivity rate of 2.43 percent, according to the Maryland Department of Health.

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