Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles introduced a new COVID-19 data dashboard on May 20. The dashboard provides information on hospitalizations, the number of patients in intensive care units (ICU) and the number of ventilators in use, as well as previously available information regarding the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths. This information will help guide the county’s decisions on when to lift its Stay-at-Home Executive Order.
As of May 20, Montgomery County has 9,052 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and there have been 474 deaths. Trends, such as the number of hospitalizations and the average number of daily cases, are moving in the right direction, according to Dr. Gayles. Should the data continue to improve, Dr. Gayles expects a phased-in approach to reopening may be able to take place within the next week or two.
On May 15, County Executive Elrich signed an Executive Order extending the stay-at-home order in the county. He did so after the Governor’s action to lift the statewide stay-at-home order, which allowed local jurisdictions to make their own decisions. “We need to meet certain benchmarks before we can reopen, or we risk undoing the progress we have made,” said County Executive Elrich. “Our decisions will be grounded in science and health data and we will move toward reopening as the data continues to improve.” Lifting the stay-at-home order and beginning to slowly reopen the county will be based on a variety of measures that include the following:
- The number of new cases in the setting of increased testing;
- COVID-19 related hospitalization rate;
- COVID-19 related ICU rate;
- COVID-19 related deaths;
- COVID-19 like and influenza-like illnesses presenting to the health care system;
- Percentage of acute care bed used by patients with COVID-19;
- Percentage of ICU bed used by patients with COVID-19; and
- Percentage of emergency/critical care equipment used by patients with COVID-19 (e.g. ventilators).
The above criteria will be reviewed based on the most recent 14 days using a rolling average. In addition to the criteria above, the Executive Order calls for testing capacity to increase to 5% of the county’s population on a monthly basis; enough resources needed for enhanced contact tracing (including notification of positive test results and identifying contacts); and using an equity lens in all of our metrics to ensure we are addressing differences in outcomes in our diverse population.