Friday marks one year since Maryland’s first three cases of COVID-19 were confirmed. All were Montgomery County residents who had recently returned from a cruise.
A year later, Montgomery County has had 63,796 cases. Maryland has had 385,678.
Here is a sample of key moments from the past year.
- Following the announcement on March 5, 2020, of Maryland’s first three cases, local residents cleared grocery store shelves, anticipating widespread effects, despite county health officials at the time urging people to stay calm and “continue with your day-to-day lives.”
- Within a week, Gov. Larry Hogan ordered schools across the state to close for two weeks. At the time, there were 12 confirmed cases throughout the state. Parents scrambled to find child care accommodations and feared potential academic losses.
- The first Montgomery County resident died of COVID-19 on March 21. A year later, there have been 1,379 deaths in the county.
- On March 30, Hogan announced a statewide stay-at-home order as cases increased and people failed to take the virus seriously, he said. While he lifted the order on May 15, Montgomery County kept a local stay-at-home order until June 1.
- April 8: The number of confirmed cases in Montgomery County surpasses 1,000. By May 3, the number climbed to more than 5,000. By May 25, the total again doubled, reaching 10,000 confirmed cases.
- In late July and early August, county and state health officials have a tense back-and-forth about whether private schools in the county can reopen for in-person classes in the fall. Ultimately, County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles rescinds his order prohibiting the reopening.
- Aug. 31: The number of confirmed cases in Montgomery County tops 20,000.
- In October, then-President Donald Trump was treated for COVID-19 at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda.
- In December, the county bans indoor dining as the pandemic surges. Restaurateurs file a lawsuit pushing for a reversal of the decision. (The ban is later upheld by a circuit judge.)
- Dec. 17: The county’s death toll passes 1,000. The first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine begin to be distributed around the same time.
- In January, the county’s COVID-19 case rate per 100,000 people spiked to its highest level of the pandemic. By the end of the month, 58,965 confirmed cases and 1,260 deaths had been reported.
- In February, the COVID-19 metrics began to reverse course. Variants of the virus, considered more contagious, were detected in the county. Local officials began to push for a mass vaccination site in Montgomery County and expressing frustration with the distribution of doses.
- On March 1, 2021, after 353 days of virtual classes, the first group of Montgomery County Public Schools students returned to buildings for in-person instruction. Other students will be phased back into buildings over the coming weeks.
- March 5, 2021 (today): There have been 63,796 confirmed cases of the virus in Montgomery County, and 1,379 local residents have died. In the county, 165,776 residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and about 82,785 are fully vaccinated.
For all of Bethesda Beat’s coverage of the pandemic over the past year, go to: https://bethesdamagazine.com/bethesda-beat/coronavirus/
— Compiled by Caitlynn Peetz