Credit: Chart by Karilyn Mason

In Montgomery County, the COVID-19 case rate per 100,000 people has been slowly increasing over the past three weeks, mirroring a similar trend nationwide.

In Montgomery County, the rate reached its highest level of the pandemic on Jan. 12, at 49.8 cases per 100,000 residents, before dropping sharply through March 9, when it hit 9.1. That was the lowest rate the county has seen since Oct. 12.

But over the past three weeks, the rate has slowly increased, at times holding steady, but not dropping below 10.0 again. On Tuesday, the case rate was at 12.2.

Similar trends have been observed across the country.

In early January, the country’s rate also reached its highest levels after a months-long buildup.

The rate on Jan. 12 was 524.73. The rate then dropped rapidly through late February, going as low as 112.81 per 100,000 people on March 19.

Since then, the rate has slowly crept up again, prompting national health leaders to urge renewed caution.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky was emotional on Monday as she urged states to pause reopening plans amid a threat of a new wave of cases.

The country’s case rate was 129.95 on Sunday, the most recent data available.

National COVID-19 case rate chart, courtesy Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On Tuesday, Montgomery County reported 98 new cases of COVID-19, raising its total to 66,589 since the start of the pandemic. No new deaths were reported. In total, 1,422 residents are confirmed to have died of the virus.

An additional 46 “probable” deaths have been reported, meaning COVID-19 is listed as the cause of death but it was not confirmed with a laboratory test.

As of Monday afternoon, 71.8% of the county’s hospital beds were in use, and 7.4% were occupied by COVID-19 patients.

In Maryland, there have been 409,978 cases and 8,088 confirmed deaths.