Coronavirus cases in Montgomery County increase less than one percent

After one-day jump, Montgomery County COVID-19 case increase again below 1%

15,400 cases, 714 deaths reported in county

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After 23 consecutive days of COVID-19 cases increasing by less than 1%, Montgomery County this week recorded one day with a larger increase.

On Tuesday, the number of new cases rose 1.1%. But on Wednesday, it grew 0.4%, more in line with recent increases.

As of Wednesday morning, there were 15,400 cases of COVID-19 in Montgomery County, according to state data.

The Maryland Department of Health on Wednesday reported that there have been 714 total deaths in Montgomery County since the pandemic began in mid-March.

The state had listed 715 deaths as of Monday, but 714 were listed as of Tuesday.

Asked to explain the drop, Charlie Gischlar, a spokesman for the state Department of Health, wrote in an email: “All data are preliminary and subject to change based on additional reporting. There are instances where death records are amended to reassign the jurisdiction or to remove COVID-19 as the cause of death.”

There have been 38 “probable” deaths from the virus in Montgomery County. “Probable” deaths have the coronavirus listed as the cause on death certificates but haven’t been confirmed by laboratory tests.

As of Tuesday, the county was reporting that eight of its 10 benchmarks were being met or showing “significant progress.” The data are updated by 2 p.m. every day.

The eight benchmarks that have been met or shown “substantial progress” include:

● Number of new COVID-19 related deaths: 1 (three-day average); 13 declining days
● COVID-19 related hospitalizations: 113 (three-day average); 14 declining days
● COVID-19 related intensive care unit hospitalizations: 40 (three-day average); 14 declining days
● Acute care bed utilization rate: 64% (three-day average); the county’s goal of 70% or less has been met for 14 days
● ICU bed utilization rate: 49% (three-day average); the county’s goal of 80% or less has been met for 14 days
● Percentage of ventilators in use: 31% (three-day average); the county’s goal of 70% or less has been met for 14 days
● Test positivity: 5% (three-day average); 14 declining days
● Test administered: 1,716 (three-day average); the county is reporting that it has 4.3% testing capacity in the last 30 days; the county’s goal is 5%

The two benchmarks that haven’t been met are:
● Number of new confirmed cases: 83 (three-day average); eight declining days
● Number of COVID-19 related emergency room patients: 5 (three-day average); 10 declining days.

Montgomery County also reports its progress in other areas that are not considered benchmarks, but are additional guidelines.

The county reports having met criteria in:
● leveraging health care networks to provide testing to symptomatic and asymptomatic people
● making testing options accessible across the county
● flattening or decreasing test positivity
● continuing partnerships with state officials to provide large-scale contact tracing efforts.

The county reports making progress toward:
● establishing testing networks to offer “high throughput testing”
● compiling and using data by race, gender, age and geographic location to inform policy decisions
● ability to disseminate information that addresses the impact of COVID-19 on different demographics.

Statewide, there have been 70,861 confirmed cases and 3,149 deaths from the virus. More than 746,000 tests have been administered, with a positivity rate of 4.6%.

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