County to host pop-up COVID-19 testing site Thursday in Takoma Park
Elrich declines to establish timeline for phase 3 of reopening
Montgomery County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles speaks during a press conference in May.
Montgomery County will roll out its mobile coronavirus testing efforts on Thursday with a pop-up event in Takoma Park.
For several weeks, county health officials have said they planned to deploy temporary testing sites in the communities hardest hit by the coronavirus. The first event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday at the Takoma Park Recreation Center, Montgomery County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles said.
The goal is to test 400 people, Gayles said during a media briefing on Wednesday.
“We hope to roll out similar events throughout the county, focusing on the top 10 ZIP codes, as well as others,” Gayles said, referring to communities with the most COVID-19 cases.
In Montgomery County, some of the areas with the highest concentrations of COVID-19 cases also have large minority or low-income populations.
Gayles did not disclose information about other pop-up testing sites. “We will announce those as the logistics are finalized,” he said.
The tests will be free in Takoma Park on Thursday and people interested in receiving a test must have registered by 2 p.m. Wednesday, Gayles said. He said local residents were informed of the opportunity in advance with flyers and digital messages from the city.
With 14,283 COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday morning, Montgomery County is in its second phase of reopening, incrementally easing restrictions on businesses, amenities and gatherings.
Montgomery County entered the second phase on Friday, behind much of the rest of the state.
The county has 10 benchmarks it is using to help guide its decision. As of Wednesday, it had met or nearly met nine of the 10.
During Wednesday’s media briefing, County Executive Marc Elrich declined to set a date or general timeline for when the county might move into the next phase of reopening.
“Phase 3 absolutely has no date, Elrich said. “… I will not give you a date. It’s all going to depend on what happens with the cases.”
Asked if the county would again monitor data for two weeks — like it did to determine when to move from the first phase to the second — Elrich said, “I don’t think it’s a matter of a timeline to monitor the data.”
“I think it’s a matter of the data reaching a point where we feel comfortable,” Elrich said. “… We need to push these numbers lower. Getting to zero probably isn’t going to be possible, but getting to the lowest number that we think is feasible is what we need to be able to achieve in order to ensure there’s not a reservoir of cases that could be spread.”
Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org