Montgomery County meeting fewer benchmarks for reopening

Montgomery County losing ground on its benchmarks for reopening

County has had 15,986 cases of COVID-19 and 725 confirmed deaths

| Published:
Coronavirus dept of health photo

Montgomery County on Tuesday was meeting fewer of the benchmarks it set for reopening and easing restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic than it was meeting over the weekend. 

As of Tuesday afternoon, the county was meeting or six of the 10 benchmarks it is using to help determine how quickly it can reopen.

As recently as Sunday afternoon, the county was meeting or had made “substantial progress” on eight benchmarks, before the number dropped to seven on Monday. The county updates its data dashboard at 2 p.m. every day. 

As of Tuesday afternoon, the six benchmarks that had been met or shown substantial progress were:
● COVID-19 related hospitalizations: 87 (three-day average); at least 14 declining days
● COVID-19 related intensive care unit hospitalizations: 30 (three-day average); at least 14 declining days
● ICU bed utilization rate: 51% (three-day average); the county’s goal of 80% or less has been met for at least 14 days
● Percentage of ventilators in use: 27% (three-day average); the county’s goal of 70% or less has been met for 14 at least days
● Test positivity: 4% (three-day average); at least 14 declining days
● Test administered: 2,093 (three-day average); the county is reporting that it has 4.7% testing capacity in the last 30 days; the county’s goal is 5%

The four benchmarks that haven’t been met are:
● Number of new COVID-19 related deaths: 2 (three-day average); 11 declining days
● Acute care bed utilization rate: 68% (three-day average); the county’s goal of 70% or less has been met for 11 of 14 days
● Number of new confirmed cases: 87 (three-day average); 5 declining days out of 14
● Number of COVID-19 related emergency room patients: 6 (three-day average); 11 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
● the ability to disseminate information that addresses the impact of COVID-19 on different demographics

On Wednesday morning, there had been 15,986 cases of COVID-19 in the county, a 0.65% increase from Tuesday.

The county has maintained a consistent daily increase of less than 1% in its caseload since June 13. The only day when the increase was more than 1% was on July 7.

The county had 725 confirmed deaths as of Wednesday, according to figures from the Maryland Department of Health. That was an increase of one from the previous day.

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

Statewide on Wednesday, there had been 75,016 cases of COVID-19 and 3,209 confirmed deaths. There have been more than 855,000 tests administered and the test positivity rate was 4.49%.

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com

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