County preparing for potential second wave of coronavirus cases

County preparing for potential second wave of COVID-19 cases

Preparations are for ‘any eventuality,’ official says

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Montgomery County is preparing for a potential second wave of COVID-19 cases in the fall, county officials said Wednesday.

Dr. Earl Stoddard, executive director of the county’s Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, said the county is focused on preparation by stockpiling equipment.

“The county has been preparing for the potential for a second wave or second increase [in cases] in the fall,” he told reporters during a media briefing. “We’ve been stockpiling protective equipment. We’re near now — sitting at nearly four million N95 masks.”

That stands in “stark contrast” to around 30,000 masks that the county had before the pandemic, he said.

“We’re substantially in a different place. We feel very comfortable about having enough personal protective equipment for our first responders, police, fire, correctional facilities, our congregant living settings, and our shelters,” Stoddard said. “Also, the ability to support, if necessary, our health care institutions should they be overwhelmed.”

With cases increasing in Europe and across the country, Stoddard said, the county is closely monitoring whether to expect another wave.

“We’re preparing for any eventuality,” he said. “We’re hoping that it ends up not happening in the United States, but we’d rather have the resources and it not happen, then it happen and not have the resources.”

A potential stay-at-home order for another wave is not “necessarily something we’ve talked at all about at this point,” Stoddard said.

Briana Adhikusuma can be reached at briana.adhikusuma@bethesdamagazine.com.

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