County Exceeds State COVID-19 Testing Targets; Aims to Reach all Communities

The Montgomery County Council announced in a July 13 press release that the County has surpassed State COVID-19 testing targets. 

Currently, an excess of 112,000 Montgomery County residents have been tested for the virus. In addition, the County has reached the State’s testing target of testing 10 percent of the population. The average test positivity stands beneath the State’s average, and less than several other large jurisdictions in Maryland. Between the consolidation of contact tracing and personal protective practices, the amount of new daily positive cases in the County continues to decrease. 

The County now looks to accelerate efforts to reach additional residents.

“We have worked very hard to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by basing our decisions on data and science,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “According to the data, there are several zip codes that have a disproportionate number of people who are testing positive for the virus. We have said from the beginning that equity was an important benchmark that we would monitor to ensure that all communities are safe. We are expanding our testing efforts so that communities of color have greater access to testing as well as other social services. Access to testing is essential to our beating this virus. By expanding access to testing, we are hoping to ensure that more residents, no matter where they live, can get testing.” 

The testing plan will center on three particular areas: community-based testing, testing in clinical and congregate areas, as well as the testing of government and essential service employees. 

“This future approach aims to focus on those groups hit hardest to drive the impact of the virus down even more. We have to provide more focused efforts in reaching into communities to provide testing and support for families who continue to be hardest hit by the virus,” said County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles.

The County hopes to reach 20,000 tests weekly by September and 30,000 tests weekly by October, allowing the County to scope the goal of testing 10 percent of the County’s population monthly. 

According to the press release, the plan will stress expanding testing in communities around the County that have displayed larger numbers of positive COVID-19 cases, explicitly communities of color. The press release also mentions, “One way of reaching hard to serve communities has been to use “ready responders” to conduct in-home testing for residents living in areas disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and who face barriers to accessing community testing. In addition to testing, those impacted have been connected to additional community-based human service supports.”

The County will continue and extend testing in clinical and congregate areas. These scenes include independent living and older adult communities, group homes for developmentally disabled children and adults, large assisted living facilities with more than 50 residents, nursing homes and hospitals.

In addition, testing will also be provided at pop-up clinics. Patients are strongly encouraged to register online to complete all necessary forms.

Upcoming pop-up testing clinics include:

  • Tuesday, July 14, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans Plaza, Silver Spring
  • Thursday, July 16, 4 to 7 p.m. Takoma Park Recreation Center, 7315 New Hampshire Avenue, Takoma Park (FILLED UP)
  • Tuesday, July 21, 2 to 6 p.m. East County Recreation Center, 3310 Gateshead Manor Drive, Silver Spring
  • Wednesday, July 22, 2 to 6 p.m. Oakdale Church, 3425 Emory Church Road, Olney

For the latest COVID-19 updates, visit the County’s COVID-19 website.

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Emma Shuster

About Emma Shuster

Emma Shuster is a rising junior and journalism major at the University of Maryland. She is currently a Summer 2020 intern at Montgomery Community Media. Follow her on Twitter @emmashuster1

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