County Executive Elrich: Mask Mandate Still Necessary

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said Wednesday that he hopes the mask mandate remains in place, calling masks “our best protection to keeping people safe.”

On Dec. 1, the county experienced a 2.8% test positivity rate for COVID-19 and registered almost 11 cases per 100,000 residents. There were 120 new cases reported on the last day of November, including four hospitalizations and one death.

While the number of county residents who are fully vaccinated remains high, Elrich pointed out in his media briefing that the variant Omicron could produce an uptick in cases. He also noted that during the holiday season, many people get together with family and friends or attend events.

That variant has not yet been detected in Maryland although CNN has reported that the Omicron variant was detected in California. However, Elrich said, “It is inevitable it will arrive here.”

He noted that the county has administered 202,000 booster vaccines, which he said is “the most in the state.”

The county received 13,000 pediatric doses of the vaccine last week although it had requested 20,000, according to Dr. James Bridges Jr., the county’s deputy health officer. The county requested 20,000 again this week but has not yet heard how many does it will receive, he said.

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