Elrich State of the County Address Focuses on COVID-19, Commends Residents for Resilience 

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. Via Montgomery County, MD Flickr.

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich delivered his annual State of the County Address Friday morning.

Elrich focused his speech on the COVID-19 pandemic’s past and future. He said one year ago to the date, March 5, the first coronavirus cases were reported in Maryland — in Montgomery County. Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency, and it continues. Elrich said the county has provided more than $70 million over the past year in relief to restaurants, stores, service providers and arts organizations.

“We’ve supported childcare providers, expanded Wi-Fi into more public spaces, and created more outdoor, safe spaces for residents. We continue to do as much as possible to stabilize working families who were already in need,” Elrich said. To those who want the county to reopen because metrics are improving, he reminds that numbers are low due to restrictions the county has implemented.

Elrich said he is “painfully aware” of COVID-19 vaccine anxiety surrounding a lack of doses. On a more positive note, he said he was happy to report that every resident ages 75+ who pre-registered with the county received an invitation to set a vaccine appointment. Looking ahead, he said now “we know there are vaccines shining a light at the end of a very long tunnel.”

The county executive noted several times residents’ adaptability, resilience and commitment to following health measures. He said COVID-19 numbers are low due to restrictions and also are a result of “residents who have been willing to follow the guidelines even as their lives have been severely disrupted.”

“The state of our county is strong because of you,” Elrich said. “We have been able adjust to the challenges that COVID has created and move forward on important policies and programs for Montgomery County.”

“We are fortunate in Montgomery County that our residents understand that the measures we take are central to saving lives. Throughout this pandemic, you — our residents — have been reasonable, understanding, and engaged.”

“Even when you have not agreed with some of the tough decisions that have been made, you have done your best to follow the guidelines and keep our communities safe.”

Elrich concluded his address again praising residents.

“Thanks to your extraordinary response, our County has proven resilient, responding to the present and ready for what the future will bring.”

Elrich discussed other topics including transit, affordable housing and climate change. He said if not for the pandemic, climate change would have been the natural disaster of the year.

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