Gayles and Hogan Disagree on Main Cause of Increased COVID-19 Related Hospitalizations

Montgomery County Council sat as the Board of Health to get COVID-19 updates from local health officials on Tuesday.

County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles says although test positivity rates have slightly increased, the number of people getting tested for the virus has decreased.

“We speculate that there may be hidden droves of asymptomatic individuals who have not been tested as well as symptomatic individuals given that this is allergy season and pollen season may be experiencing symptoms and not getting tested due to belief that is the source of what those symptoms are,” said Dr. Gayles during the council hearing.

In addition, Dr. Gayles says there has also been an increase in hospitalizations across the state, both in terms of acute and intensive care hospitalizations.

Gov. Larry Hogan says the cause of the increase in cases stems from traveling. Gayles disagrees. “That’s not factually true, travel may be a component of it, but quite frankly, from an epidemiological standpoint, we are concerned that again, rapid reopening has contributed to this increase in cases,” Gayles said.

County council members also got updates regarding the new mass vaccination site at Montgomery College’s Germantown campus, which opened last week and will transition to a state site this week. The state will provide more resources, including COVID-19 vaccine doses, which will help expand the site and sustain it for an extended period of time.

Dr. Gayles reports that about 35% of Montgomery County residents have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and about 20% are fully vaccinated as of April 6. The mass vaccination site at Montgomery College’s Germantown campus will eventually have the capacity to vaccinate 3,000 people each day.

“Nearly 98% of the doses that we received this week are Pfizer doses which are different from the first sets of allotments that we received for multiple months being Moderna. We do anticipate that once the manufacturing issues are cleared up- that we will start to get more supply of Johnson and Johnson doses as well,” said Dr. Gayles.

The county has been required to adjust its COVID-19 vaccine priority group status to match the state’s.

As vaccine supply allows, County Clinics are currently vaccinating:

  • Residents 60 and older
  • Essential workers (a priority group that includes transit workers, teachers, child care workers, grocery store workers)
  • Individuals with developmental disabilities
  • Residents 16 and older with underlying medical conditions

Click here to preregister for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Click here to watch the entire Council sitting as the Board of Health hearing.

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Jordan Lindsay

About Jordan Lindsay

Jordan Lindsay is a Reporter for My MC Media. Let her help tell your story by emailing jlindsay@mymcmedia.org

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