Montgomery County Moving onto Coronavirus’ ‘Next Normal’

As the number of Montgomery County residents who test positive for COVID-19 continues to decline, the county is moving onto what it is calling “The Next Normal.”

During its first in-person meeting in two years, Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Earl Stoddard introduced SHOTS, an acronym for the county’s COVID-19 plans. The S stands for shots. The county will continue to urge residents to receive their vaccinations and booster shots. The H is for health monitoring, which include testing and data input.

The O in SHOTS stands for outreach and awareness. The T is for testing at home and at various county sites. The final S stands for staying ready.

Also, six sites will be opened beginning Wednesday where residents can pick up a self-test, swab themselves and then immediately drop their sample in a box. Residents will receive the results of their tests in fewer than 48 hours.

Those rapid test kits will be supplied and tested by 20/20 BioResponse, which is part of 20/20 Genesystems, Inc. in Rockville. It manufactures the BioCheck test kits.

The six sites are part of a pilot program and could expand to other locations if needed, Stoddard said.

The county currently is experiencing 35 cases per 100,000 resident as of March 15. The test positivity rate is 1.44% and only 29 of the intensive care unit beds in area hospitals are used by people who have tested positive for COVID-19.

According to CDC guidelines, the county currently is in moderate transmission.

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