Montgomery Co. council members demand explicit COVID-19 testing strategy 

Some members of the Montgomery County, Maryland, Council are so concerned about a possible resurgence of COVID-19 cases that they are asking the county executive to spell out a definitive testing strategy.

In a joint letter to Executive Marc Elrich obtained by WTOP, council members Hans Riemer and Gabe Albornoz are requesting a draft strategy that can be introduced to the full council July 14.

Both lawmakers would like to see the plan adopted a week after submission, on July 21.

“Some signs are worrisome, as the transmission of the virus is nearly uncontrolled in many locations outside of Maryland,” Riemer and Albornoz said in the letter to Elrich. “We face the possibility of cases rising back to levels that caused us to shut down in March. We cannot let that happen.”

If a plan isn’t received by Sunday, July 12, the letter said, “we will pass our own as a Board health requirement, to take effect on July 19.”

Elrich told Bethesda Beat that they have a plan and that the Council will receive it.

Believing the county is not testing high enough, Riemer and Albornoz cited a June 18 news release from Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan that they say shows the county “does not rank highly in Maryland for tests conducted.”

The lawmakers also cited other statistics that they feel proves Montgomery County needs to do more on testing.

Saying the county “must drive more testing and at scale,” Reimer and Albornoz noted that the Global Health Institute said that a community that has a 3% test positivity rate or lower is suppressing the virus.

The two point out that Montgomery County’s rate is 5%.

Earlier this week, Elrich told news outlets that they have decided to stay in Phase Two of reopening, but wouldn’t say when Phase Three could possibly begin.

“We do not want to end up in a situation that so many states are finding themselves — going backward and needing to again close businesses,” said Elrich in a virtual message this week.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

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