Health officials in Montgomery County are urging local child care centers to not increase capacity, even after Maryland allowed the move.
Montgomery County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles said current COVID-19 metrics in the county has him worried about making the move.
“We do have significant concerns about increasing the capacity for child care centers, particularly given the sustained moderate to medium high transmission levels for the county,” Gayles said.
On Thursday, State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon announced that child care centers could increase from 10 to 15 individuals per class room to full capacity, which was welcome news for some day cares. But according to Gayles, the current COVID-19 numbers in the county do not support that decision in Montgomery County.
Overall, Gayles said that while the county’s test positivity rate remains firm, a decrease in cases the county is looking for has not been seen. His concern is also that the seven-day average of cases per 100,000 residents has been rising since last Saturday.
“We have not seen a sustained drop in cases to get us to lower levels of community transmission that would allow us to feel more comfortable and confident that we can open up more aspects of our society safely,” Gayles said.
Gayles said the concern for child care centers comes as the county and state continue to see a higher percentage of new coronavirus cases in people between the ages of 0 and 19 years old.
“I think we are learning that children can be effective carriers and transmitters of COVID, just as effectively as adults can be,” Gayles said.
While capacity restrictions for day cares fall to the state, Gayles said the county will be reaching out to child care centers to make sure operators are aware of the recommendations the county is making.
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