Community transmission of COVID-19 in D.C., Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax counties in Virginia and Montgomery County, Maryland, is in the “medium” range based on case numbers and hospitalizations.
But those metrics are improving in Montgomery County, said Sean O’Donnell, the county’s health and human services public health emergency preparedness manager.
“Our case rates based on PCR testing … [have] been steadily coming down now for about two weeks,” said O’Donnell, who added that hospitalizations are also declining.
“We frequently do see a little bump up of our numbers at the beginning of the work week. But we have been seeing these numbers come down,” he said.
Case rates per 100,000 people are in the 250 range, O’Donnell said, with 262 reported on Sunday. And as of early Monday, there were 94 people hospitalized across all Montgomery County settings.
O’Donnell emphasized the importance of getting vaccinated and staying up-to-date with COVID-19 booster shots.
Breakthrough cases of illness among vaccinated people are predominantly from exposure to new coronavirus strains, he said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projects that the BA.4 and the BA.5 subvariants — which are being detected in South Africa and some European countries — are expected to grow in the U.S.
“Probably any variant that becomes a variant of note is likely going to be breakthrough cases at this point because the vaccination rates in our country are fairly high and certainly in our county are very high,” O’Donnell said.
“But even with those breakthrough cases, there’s still double the risk if you were unvaccinated than if you’re vaccinated just for a case. And then looking at the death rates — they are eight times higher for those people who are unvaccinated. It’s a very compelling reason to be vaccinated and also to be up to date on your vaccinations.”
Just over 88% of Montgomery County is fully vaccinated; about 56% of those eligible to get a booster shot have done so.