Montgomery Co. requests more monkeypox vaccine; COVID-19 metrics ‘low’

Health officials in Montgomery County, Maryland, have requested more monkeypox vaccine as the number of cases statewide has increased.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 335 cases in Maryland. The state’s Department of Health does not break down the number of cases by jurisdiction.

During a briefing with Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, Sean O’Donnell — the county’s health and human services public health emergency preparedness manager — said 2,000 additional doses of monkeypox vaccine have been requested.

“We believe we’d be able to vaccinate that many people” who fit the eligibility criteria, O’Donnell said.

Montgomery County will host a virtual town hall on monkeypox next Monday, Aug. 22, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Those who want to attend can register here.

COVID-19 update

The latest COVID-19 figures put Montgomery County in the CDC’s “low” range, officials said Wednesday, with 158.5 cases per 100,000 residents and hospitalization admission rates at 9.6 per 100,000.

“We’re happy to be in ‘low’ for now,” Elrich said, adding that he hopes the numbers remain in the low range. But he cautioned that a spike could happen once school is back in session and the summer vacation season winds down.

Earl Stoddard, the county’s assistant chief administrative officer, said that he agreed that the downward course in infection rates is likely temporary.

“I would fully anticipate that as we move back indoors in the fall, we will see an additional surge again, whether it’s BA-5 or another variant that emerges,” Stoddard said.

Officials are urging everyone to get up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations, especially as school begins on Aug. 29.

O’Donnell said James Bridgers, the acting health officer, is in contact with Montgomery County schools’ new chief medical officer, Dr. Patricia Kapunan, a pediatrician. She is expected to work closely with county and state health officials in managing issues ranging from student mental health to the coronavirus.

Elrich on the upcoming recount

Elrich said he continues to be confident that he’ll remain the winner in the Democratic primary for county executive. After the results were certified by the county’s Board of Elections last Saturday, Elrich led his closest competitor, David Blair, by 35 votes.

Blair, who indicated he’d ask for a recount, did file a petition for a full recount on Tuesday.

The Board of Elections has set up a site at the Germantown Recreation Center, and the recount will begin Friday. The process is expected to continue through the weekend. The recount will start each day at 9:30 a.m. and conclude at 7 p.m.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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