SILVER SPRING, MD — Montgomery County has recorded its greatest one-day increase in COVID-19 cases since the end of July, according to figures released Friday by the Maryland Department of Health.
Officials say there have been 159 new cases in the past 24 hours, pushing the total number of infections in the county to 24,174.
There have been nine triple-digit increases in confirmed cases within the last four weeks, county coronavirus data shows. Health officials say the county — which, unlike most parts of Maryland — is still in phase two of its reopening plan — needs to achieve low and medium levels of transmission, or 10 to 35 cases a day, to move forward.
But over the last three months, daily COVID-19 cases have hovered between 47 and 171. And for the first time since Aug. 2, the number of cases per 100,000 residents rose above 10. That’s the threshold at which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers a region to be at high risk for coronavirus transmission.
The recent uptick in cases is giving health officials pause.
During a meeting with reporters on Thursday, the county’s head of emergency management, Dr. Earl Stoddard, said the county pumped the brakes on issuing an amended executive order that would lift restrictions on escape rooms, live performances, and youth sports activities.
Stoddard said the current numbers do not necessitate reimposing phase two restrictions — at least just yet. But if there’s still an uptick in the coming weeks, he added, officials “would be having much more serious conversations” about rollbacks.
Unlike case totals, the number of people dying daily from COVID-19 has been between zero and five in recent months.
On Friday, the county did not record any new deaths linked to the respiratory disease. The death toll stands at 820.
There are, however, another 40 people that health officials believe had the disease but died before ever getting tested. For now, they are considered “probable deaths” — and won’t be added to the official fatality count until they are confirmed by a laboratory test.
Montgomery County continues to have highest number of deaths in the state. It also has the second highest number of confirmed cases, after Prince George’s County, which has 31,210, according to the latest figures.
Across Maryland, there have been 134,329 cases, 3,887 confirmed deaths, and 145 “probable deaths.” Of the 416 people that are currently hospitalized, 111 are in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
This article originally appeared on the Silver Spring Patch