Montgomery County weighs added coronavirus restrictions as infections increase

If numbers continue to increase, the county could reinstate restrictions that were lifted in recent months. The seven-day average in new cases recently has exceeded 10 new infections per 100,000 residents.

“It’s not a good place to be,” Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich (D) said during a news conference Wednesday.

Contact tracers have found that the virus is spreading at social gatherings, including those among family members, and at religious institutions, officials said.

County Health Officer Travis Gayles urged residents not to “let their guard down” with physical distancing or mask-wearing when gathering with relatives or close friends.

Recent data also shows that an increase in young residents testing positive has plateaued, giving way to a slight uptick in older adults contracting the virus. The trend “gives us pause,” Gayles said, as older adults are susceptible to more serious effects of the virus.

Nursing homes, however, have not seen a resurgence of the virus, he said.

“We don’t want to walk anything back,” Gayles said. “[But] if the numbers don’t improve . . . we’ll likely need to have closures.”

While the county has seen a slight rise in infections, the number of new cases across Maryland, Virginia and D.C. has ticked downward for about a week.

The greater Washington region on Wednesday recorded 1,563 new coronavirus cases and 38 additional deaths. Virginia added 1,018 new cases and 30 deaths, Maryland added 492 cases and eight deaths, and D.C. added 53 cases and no deaths.

The rolling seven-day average of new infections across the region stood at 1,692 cases on Wednesday. That’s down from a recent peak of 1,801 average daily cases on Oct. 14.

The number of new reported fatalities across the region tied Tuesday’s death toll — the most in a single day since Sept. 22 — led by statewide increases in Virginia. Virginia Health Department officials this week said the increase isn’t evidence of a surge in new deaths, but rather the result of waiting for death certificates to be prepared and for the data to be entered into a state database.

Dana Hedgpeth contributed to this report.

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