County still seeing ‘substantial transmission’ of COVID-19 –

Montgomery County is still seeing “substantial” risk of transmission of COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but has showed some improvement over the past week.

The county reported 115 new cases of COVID-19 Saturday, according to Maryland Department of Health data.

In four out of the last six days, the county has reported fewer than 100 new coronavirus cases.

The highest case count in that span was 150, on Oct. 7.

The last time the county experienced fewer than 100 cases in four out of six days was in early August. At that point, the county had not reported more than 100 cases in a day since late April.

According to the county dashboard, the seven-day positivity rate for cases is 1.7%, which the county defines as “low transmission.” Hospitalizations also are in “low utilization,” with about 68.6% of all in-patient beds being used countywide.

The county’s dashboard also shows “low utilization” of intensive care unit beds, at about 72.8%. Of the total hospital beds countywide, 7.2% are being used by COVID-19 patients, which the county defines as “moderate utilization.”

County officials continue to call on residents 12 and older who haven’t done so to get vaccinated.

Sean O’Donnell, the public health emergency manager for the county’s Department of Health and Human Services, recently told reporters that the Pfizer vaccine could be approved for emergency authorization for ages 5 to 11 as soon as early November.

As of Saturday, 89.7% of residents 12 and older were fully vaccinated, according to the CDC, and 99% of residents in that age group had received at least one dose of a vaccine.