Delegate Arian Kelly has a fabulous update on vaccination data in the state and county. Did you know:
This week, Maryland is up to 15.8% of our population vaccinated, and Montgomery County is above that average at 16.3%. In great news, 40% of Marylanders 65 and over are now vaccinated.
In the New York Times ranking of states based on the percentage of population vaccinated with at least one dose, we are ranked 31st out of 50 states.
State data reveals that while Latinos make up 11% of the Maryland population, they have received only 4% of the vaccine.
If you are trying to get an appointment at a State mass vaccination site, make sure to sign up for text alerts by texting “MDReady” to 898-211.
This week the Montgomery County Health Department sent invitations to everyone 75 and over who has pre-registered with the county. If you pre-registered and did not receive an invitation, check your junk mail! If you still have no invite, you should email email@example.com or call 240.777.2982 and answer “yes” three times (MoCo resident, over 65, need assistance with the form). The agent will prioritize you for an appointment.
According to state data (as of March 2nd), the percentage of Montgomery County seniors vaccinated varies by age: 85+ = 58% vaccinated; 75-84 = 68% vaccinated, and 65-74 =33% vaccinated.
17% of Montgomery County women are vaccinated. 11.5% of Montgomery County men are vaccinated
County transmission rates, the lowest since early Nov., featured a 14-day average test positivity rate below 4%; and a sharply declining 7-day average over the past five weeks (below 11 per 100,000 residents, as of Feb. 22).
Over 12% of county residents, including nearly half of those age 75+, have received at least one vaccine dose; as have two-thirds of the 9,000 staff who were prioritized by Montgomery County Public Schools.
Indoor dining resumed Feb. 14 at 25% capacity, and enforcement patrols reported no violations.
This report also includes a comprehensive guide to vaccinations in the county.
Montgomery County’s seven-day average of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents has fallen to its lowest level since November 5, when it was 14.8. As of Monday, the county’s seven-day average was 15.1 cases per 100,000 residents, down from a peak average of 49.8 cases per 100,000 residents on January 12.
Based on these metrics, combined with 10.2 percent of all residents receiving their first vaccination shot, the Council voted last week to allow indoor dining at a 25% capacity. Patrons may stay in a restaurant for 90 minutes, an increase from the originally proposed 60 minutes.
If you’ve been missing dining inside a restaurant … or if your preference is to only eat outside and/or by takeout … you can get info on old favorites or learn about a new restaurant at:
As we roll out the big effort to vaccinate everyone, there has been some confusion. Here’s some information from the Seventh State blog that will hopefully help you sort out what’s going on and why.
State Announcement Jumped the Gun
Governor Larry Hogan announced that people 75 and older in Priority Group 1B would be eligible to receive the vaccine beginning this past Monday. Hogan notified the counties around two hours before the announcement.
The problem, however, is that many counties have not finished vaccinating the people in Priority Group 1A, which includes healthcare providers who could easily become vectors of spreading the virus. As Adam detailed yesterday, Montgomery has received comparatively little vaccine but been vaccinating at a high rate.
Each group is also divided into three tiers. In 1B, Tier 1 includes people 75 and over. Some thought that everyone in Tier 1B would become eligible at once but the county is starting with Tier 1. If you are a Montgomery resident in this tier, you can now preregister for an appointment.
The Governor’s announcement has preceded availability here in Montgomery. This naturally created confusion and unhappiness among some that residents over 75 who thought that they could get the vaccine or even cannot be legally barred from receiving it.
Appointment Software SNAFU
The State has mandated that all county governments use the same appointment software, which was originally designed for the flu vaccine. Flu vaccine is usually plentiful, but we unfortunately have to ration COVID-19 vaccine and have eligibility requirements.
Designed for a situation with plenty of vaccine and the desire to vaccinate as fast as possible, the state-mandated software spits out offers for appointments as soon as they are available and doesn’t take into account eligibility.
This has resulted in people in 1B who thought they were eligible making appointments and then getting turned away because they weren’t. Even though Montgomery is still trying to finish vaccinating 1A, the county began on Thursday to allow anyone who is 75 and over (i.e. Tier 1 of 1B) and showed up for an appointment to get the vaccine.
Councilmember Email Blasts Exacerbated Confusion
Email blasts from some county councilmembers compounded the problem created by the Governor’s announcement by indicating that the county was moving to 1B now and urging people to sign up in all tiers.
Hospitals v. County Vaccination Centers
For whatever reason, 40-50% of people working in hospitals have decided not to get the vaccine. As a result, hospitals have extra. Rather than let it go to waste, they have sensibly been vaccinating people 75 and over, so hospitals have operated differently from county centers.
Ready for More Vaccine
I have heard that vaccination centers have far more people ready to do the vaccinations than people to receive it. While this may seem bizarre, it’s good news because it means that Montgomery may be better prepared for mass vaccinations as more vaccine becomes available.
On Tuesday, December 15, at 1 pm, the Montgomery County Council will introduce, hold a public hearing, and vote on a resolution and Board of Health Regulation that would approve Executive Order 139-20 on the COVID-19 Local Order amending and restating the order dated November 10. If approved by the council, Executive Order 139-20 would go into effect that day, December 15, 2020, at 5 pm. See the press release. The major changes from the last executive order include the following:
suspends indoor dining at restaurants;
restricts outdoor dining hours to 6 am through 10 pm, to comply with the Governor Hogan’s latest executive order;
changes maximum capacity to one person per 200 square feet of retail space, not to exceed 150 persons, and specifically includes large retailers and grocery stores; and
removes automatic approval to exceed gathering limits to accommodate parents, guardians and immediate family at sports events. Sports would follow social gathering size limitations.
Due to the COVID-19 state of emergency, the public may not attend the public hearing but is welcome to participate in other ways: by calling 240-777-7900 with your opinion; testifying by phone (registration is required); providing audio, video and written testimony online; filing comments or suggestions online; mailing written comments to County Council, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD 20850; or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The hearing will be televised on Cable Montgomery and live-streamed on the County Council’s website, Facebook Live and YouTube pages. See the press release for details.
It’s been awhile since I’ve done a COVID-19 update, but with the recent surge, it seemed appropriate. Here are the latest White Flint/Pike District area numbers courtesy of Delegate Marc Korman (who posts them daily on his social media.)
The Montgomery County testing portal is a useful list of places where you can get tested. (I was tested a couple of weeks ago at one of the county sites and got results back (thankfully negative!) in just 3 days.)
Don’t forget about Montgomery County’s new directive: a face covering must be worn when you are likely to come into contact with another person, such as being within six feet of another person for more than a fleeting time and must be worn unless a person is actively engaged in eating or drinking. And no gatherings of more than ten people.
Washington metro area job growth in April was an unprecedented -319,200, or a loss of approximately 10% of the region’s total employment. The regional unemployment rate also skyrocketed to 9.9% in April, compared to 3.3% in March 2020 and 2.8% in April 2019. The economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis has been wildly uneven among individual business sectors, with some faring far worse than others.
Commercial real estate in the region has been moderately affected by the pandemic, although much of the industry is in a wait-and-see pattern. According to a survey by The Associated General Contractors of America of the Northeast region, 15% of respondents mentioned they have been notified to cease projects that were underway in May. About 33% of respondents are experiencing project delays due to a shortage of personal protective equipment, and another 28% reported a shortage of construction material. However, domestic production of materials and a national slowdown in construction activity has resulted in a reduction in some construction costs.
Delta conducted a survey of multifamily real estate developers in the Washington metro area to gauge the impact of COVID-19 on scheduled groundbreakings. About half of the respondents have experienced delays due to the difficulty in obtaining financing. Despite delays for some planned multifamily projects, several have started construction amid the pandemic.
A Delta survey of property management firms showed that the pandemic has significantly altered operations of multifamily buildings, including: the closure of common areas, adjustment to cleaning routines, the closure of leasing offices to the public, and the widespread use of virtual tours. During the months of April and May, data from the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) shows that rent collection rates in the U.S. were down in 2020 compared to the same months in 2019, but not as much as expected.
They determined that while the Washington multifamily market has underperformed rapidly growing metros in the Sunbelt and West Coast since the Great Recession, it is better positioned to weather a down cycle than nearly all its peers. They expect minimal delays in deliveries of apartment projects already underway due to the pandemic. The pandemic will likely cause delays in projected construction starts n the second half of 2020, which will reduce the number of deliveries in 2022 and into 2023, well after the end of the medical emergency (hopefully); however, the short-term impacts will be minimal.
They project that deliveries of Class A office space will outpace absorption in all three substate areas over the next year. In turn, they project a rise in vacancy in office space by Q1 2021, reaching close to 5.0% in the metro area compared to 4.4% as of the first quarter of 2020. Rent growth will remain below average and likely turn negative in several submarkets.
While the pandemic will likely not lead to large, permanent migratory shifts away from urban areas, there may be some changes to the design of existing and new multifamily buildings. Some building design features and trends that are likely to become more prevalent going forward include: retrofitting buildings with contactless opening technology, redesigning common areas and amenity space to accommodate social distancing, such as creating office pods or spacing equipment in the fitness center, and adding a greater amount of dedicated workspace in units. COVID-19 will leave its mark on multifamily design just as other market disruptions have over the years.
Governor Larry Hogan recently announced that Maryland’s statewide COVID-19 positivity rate has reached a new all-time low of 3.62%. He also said that positivity rate among for those under 35 has dropped nearly 30% since July 23, to 4.78%. The state’s hospitalization metrics continue to plateau, with ICU beds dropping below 120 for the first time since July 14.
Montgomery County’s positivity rate has dropped to 2.94%. On Saturday, the county had 121 new confirmed cases of COVID-19. This is a daily case growth of 0.6%, marking the 32nd consecutive day the increase was less than 1%.
On Saturday, the county added 121 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing its total to 18,260 since the pandemic began in mid-March. There have been 763 confirmed deaths from the virus in Montgomery County.