The County Council yesterday voted unanimously to amend the county Board of Health regulation to require seven consecutive days of substantial COVID-19 transmission in Montgomery County before an indoor mask mandate is reinstated.

Dr. James Bridgers, the county’s acting health officer, told the County Council on Saturday that the county had returned to “substantial transmission” of COVID-19, triggering the requirement to reinstate an indoor mask mandate under the latest Board of Health regulation.

The current regulation called for the mandate to resume if the transmission rate returned anytime after the mandate was lifted, which happened on Oct. 28 after county had achieved “moderate” transmission—fewer than 50 new cases per day, per 100,000 population—for seven straight days.

The reinstatement, without the amendment, would have gone into effect at 12:01 a.m. Nov. 3.

“A seven-day period for monitoring COVID-19 transmission rates provides a more accurate picture of public health trends related to the virus and eliminates quick swings back and forth on indoor masking requirements,” according to a press release.

There were more than 50 new cases per day, per 100,000 population again yesterday, which keeps the county in the CDC-defined “substantial” range.

The seven-day period began on Oct. 30 under the new regulation, according to the council staff report. It would stop if the rate of transmission falls to fewer than 50 new cases per day, per 100,000 population.

“The amended Board of Health regulation became effective immediately upon its adoption by the Board of Health and would automatically terminate at 12:01 a.m. on the day immediately following the date...

...that 85 percent or more of the County’s population is fully vaccinated, as reported by the CDC on its COVID Data Tracker,” the release reads.

Photo: "IMG_5571" by Elvert Barnes is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0