The math of reopening Montgomery County

During today’s press conference, County Commissioner Dr. Val Arkoosh outlined the math that will allow Montgomery County to meet the state’s guidelines to start the process of reopening.

Governor Wolf outlined earlier this week that a county must have on average for the previous 14 days, 50 or less new cases per 100,000 residents per day, plus ensure the following:

  • Enough testing available for individuals with symptoms and target populations such as those at high risk, health care personnel, and first responders.
  • Robust case investigation and contact tracing infrastructure is in place to facilitate early identification of cluster outbreaks and to issue proper isolation and quarantine orders.
  • Identification of area’s high-risk settings including correctional institutions, personal care homes, skilled nursing facilities, and other congregate care settings, and assurance that facilities have adequate safeguards in place such as staff training, employee screening, visitor procedures and screening, and adequate supplies of PPE to support continued operations.
Montgomery County

The above chart shows how the 50 or less new cases per 100,000 residents per day requirement is calculated. You take the 2019 population of Montgomery County which is 830,915 and divide that by 100. That equals 8.30915. You then multiply that by 50 which equals the 14-day target of 415. You then divide 415 by 14 and you get the daily average target of 30 positive test results.

As you can see, the current daily average is 187. So once that is 30, the governor will consider Montgomery County a candidate to be moved from “red” (which is the phase the county is currently in) to “yellow” and start the initial reopening steps. Further guidelines haven’t been released yet on what is needed to reach “green.” You can read more about this color-coded process here.

During today’s press conference, Arkoosh was asked by NBC10’s Deanna Durante if a certain amount of testing would be required by the state. Arkoosh said she had asked the state about that and that there wasn’t, but it would consider how much testing was being done when deciding if a county had reached the 14-day goal.

However, that is only what Montgomery County has to do. The eight counties in the southeastern portion of the state have been lumped together, so at least in some capacity, Montgomery County’s reopening is tied to Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Schuylkill, Berks, Lancaster, and Philadelphia counties. Arkoosh pointed out how these counties have a shared workforce that travels between counties each day which is why this is necessary.

Let us know what you think in the comments.