Montco officials keep urging residents to stay home, practice social distancing

EAGLEVILLE, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — Nine more Montgomery County residents have died after getting infected by COVID-19, bringing the death toll in the county to 164. 

Just shy of 3,000 county residents have tested positive since the outbreak, with 184 new cases announced Monday. 

As such, county officials keep urging residents to follow stay-at-home and social-distancing orders.

Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh said people still have the right to protest — referencing Monday’s rally in Harrisburg against Gov. Tom Wolf’s continued orders to close non-essential businesses — but she said those protesters, who appear to lack face masks, are making the situation more difficult. 

“All they’re going to do with these rallies is get exactly what they don’t want: They are going to make it be a longer period of time until it’s safe to open up,” she said.

Bucks County commissioners held a virtual town hall Monday on similar issues, addressing the need for people to wait for any kind of all-clear from medical professionals.

So far, all hospitals in Montgomery County continue to have available beds, which Arkoosh credits to social distancing.

Many people have also asked her if there’s any chance high school graduation ceremonies could take place this year. Simply put: No.

As a parent of twin high school seniors, Arkoosh said they could not predict a scenario in which a large gathering in late May or early June could happen safely.

She spoke with area superintendents to discuss other options.

“They are each coming up with really great, creative ideas to honor graduating students,” she added.

Montgomery County also plans to soon announce recipients of its small business grants, totaling $1 million. However, county officials received 1,520 applications in less than seven hours, requesting more than $33 million.