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'We are struggling' | Local governments say they are already outpaced by the coronavirus

Alexandria’s director of health told this meeting that his office is already low on resources as D.C. braces for more cases.

WASHINGTON — Less than one week after coronavirus cases were confirmed in our area, public health officials from Maryland, Virginia, and D.C say they are already stretched thin. 

They addressed a meeting of local leaders from across the region Wednesday, urging them to make plans now to keep the government running should an outbreak occur.

“We think we will get more cases,” John Davies Cole, head of public health for The District said. “We want to make sure our lives continue as they should with the necessary precautions here and there,” he said.

“It is a big deal,” Montgomery County Council Vice President Tom Hucker told WUSA9, underscoring that a regional body must band local governments together. Alexandria’s director of health told this meeting that his office is already low on resources.

“We are struggling to get our arms around the problem—it’s a real challenge,” Hucker said. “It’s a challenge for all of our regional partners and governments around the Washington region.”

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Wednesday’s meeting was hosted by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. It is planning another coronavirus briefing like this, but not until next month.

“Getting the briefing we had today is a good start, but we need to continue to build on it,” Hucker said.

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Local government officials said during the meeting that they’re getting conflicting messages from state leaders. D.C.’s head of public health said he is not advocating closures of businesses or schools. 

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said Wednesday afternoon that schools and businesses should prepare to close.

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