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WTOP: Montgomery Co. approves $500K toward pandemic prevention center

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May 4, 2021, 6:08 PM

The Montgomery County, Maryland, council has approved a $500,000 appropriation to go toward a new pandemic prevention center.

During its Tuesday legislative session, the council voted in favor of the expenditure that will go toward Connected DMV’s plans for the proposed Pandemic Prevention and Biodefense Center that would tackle how to avoid future pandemics, as well as coordinating public health policy and research.

Connected DMV is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit made up of members from the business, academic, government and nonprofit sectors. The group has the goal of working toward solutions for regional and global challenges.

Council member Hans Riemer, chair of the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee, called Connected DMV’s plan “a really exciting initiative with tremendous potential.”

The $500,000 would go toward payroll, technology, legal and administrative support, as well as subject matter expertise.

County Executive Marc Elrich described the county’s appropriation as an investment in a project that he said is needed.

“I think everybody’s come out of this feeling like this country needs to be better prepared,” Elrich said.

“Montgomery County’s the logical location,” Elrich said, when asked if the appropriation represents a commitment to locate the center in the county.

Elrich said he supports the project because of his own experience trying to deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and the way the federal government struggled to handle it.

“Having had to deal with this thing so close up, you realize how much you didn’t know and how unprepared you were,” he said.

Elrich said he feels strongly about the nation not making the mistake again of being caught unprepared for a pandemic.

The council vote was 8-0; council member Sidney Katz did not attend Tuesday’s legislative session due to a death in the family.


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