Maryland set a new record of 3,057 Covid-19 hospitalizations on Tuesday, as Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan warned the newest projections show the number could climb to more than 5,000 in the coming weeks.
“The truth is that the next four to six weeks will be the most challenging of the entire pandemic,” Hogan said.
In Salisbury, a record 77 Covid-positive patients were in the care of TidalHealth Peninsula Regional as of Tuesday, according to hospital spokesman Roger Follebout. That number is a significant increase from the week before when 42 people were hospitalized there.
“These volumes exceed any previous surge we have ever experienced, and 80 percent of the Covid patients in our Salisbury hospital today are not vaccinated,” he said.
“People who have been fully vaccinated and boosted are not the people being cared for here. The math is remarkably easy to comprehend and the proof is incredibly clear in those numbers,” Follebout said.
Hogan declared a 30-day state of emergency to take urgent short-term actions to combat the current surge and mobilized 1,000 members of the Maryland National Guard to assist state and local health officials with the ongoing pandemic response.
“All of the emergency actions we are taking today are to keep our hospitals from overflowing, to keep our kids in school, and to keep Maryland open for business, and we will continue to take whatever actions are necessary in the very difficult days and weeks ahead,” Hogan said
The governor also announced he had signed two executive orders, the first of which a
authorizes the Maryland Secretary of Health to regulate hospital personnel, bed space and supplies.
To assist hospitals and nursing homes in addressing staffing shortages, the order also authorizes the Secretary of Health to direct and expedite the transfer of patients between facilities as necessary and establish alternate care sites.
The governor’s order also allows for interstate reciprocity for health care licenses; allows inactive health care practitioners to practice without reinstating their licenses; authorizes graduate nurses to work at any health care facility and to provide full nursing services; and allows health care practitioners to practice outside the scope of their licenses.
The governor enacted a second executive order that authorizes additional steps to further augment the state’s EMS workforce, which is on the front lines and also overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients.
At Hogan’s direction, 1,000 members of the Maryland National Guard are being mobilized to assist state and local health officials with the state’s emergency pandemic response.
Approximately 250 Guard members will be deployed to support Covid-19 testing sites across the state, including at hospitals and skilled nursing facilities and to assist with patient transport.
The governor also announced the state will open 20 Covid-19 testing sites across the state in addition to the two new sites that opened last week in Annapolis and Bel Air.
Following the latest action from the Food and Drug Administration, the state of Maryland will now provide Covid-19 booster shots for children between the ages of 12 and 15. Marylanders are also now eligible to get a booster five months after completing their primary doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Previous guidance required eligible Marylanders to wait six months.
This week, Hogan announced the state is now providing two hours of paid leave for any employee who gets a booster shot, and he urged other employers across Maryland to provide leave for vaccinations and boosters.
With face coverings now required in all state government buildings in Maryland, the governor also urged more employers to encourage the wearing of masks or face coverings.
The Wicomico County Health Department offers regular Covid vaccine clinics at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center. Health officials are stressing the importance of getting vaccinated, including a third dose which offers even more protection against the Delta and Omicron variants. Unvaccinated people risk death or long-term effects of the virus referred to as long Covid.
Vaccines are free and available at most pharmacies or through the health department. To find a vaccination site visit covidvax.maryland.gov.
More than a month after a security breach shut down its website, the Maryland Department of Health has resumed its reporting of the number of Covid cases and deaths in all counties and Baltimore City.
As of Tuesday, the case count in Wicomico County now stands at 14,143 with 251 deaths since the start of the pandemic nearly two years ago.
The patient count in Somerset is now 3,856 with 58 deaths. Additional cases have also been confirmed in Worcester County, which now reports 6,274 people as having had the virus and 131 deaths.
Statewide in Maryland, 765,944 cases have been confirmed, with 11,706 confirmed deaths and 238 probable deaths. The current hospitalization totals of people with the virus stands at 3,057. The number of people in intensive care is 513, including 10 pediatric cases.
Across Maryland, more than 5.7 million people have tested negative for the virus.
As of Monday, the state has administered more than 10.3 million doses of vaccine, with more than 4.2 million people now fully vaccinated and 91.9 percent of the adult population with at least one dose.
Nationally, there are now more than 56.4 million cases with 828,344 deaths. Roughly 205.8 million people in the U.S. – 63 percent of the population -- are fully vaccinated.