TidalHealth doctor: Covid case rates finally ‘going the right way’

By Liz Holland
Posted 1/25/22

Covid-19 cases are beginning to decline at TidalHealth Peninsula Regional where the number of patients rose as high as 120 at one point during the recent surge, but dropped to around 70 this …

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TidalHealth doctor: Covid case rates finally ‘going the right way’

Posted

Covid-19 cases are beginning to decline at TidalHealth Peninsula Regional where the number of patients rose as high as 120 at one point during the recent surge, but dropped to around 70 this week.

“It’s a subtle drop, but enough to give us hope,” said Dr. Chris Snyder, Chief Quality Officer and Covid Clinical Response Lead at TidalHealth. “It’s going the right way.”

Of those currently in the hospital, 50 cases are considered chronic, meaning they have been there more than 10 days, he said. One patient has been hospitalized for the past four months.

A large portion of the Covid patients at TidalHealth are unvaccinated, while others are elderly or frail, Snyder said.

Across Maryland, there are encouraging trends among many key health metrics, Gov. Larry Hogan said Monday. Since peaking at 3,462 on Jan. 11, hospitalizations have dropped by 32.6 percent to 2,330. Maryland is one of eight states where Covid-19 hospitalizations have declined over the last two weeks.

Hogan also announced last week that the state was opening several new hospital-based Covid testing sites, including one at TidalHealth that is expected to be in a tent in one of the hospital’s parking lots. So far, no date has been set for its opening.

"This is an all-new site being built from scratch,” according to a statement from the Maryland Department of Health. “Our teams are coordinating with each other to get it open at the first possible opportunity, while working to mitigate the possible effects of winter weather."

In the meantime, the Wicomico County Health Department is holding free Covid testing clinics at the Wicomico Civic Center on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Thursdays from 1 to 3 p.m. Appointments are preferred, but walk-ups are welcome. To schedule, call 410-341-4600.

The health departments in Somerset and Worcester counties also hold regular testing. Visit coronavirus.maryland.gov for vaccine and test locations.

For anyone testing positive with Covid, Snyder recommended they contact their primary care doctor as soon as possible. There are two effective anti-viral drugs available by prescription, but they need to be taken within five days of the onset of the disease. 

State efforts 

On Monday, Hogan enacted an executive order expanding the state’s efforts to support health care facilities in addressing staffing shortages. In addition, the state’s health metrics continue to substantially improve, with Covid-19 hospitalizations dropping at the fastest rate in the United States.

The executive order takes the following actions: 

  • Provides more licensing flexibility for pharmacists and technicians to help support the pharmacy workforce. Pharmacies are conducting a number of critical Covid-19 functions, including testing and vaccination clinics.
  • Expands the state’s initiative to allow nursing students to serve as licensed practitioners by also including Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), and Certified Medical Technicians (CMTs).
  • Allows respiratory therapy students to assist in augmenting the emergency medical services (EMS) workforce.

“We continue to take short-term actions to support our health care workforce as it deals with the Omicron wave and the influx of unvaccinated patients,” said Hogan. “All of the data continues to show very encouraging trends, with many of our key health metrics consistently and substantially declining. We ask Marylanders to remain vigilant, to keep doing the things that can keep us safe, and to get boosted for maximum protection against these variants.”

Maryland has seen a significant increase in vaccinations of school-aged children since the beginning of 2022, and is now reporting 40.5 percent of children ages 5 to 11 are vaccinated.

State officials continue to encourage parents to get their school-aged children vaccinated as soon as possible. 

Local numbers 

As of Tuesday, the case count in Wicomico County now stands at 17,866 compared to 16,924 last week and 15,503 two weeks ago. Deaths in the county now stand at 286 -- 24 more than last week.

The patient count in Somerset is now 4,749 with 63 deaths. Additional cases have also been confirmed in Worcester County, which now reports 7,939 people as having had the virus and 140 deaths – two more since last week.

Statewide in Maryland, 940,713 cases have been confirmed, with 12,978 confirmed deaths and 255 probable deaths. The current hospitalization totals of people with the virus stands at 2,361, compared to 3,060 the week before. The number of people in intensive care is 433 down from 549 last week.

Across Maryland, more than 6.6 million people have tested negative for the virus.

As of Monday, the state has administered more than 10.9 million doses of vaccine, with more than 4.3 million people now fully vaccinated and 94.2 percent of the adult population with at least one dose.

Nationally, there are now more than 71.7 million cases with 868,530 deaths. Roughly 210.4 million people in the U.S. – 64 percent of the population -- are fully vaccinated.

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