More than 1,000 people are hospitalized for COVID-19 in Maryland, the highest level since April, and Gov. Larry Hogan is telling hospitals to prepare for more patients.
Maryland says it’s bracing for both the highly contagious delta variant and the recently discovered omicron variant to circulate within the state.
The statewide case rate is 22.16 per 100,000 people, about double the rate reported at the beginning of November, according to data from the state.
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Maryland's hospitalizations hit a recent low point in mid-November and have been rising since.
“We are increasingly concerned by the sharp rise in hospitalizations, which have doubled over the last three weeks,” Gov. Hogan said in a release.
Hogan’s plan to respond to the surge includes directing hospitals to increase staffing, make more beds available and set up programs offering an at-home treatment to prevent severe disease.
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Hospitals should update their emergency plans by Dec. 15 and shore up staffing, Hogan said. The Maryland Department of Health will allow retirees to get temporary medical licenses and make it easier for out-of-state health care professionals to work in Maryland.
Hogan said he plans to announce emergency legislation next month that could help hospitals address staffing problems.
Hogan said hospitals can receive grants to set up monoclonal antibody infusion programs, including ones that treat patients at home. Monoclonal antibody treatments can reduce the likelihood of someone getting severely ill with COVID-19, health experts say.
The governor also called on people to get flu shots and COVID-19 booster shots since immunity to the coronavirus may wane months after getting an initial vaccine.
Maryland’s hospitalizations were above 1,000 in April, then began to sharply fall as vaccination numbers increased. They hit their lowest point since the pandemic began in July, then began climbing again.
Many other states are reporting a rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations, NBC News reports.