Hogan puts new measures in place for Maryland nursing homes ahead of expected COVID-19 surge

Anticipating a winter surge of coronavirus infections, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Thursday new rules for how nursing homes can try to control outbreaks.

Nursing homes now are required to offer therapies such as monoclonal antibody treatments to residents who test positive for COVID-19, as well as offer the treatments to every resident as a preventive measure during outbreaks.

The antibodies are known to lessen the severity of COVID-19 symptoms and help keep high-risk patients out of the hospital.

“We continue to work closely with our nursing homes to protect our most vulnerable residents against COVID-19,” Hogan said in a statement. “Just as these facilities offer vaccines and booster shots, we want to make sure they are offering antibody treatments as soon as any outbreaks occur.

Sharp rises in the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations prompted the state to take other
recent actions that include hospitals being asked to maximize use of regional hospitals and alternate care facilities, limit elective surgeries and update emergency action plans.

To address the potential for health care staffing challenges, the Maryland Board of Physicians has approved emergency regulations to welcome out-of-state practitioners and to allow the reinstatement of the licenses of recently retired medical professionals. The regulations now go to the Maryland General Assembly for review before taking effect as soon as Jan. 1.

Myriad measures to address a potential winter surge fueled by the delta and omicron variants are being taken as COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise — and the most important preventive measure of all is repeatedly emphasized: Get vaccinated.

“Again, from everything we know about these variants, the most important thing Marylanders can do right now is get vaccinated and get a booster shot,” Hogan said.

All Maryland residents who’ve recently tested positive for COVID-19 or been in close contact with someone known or suspected to have the virus might be eligible to get monoclonal antibody treatments for free. Dozens of places statewide offer them.

You can get a detailed perspective on Virginia, D.C. and Maryland spikes and dips in cases, hospitalizations, deaths and COVID-19 infection rates by county online here.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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