Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Wednesday announced a series of steps he said would address the potential for a surge in COVID-19 cases with a new variant making its presence known.
“We are continuing to closely monitor the rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations and use every tool at our disposal to make sure our hospitals have the resources they need to prepare for this and future surges,” Hogan said in a statement.
Among the measures is the establishment of a Surge Operations Center, which would coordinate with hospitals to optimize their staffed bed space.
Hospitals are being directed to submit updated pandemic plans, with an emphasis on capacity, redeploying staff, rescheduling non-urgent procedures and redeploying staff.
Hogan set benchmarks for hospitals as well: When Maryland hospitalizations reach 1,200, hospitals will reschedule non-urgent procedures that would require an overnight stay and “make available all staffed bed capacity.” At 1,500, the hospitals’ pandemic plans would kick in.
The hospitalization number in Maryland currently stands at 1,151 as of Wednesday – down slightly from Tuesday, but still more than double the number from a month ago.
Hogan’s office said in the statement that state officials are working with the licensing board to give temporary licenses to retired health care professionals and make it easier for health care workers in other states to get licenses in Maryland.
Hogan emphasized that getting vaccinated is “the single most important thing Marylanders can do to protect against these dangerous COVID-19 variants.”
- Sign up for WTOP alerts
- Latest coronavirus test results in DC, Maryland and Virginia
- Latest vaccination numbers in DC, Maryland and Virginia