State Of Emergency Declared In Maryland In Response To Pandemic Surge

Arbiter Writing

With hospitalizations exceeding 3,000 in the State of Maryland and predictions for even more cases, Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency on Tuesday in the face of the public health crisis. Furthermore, he issued a duo of executive orders, the first of which empowered the Maryland Department of Health to impose regulations on hospital resources and staffing, and the second of which activated 1,000 members of the National Guard to improve the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) ranks.

"While we can’t manufacture doctors and nurses who don’t exist, we have continued to do everything we possibly can do at the state level in order to help our hospitals withstand this surge and to save lives." - Governor Larry Hogan

The state saw a peak of a calculated 3,057 COVID-19 hospitalizations on Tuesday, a figure that represents a 500% increase for the past 7 weeks and one that could surpass the original 5,000 in the coming weeks. Hogan continued to express concern by saying that the next several weeks represent the most challenging time for the whole pandemic.

This declaration of emergency comes just a week after the state was called to issue a limited public health emergency by the Maryland Hospital Association, a group that claimed that workforces were stretched extremely thin. For the past several weeks, a number of hospitals have shifted to protocols and declared disaster in order to cope with the flow of admissions.

Of the two executive orders that were signed by Hogan on Tuesday, the health department has now been provided with total authority over staffing, supplies, and capacity of hospitals. Additionally, retired and out-of-state nurses have permission to practice. The second mobilizes up to 1,000 members of the National Guard to strengthen EMS with roughly 250 of the members supporting test sites statewide.

"In addition, they will be assisting us in the opening of another 20 testing sites outside hospitals all across the state in order to meet the rapidly rising demand for testing." - Governor Larry Hogan

The Biden Administration was called on by Hogan to provide additional shipments of monoclonal antibodies and to expedite the distribution and production of tests in addition to new vaccines. A month ago, to aid the capacity of hospitals, Maryland initiated a surge operations center. Furthermore, Hogan pledged $100 million to hospitals and nursing homes with an additional $50 million allocated to assist with staffing shortages at respective facilities.

Testing operations have been substantially ramped up. This includes the launch of two brand new testing clinics run by the state itself in Harford and Anne Arundel counties which are open every day of the week.

Soldiers of the Maryland National Guard are establishing up to 20 new sites for testing across state hospitals. Following approval by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Maryland will be delivering booster shots to children between the ages of 12 and 15 years old. Moreover, adults who received the first two doses of the vaccine manufactured by Pfizer will only have to wait a period of 5 months to receive the booster.

Every emergency precaution that has been taken, in Hogan's words, is to prevent the overflowing of hospitals, to keep children attending school, and to keep businesses open in Maryland.

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