Maryland declares state of emergency over COVID-19 spike
The state hit a record high of more than 3,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations on Tuesday, an increase of more than 500% in the past seven weeks.
Maryland’s Republican Gov. Larry Hogan declared a 30-day state of emergency on Tuesday as COVID-19 cases in the state reached crisis levels.
The number of COVID-19 related hospitalizations rose to 3,057 on Tuesday, a more than 500 percent increase in the last seven weeks, according to the Maryland Department of Health and Gov. Hogan’s office.
Public health officials in Maryland estimate COVID-19 hospitalizations could eventually reach more than 5,000, a rate 250 percent higher than the previous peak.
“The truth is that the next four to six weeks will be the most challenging of the entire pandemic,” Hogan said during a press conference on Tuesday. “While we are hoping for the best, we are preparing for the worst.”
Hogan’s order mobilized 1,000 members of Maryland’s National Guard to help health officials at the state and local level with their pandemic response duties.
The state has authorized COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for children ages 12 to 15 and eligible state residents who’ve gone five months since receiving their primary Pfizer vaccine doses.
Hogan called on the Biden administration to increase the number of monoclonal antibody doses being distributed to Maryland and approve more rapid COVID-19 tests for the state’s general public.
The governor also challenged employers throughout Maryland to encourage their employees to wear masks and provide incentives for them to get vaccinated and receive vaccine booster shots.
State health officials plan to open an additional 20 COVID-19 testing sites outside of hospitals to keep up with testing demand and discourage state residents from visiting hospital emergency rooms to get tested.
Hogan said the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has “spread like wildfire” around the world and officials in Maryland have remained focused on preventing COVID-19-related hospitalizations and deaths.
“All of the emergency actions we are taking today are to keep our hospitals from overflowing, to keep our kids in school, and to keep Maryland open for business,” he said. “We will continue to take whatever actions are necessary in the very difficult days and weeks ahead.”
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