ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Over the last 24 hours, Maryland reported 1,866 new COVID-19 cases and 43 more hospitalizations.
There are now 1,027 people in the state currently in the hospital with the virus.
Health officials say the spike is due to the convergence of the flu, and the Delta and Omicron variants.
On Friday, Governor Larry Hogan directed hospitals to prepare for potential surges.
Hospitals are being told to update their emergency plans, by maximizing their ICU staffing, bed capacity, and use of regional and alternate care sites.
The state wants those revisions in place by December 15.
In order to tackle staffing shortages, the state is requesting the Maryland Boards of Physicians, Pharmacy, and Nursing to permit the temporary licensure of recently retired licensees, and cut the red tape that normally prevents interstate compact or out-of-state health care practitioners from practicing in Maryland.
“Maryland has begun to see an uptick in our key health metrics, and we are increasingly concerned by the sharp rise in hospitalizations, which have doubled over the last three weeks,” said Governor Hogan. “State health officials are taking these additional actions as we continue to use every tool at our disposal to help Maryland hospitals have the resources they need to respond to this and future hospital surges.”
To help treat active COVID-19 cases, hospitals are also being pushed to establish community based monoclonal antibody infusion programs, including in-home infusions, that would be funded by Health Service Cost Review Commission grants announced earlier this year.
This latest effort comes one day after the federal government approved Pfizer boosters for those as young as 16.