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Strike teams continue to help Maryland nursing homes and adult care facilities

Posted at 6:36 PM, May 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-06 18:36:12-04

Dr. Morgan Katz works at Johns Hopkins as an infectious disease specialist. She’s also a member of one of Maryland’s strike teams organized by the governor to help combat COVID-19.

“Things we really have identified across the board is that that nursing homes continue to struggle with testing and the staffing issues,” said Dr. Katz during a Skype interview with WMAR-2 News.

As stated by the governor, the strike teams are comprised of three major teams:

  • Testing teams, to identify those in close contact with a confirmed case, and collect and send out specimens for the fastest test available.
  • Assistance teams, to quickly assess the situation on-site, determine equipment and supply needs, and triage residents.
  • Clinical teams, which will include doctors, nurse practitioners, and registered nurses from major hospital systems, tasked with providing on-site medical triage and stabilizing residents.

Dr. Katz told WMAR-2 News that it’s no surprise COVID-19 remains an issue in area nursing homes.

“They are the most vulnerable,” she said. “They’re also living in close proximity to one another.”

This week strike teams will be extra busy as they help facilitate universal testing as mandated by the governor. Regardless of symptoms, residents and staff will be tested.

Dr. Katz said while it’s important to know an individual’s COVID-19 status, this type of testing could cripple facilities if they’re not prepared.

“There’s a Catch-22 here,” she said. “As soon as soon as you test all your staff, you have to be prepared to lose half of your staff if they test positive. In order to keep these facilities open they need people working there. I think we just need to be careful with that.”