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Anne Arundel County hospital staff stretched thin, thicker masks recommended

Posted at 5:39 PM, Jan 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-11 17:39:39-05

ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, Md. — Many businesses and government affiliated organizations are dealing with issues of staffing because of COVID.

Anne Arundel County leaders gave a COVID update Tuesday to talk about some of those issues and they confirmed the mask mandate in the county will remain in effect until the end of January.

The mask mandate is just one of the issues county executive Steuart Pittman talked about today in a press conference and he had a special message for the community.

“This really is a time for grace and patience to lean on one another and help one another out. I do want to ask the public to hold our hospitals in the light, to have patience, thanks. Do all that you can if you go to a hospital or have to interact with the hospital to be patient with the staff there that is dealing with unprecedented stresses,” Pittman said.

With hospitals ramping up the number of sick patients and staff members calling out sick Pittman said with all the COVID related ripple effects he’s asking everyone to learn to adapt to these difficult times. He also had a similar request for parents who have children facing challenges due to COVID within the school systems as well.

"I also want to ask parents in particular to be patient with the situation in our school system in fact in our school system as well as private schools. As a result of the number of people who are out with COVID now, everyone is trying to provide services with fewer staff, that goes for all county agencies as well and public safety,” Pittman says.

Anne Arundel County Health officer Dr. Kalyanaraman was also at the press conference. He said not only have the number of COVID cases in the county increased during this omicron surge, but the number of serious cases they’ve seen has increased as well.

“We're seeing the ICU cases continues to increase. The occupancy in our hospitals is over 90% at this point we our baseline threshold is 70%. So they're under a large amount of stress at this time,” Dr. Kalyanaraman said.

Kalyanaraman said most of the people hospitalized are those who haven’t been vaccinated the other portion is mostly people who haven’t been boosted. It’s why they’re still urging people to make sure their vaccines are up to date to protect against the highly contagious new strain of coronavirus.

“Wear a mask in public settings, we have the mask mandate omicron is very contagious. So we want to make sure people know that they use a good quality mask either KN95 or surgical mask, those are the best. If you're using a cloth mask, make sure it has multiple layers and a filter,” Dr. Kalyanaraman said.

County Executive Pittman said although some businesses have taken on the option to ask for a vaccine passport from people who patronize their business he thought more businesses would adapt to that. He said there were not enough votes on the council to mandate it but it’s a topic county leaders in Anne Arundel plan to continuously discuss.