Gov. Hogan: Youngest Marylander to die from COVID-19 was 1-year-old boy, hospitals look to expand

Posted at 4:17 PM, Dec 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-02 07:28:45-05

ANNAPOLIS — Gov. Hogan provided a COVID-19 update to Marylanders on Tuesday.

The virus has taken the lives of 4,516 Marylanders, and on Monday, Maryland lost its youngest COVID-19 victim, a 1-year-old boy.

Hogan also announced the launch of MarylandMedNow to staff up hospitals, nursing homes, testing sites, and vaccination clinics across the state.

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The state is requesting that all colleges and universities immediately develop emergency policies and procedures to award academic credit to students who are willing to serve in healthcare during this pandemic.

Colleges and universities are also encouraged to allow healthcare students who are in their final semester and have satisfied graduation requirements to be eligible for “early exit” in order to quickly enter the workforce.

Hayley Mark is the Chair of the Department of Nursing at Towson University. She says the school is willing and ready to help.

Mark says 66 percent of the school’s seniors will graduate Wednesday.

“Majority of our students work as certified nursing assistants while in school and many of them have a lot of experience at these hospitals so they see what’s going on,” Mark said.

At Coppin State, the Dean of College Health Professions Dr. Tracey Murray says students in their nursing program will be able to enter the workforce later this month.

"Many of our students the first time they will be going into practice typically would be the first week in February so I do see ourselves in a critical part in the initiative,” said Dr. Murray.

Hogan is urging counties to tap non-deployed school nurses, health services staff, and other county employees to help staff the state’s testing and vaccination sites.

“We heard the Governor’s call and stand ready to support COVID-19 testing and vaccination efforts,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. “The continued effort to mitigate the spread of this virus requires the collaboration and cooperation of our government, private organizations, and our residents. Howard County will continue to communicate with our partners on the State level to offer assistance and support as needed.”

Hospitals and nursing homes are asked to begin utilizing unlicensed individuals to perform certain less critical tasks in order to free up nursing staff.

Effective immediately, hospitals are also required to submit a Patient Surge Plan with strategies to expand hospital beds and make staffing surge adjustments.

The plans must be submitted to the Maryland Department of Health by Dec. 8.

Hospitals should immediately begin adding or redeploying staff, reducing noncritical elective procedures that require a bed or ventilator, and transferring patients to other appropriate treatment facilities.

The state currently has 6,816 Marylanders in hospitals.

If and when the state reaches 8,000 hospitalizations statewide, all hospitals will be required to expand their staffed bed capacity by 10% within seven days.

As of Tuesday, Maryland has 201,135 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 2,765 new cases in the past 24 hours. Maryland’s 7-day statewide positivity rate is 7.33%, and the case rate is now 34.4.

COVID hospitalizations have increased by 51% over the past two weeks, and Hogan said they expect to reach a new record high for hospitalizations in the coming days.

More than 130 surge beds are currently in use at the expansion sites added in the spring.