Hogan Moves to Ramp Up Hospital Staff Capacity as COVID-19 Cases Surge

Governor Larry Hogan today announced a series of actions to mobilize a COVID-19 medical staffing surge as COVID-19 rages across Maryland.

Hogan announced that COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased by 51% over the past two weeks and are expected to reach a new record high in the upcoming days, with over 20 hospitals in the state have reached over 90% capacity.

“The current surge is not only increasing the burden on our healthcare system and filling available hospital beds, but it is also affecting our healthcare workers who are already spread thin and operating under immense strain and stress,” said Hogan.

As the surge in cases — including 2,765 new cases in the past 24 hours — threatens to overwhelm Maryland’s healthcare system, Hogan announced “MarylandMedNow,” a recruitment effort to staff up hospitals, nursing homes, test sites, and vaccination clinics across the state. The governor also asked counties and local school systems to tap non-deployed school nurses, health services staff, and other employees to assist the state’s testing and vaccination sites.

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.

Effective immediately, hospitals are required to submit a Patient Surge Plan with strategies to expand hospital beds and make staffing surge adjustments. Hogan urged hospitals to immediately add or redeploy staff, reduce noncritical elective procedures that require a bed or ventilator, and transfer patients to other appropriate treatment facilities.

Hogan also announced that Maryland Health Department Secretary Bobby Neall is retiring after forty years of service. The governor appointed Dennis Schrader as Acting Secretary of Health. Schrader previously served as Deputy Secretary of Health Care Financing and Chief Operating Officer at the Maryland Department of Health.

Read the Maryland Health Department order.

Watch the full press conference.

Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more information.