Counties across Maryland are experiencing severe Emergency Medical Service (EMS) system strains due to the recent COVID-19 Omicron variant surge.
In order to address this unprecedented strain on EMS personnel, frontline responders, and hospitals, counties are asking residents for assistance in various ways. According to a St. Mary’s County press release, residents are asked to:
– Avoid going to EDs for minor illnesses, such as coughs, colds, and low-grade fevers. Instead, seek non-emergency care from primary care physicians or urgent care centers.
– Do not go to an ED just to obtain a COVID-19 test. Instead, go to an approved COVID-19 testing site or use a home test kit.
– Limit 9-1-1 EMS calls to possible life-threatening conditions.
– Get vaccinated and/or receive the COVID-19 booster and encourage others to do the same.
– Help limit COVID-19 transmission by socially distancing, washing hands regularly, and wearing a mask.
– Limit exposure to others, especially if there has been close contact with someone known to have COVID-19 or there are COVID-19 symptoms.
Several other counties have also issued similar calls to action including Charles, Allegany, Talbot, and Howard. See below for each county’s specific guidance for community members.