Watch CBS News

'A Much More Cohesive Approach': Maryland Hospitals Gearing Up For New Wave Of COVID-19 Patients

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- More than 1,500 people were being treated for COVID-19 in Maryland hospitals Wednesday, and while the number fell slightly, a number of hospitals across the state are gearing up for a new wave of patients.

The surge started around two weeks ago. During that time, Gov. Larry Hogan said hospitalizations have increased by 51%.

Of the 1,578 people hospitalized with the virus in the state on Wednesday, 1,219 were in acute care and 359 were in intensive care.

MedStar Franklin Square Hospital in Baltimore County is treating around 100 patients with COVID-19, some of the highest numbers in the county and statewide.

"We are handling this surge very aggressively," said Dr. Mimi Novell, the hospital's chief medical officer.

Novell said the hospital is working hard to manage its capacity and help patients move through more efficiently. One example might be expediting a certain test.

"We have different groups that sort of function as SWAT teams almost to help to expedite discharges," she explained.


COVID-19 patients are placed in specific units of the hospital, a process called cohorting. It allows for individualized care and also saves on personal protective equipment.

The hospital is also part of the larger MedStar Health system, which has a number of facilities and resources in Baltimore, southern Maryland and the Washington, D.C. area.

"We approach the response to surge as a team and as an entire system," Novello said.

Statewide, 21 hospitals have reached more than 90% capacity, Hogan said during a news conference earlier this week.

"According to our modeling, we can expect to reach a new record high for hospitalizations in the coming days," he said.

Watch Gov. Hogan's full Tuesday afternoon news conference below:

That projection is what prompted the University of Maryland Medical Center to open a new, 8,000-square-foot modular care center on what used to be a parking lot. Physicians can treat up to 16 COVID-19 patients in the facility.

At Northwest Hospital in Randallstown, President Craig Carmichael said they've learned a lot since the initial surge in April and May. The hospital has since recently opened a second COVID-19 unit to accommodate increased admissions.

"I think we have a much more cohesive approach," he said.

As the pandemic rages on, staffing is one of the biggest concerns.

"We've added well over 20 agency staff to ensure that we're ready," Carmichael said.

READ MORE: As COVID Hospitalizations Surge, Gov. Hogan Announces Plan To Add Staff, Recruit Students For Shortages In Maryland's Nursing Homes, Hospitals

The hospitals are also helping their employees fill other needs like childcare, schooling and mental health resources.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department's website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ's coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.