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Hospitals Across Maryland Brace For Potential Surge Of COVID-19 Patients

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Hospitals across the state are bracing for a possible surge in patients as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

As coronavirus cases climbed past 14,000 Wednesday, it's preparation -- not panic -- inside hospitals statewide.

"We've had about four weeks to prepare," Dr. Stuart Bell, Chief Medical Officer of MedStar Good Samaritan and MedStar Union, said.

At a press conference Wednesday, Gov. Larry Hogan said Maryland is making progress, increasing the number of hospital beds including statewide.

To combat a spike in cases, Gov. Hogan said they've built nearly 22 surge response tents outside hospitals.

They've also reopened Laurel Hospital in Prince George's County and turned the convention center in Baltimore City into a makeshift care center that's now open with 250 beds and a medical staff on standby to treat patients who no longer require hospitalization

University of Maryland Medical System officials said as the numbers grow, hospitals need to get ready.


"As we expand our testing capacity outside the walls of the hospital, that will also allow health systems to better prepare the needed resources for what we have coming as we get on the backside of this peak," Mohan Suntha, CEO of UMMS, said.

Hospitals statewide are feeling the pressure, but Dr. Bell said the slower climb in cases recently has given them enough time to prepare

"It enabled us to start developing our plans," Bell said.

He said doctors and healthcare workers go through emergency preparedness training and they can quickly deploy resources from one hospital to another if necessary.

So, in extreme situations like this, they're ready.

"We've been able to manage almost all of it so far," Bell said.

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.

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