BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Maryland surpassed 1,500 COVID-19 hospitalizations on Thursday, triggering pandemic plans at hospitals statewide, as the health department reported a single-day high of 6,869 new cases.
Under their pandemic plans, hospitals are directed to maximize bed capacity, reduce non-emergency and elective procedures, and transfer patients to alternate care sites, according to an order issued by the health department earlier this month.
Gov. Larry Hogan said Thursday's actions represent the latest step the state and health systems are taking to keep hospitals from being overwhelmed amid a recent surge in hospital admissions.
"Our projections now show that in the coming weeks, we could reach record levels of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Maryland, possibly over 2,000," Gov. Hogan said. "We have been actively preparing for this scenario in coordination with all of our hospitals."
Health department data show cases rose by 6,869, bringing the state's total to 638,379 confirmed cases since the outset of the pandemic. The percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 is up to 12.8%, an increase of 0.65%.
Hospitalizations, which rose by 40, now stand at 1,505. Of those hospitalized, 1,188 are adults in acute cute and 300 are adults in intensive care. Twelve children are in acute care and five are in the ICU.
On Tuesday, the governor pledged $100 million in emergency funding to help shore up the medical workforce and to expand access to COVID-19 tests, vaccines and monoclonal antibody therapies at hospitals and nursing homes.
The state also expanded operations of its Annapolis and Prince George's County testing sites to six days a week. Hogan activated the Maryland National Guard to provide support at those state-run sites.
Earlier this month, hospitals were directed to free up beds and reduce scheduling any non-emergency surgeries or procedures after COVID-19 hospitalizations topped 1,200 in Maryland.
The governor and public health experts have said unvaccinated Marylanders, about 9% of the state's population, make up roughly three-quarters of the patients being treated for COVID-19.
Once again Thursday, Hogan called for residents to get their vaccines and booster shots if they haven't already done so.
"With unvaccinated patients driving the strain on our health car system, we urge Marylanders to do your part by getting your vaccine or booster shot as soon as you can," the governor said.
There are 4,239,825 Marylanders fully vaccinated against COVID-19. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 91% of Maryland adults have gotten at least one dose.
The state has administered 10,155,079 doses. Of those, 4,434,903 are first doses, including 8,573 in the past 24 hours. Another 3,913,701 are second doses, which rose by 4,255 in the past day.
A total of 326,124 Marylanders have gotten the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, 207 in the past 24 hours.
Meanwhile, 1,480,351 booster doses have been administered.
Though the state has undertaken a series of emergency actions to deal with elevated hospitalizations and to prepare for a winter surge, Hogan has said he does not anticipate ordering any lockdowns.
"We will continue to closely monitor this surge, and take additional actions as needed," he said.
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