Governor Larry Hogan – Official Website of the Governor of Maryland
Orders hospitals to use recent $25 million in state funding to prioritize pediatric critical care staffing
Expands Critical Care Coordination Center to include Pediatric Peak Operations
State exceeds 700,000 COVID-19 bivalent boosters administered
New COVID/Flu Public Service Campaign Launching Statewide Next Week
ANNAPOLIS, MD—As hospitals across the region and nation experience an increase in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) admissions, Governor Larry Hogan today announced a series of new mitigation measures, as well as emergency preparedness efforts. Fall and Winter Potential COVID-19 and Influenza Outbreaks in Maryland.
“After meeting with our multi-agency public health task force yesterday and reviewing all the data, I am announcing these measures to give our hospitals more tools to increase bed capacity for pediatric patients,” said Governor Hogan. “We also continue to encourage Marylanders to be COVIDReady, so that we remain one of the most vaccinated and strengthened states, and stay ahead of the virus.”
Hospitals should use additional public funds to prioritize pediatric critical care staffing. RSV hospitalizations are increasing earlier and faster than in previous years, with the 0-2 age group accounting for 57% of hospitalizations. On October 14, the Maryland Department of Health announced $80 million in additional funding for health care providers across the state. Hospitals will receive $25 million and have been urged in award letters released today to use these resources to increase hiring and recruitment of staff. For facilities with pediatric intensive care units and/or inpatient beds, awards should prioritize staffing these units appropriately before considering other non-pediatric units. All hospitals are also strongly encouraged to collaborate with neighboring hospitals on the coordination of pediatric patient care.
Critical Care Coordination Center expanded to include pediatric peak operations. To help mitigate an increase in hospital admissions, particularly in children with RSV, rhinovirus, or enterovirus D68, the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS) will expand its care coordination center capacity intensive (C4) to include advanced pediatric operations. This action will optimize existing capacity, increase pediatric critical care bed capacity statewide, and facilitate the transfer of pediatric patients to available beds at hospitals in Maryland and the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. .
The state is continuing the joint COVID-19/flu vaccine campaign. Earlier this month, state officials further expanded COVIDReady Maryland, the state’s long-term preparedness plan, by adding the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine booster for residents five and older. Additionally, adults now have the option of receiving a monovalent Novavax booster if they have not received a booster before and are unable or unwilling to receive mRNA vaccines.
To date, more than 710,000 Marylanders have received the bivalent COVID-19 booster, further protecting against serious illness, hospitalization and death. With flu hospitalizations also rising earlier and faster than in previous years, state health officials continue to encourage Marylanders to get their COVID-19 and flu shots simultaneously. Starting next week, state health officials will launch a new “Flooster” ad campaign on TV, radio and social media to amplify that message.
The state maintains a robust immunization infrastructure of over 900 providers. Some places offer both COVID-19 and flu shots during the same visit. Find a vaccination clinic near you.
Increased awareness and sensitization. The state’s GoVAX call center (1-855-MD-GOVAX) continues to be available seven days a week. In addition to providing a number of support services for getting tested and boosted, the center d’appels launches an SMS campaign focusing on the prevention of COVID-19, influenza and RSV.