Variants Present New Challenge in COVID Fight

July 19, 2021
On July 1 our state reached a welcome milestone—fewer than 100 COVID-19 inpatients statewide.

That figure has crept above 100 again, but many of your teams—including Frederick Health, Meritus Health, Adventist White Oak Medical Center, Luminis Health, and Suburban Hospital—celebrated a remarkable achievement in recent weeks: Zero COVID inpatients.

Yet, we know the pandemic isn’t over, and our job is not done.

The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) reports dozens of COVID cases of the highly transmissible Delta variant and is warning of another unpredictable Lambda variant that is sweeping through South America.

These variants coupled with plans to reopen schools to in-person learning in the fall could cause cases to spike—particularly as children under 12 are not yet eligible for a vaccine. MDH engaged MHA to help identify capacity—particularly pediatric—that may be needed the through next spring.

The Maryland Health Care Commission voted unanimously July 15, at MDH Secretary Dennis Schrader’s request, to extend all approved Emergency Certificates of Need until April 20, 2022. MHCC will prepare new guidelines over the next several days, which MHA will share with members as soon as they are available.

We are pleased with progress in Maryland, yet we recognize many states are still under siege and that cases are ticking up in some of our communities.

You and your teams have led us to a very good place. As this pandemic continues and with new variants on the rise, we must remain vigilant and prepared.

Bob Atlas
President & CEO 
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