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Coronavirus is surging in Washington County again. Here's what Meritus is doing.

Your Health Matters

With a positivity rate greater than 10% among all COVID-19 tests in the county, and a transmission level in the “high” range according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — determined by the positivity rate and the number of new cases of the virus across the population — Washington County is again dealing with an apparent “surge” in the coronavirus pandemic.

What does this mean for the hospital?

To continue to provide quality health care to the region as COVID-19 numbers tick up, Meritus Medical Center leadership watches trends daily and adjusts staffing and supplies in preparation as needed. This past week alone, the number of COVID-19 positive patients admitted to the hospital has averaged 24 each day. On average, more than 90% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated for the virus.

To help keep staff, patients, families and volunteers safe, restrictions have been again put in place for visitors at Meritus Health facilities. The hospital currently sits at Orange status for visitors, which means a limit of one visitor maximum, age 18 or older, at the bedside of adult inpatients between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Specific details for other audiences, including pediatric, COVID-19, emergency and ambulatory patients, is available in the COVID Resources section of MeritusHealth.com.

Vaccines remain the best weapon in the pandemic

Meritus Health continues to offer COVID-19 vaccines to ages 12 and older at no cost and with no appointment necessary at Robinwood Professional Center’s atrium, 11110 Medical Campus Road near Hagerstown. Current days and times for the clinic are also available on the website. Boosters for immunocompromised individuals, based on CDC’s definition, are also now available at this clinic for the two mRNA vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna. As vaccinated individuals reach approximately the eight-month mark of their second dose of the vaccine, a booster will be available for consideration.

Public health measures are still important to help decrease the spread of COVID-19 in the community. Masking while indoors, staying out of crowds where social distancing is not an option and proper hand-washing on a regular basis all effectively support decreased virus spread among families, neighbors, friends and colleagues.

Several months ago, Meritus Health told staff, providers and volunteers that COVID-19 vaccines would be necessary for everyone, similar to current requirements for the flu vaccine annually. By Sept. 1, 2021, employees who do not have a qualified medical or religious exemption and have chosen not to get the vaccine must be tested weekly for the virus. The policy aligns with the recent decision by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan for all hospital and nursing home professionals providing treatment and health care to others. Approximately 80% of Meritus Health’s staff and providers have received COVID-19 vaccines so far.

We are all in this together

As long as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and the virus impacts the Washington County community, Meritus Health will be a resource for testing, treatment, education and care. Updates on vaccine clinics — including mobile visits at local churches, gas stations and more, hospital policies, available treatments and the latest news on the science behind the medicine continue to be available at MeritusHealth.com and on the organization’s social media pages.

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