Meritus Medical Center's COVID-19 Hospitalizations Highest among All Maryland Hospitals

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On Thursday of this week, sixty-six patients at Meritus Medical Center are COVID-19 positive, the highest number of COVID-19 inpatients among all hospitals in the state of Maryland. Hospitals self-report data daily to the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS).

“Our region’s positivity rate is close to 15%, as compared to Maryland’s overall positivity rate of about 4%,” says Maulik Joshi, president and CEO of Meritus Health. “We continue to see a high level of transmission in the county, which has kept our COVID-19 hospitalization numbers high for several weeks now and moving in the wrong direction.”

Another increasing number is much more positive – the eligible percentage of the population now fully vaccinated, which sits just below 60%. At the state level, this percentage is more than 76%.

Washington County is unique in terms of location and how the populations of nearby counties in other states could be directly impacting what the hospital is seeing. Data tracked on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website lists nearby Franklin County in Pennsylvania, with almost 52% fully vaccinated and its neighbor Fulton County, Pa., at a much lower 34%. Just below Washington County, Berkeley County, W.Va., has a current vaccination rate of 40% and Jefferson County, W.Va., is right behind it at 36.5%.

Included in the Meritus Medical Center’s annual 70,000 emergency department visits and 16,000 hospital admissions are residents of these surrounding counties.

“The low vaccination rates in our region relate directly to the number of COVID-19 patients we are seeing,” says Joshi. “As of Thursday, none of our patients with COVID in our intensive care unit are vaccinated and none of the COVID-19 positive patients on ventilators are vaccinated against the virus.”

This trend is well-documented at Meritus Medical Center, as well as at hospitals across Maryland and the country.

“We continue to provide COVID-19 screening and testing at our drive-thru center, which has been open uninterrupted since March 2020, to help people know their status, follow up with their physicians and quarantine when necessary,” says Joshi. “We will soon reach COVID-19 test number 200,000 provided by dedicated Meritus Health staff.”

Dr. Joshi says that while health care professionals are tired with what seems like a never-ending pandemic and knowing that winter is coming with a chance of more illness, “our health care heroes are resilient.”

“This is really no longer about educating or convincing others to do the right thing, but about doing it – getting vaccinated for COVID-19,” says Joshi. “Our providers and staff deserve the community’s support and have everyone do their part by getting the shot.”