Updated Public Health Advisory – COVID-19 Numbers Have Taken a Concerning Turn; Getting Worse

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Less than a week ago, Wednesday, Dec. 29, Meritus Health shared a public health advisory with updated testing numbers, positivity rates and hospitalization data.

“As the dedicated teams at Meritus Health continue to do everything they can to prevent and treat COVID-19 in our community, I felt a frequent public health update would help our neighbors understand our current situation and make more informed choices to influence wellness,” explains Maulik Joshi, president and CEO.

In four days last week, more than 6,000 people received COVID-19 testing at the Meritus drive-thru testing location on Crayton Boulevard. Those tests were returned with an almost 35% positivity rate.

“As many of us enjoyed New Year’s Eve, starting 2022 with resolve and hope for a healthier year, our teams were admitting critically ill patients,” explains Joshi, who says the holiday weekend was “not truly happy or healthy in Washington County. We are now treating more than 80 people for COVID-19 in the hospital.”

Joshi says the health care heroes are exhausted and the numbers are grave - almost 95% of those in the hospital with COVID, those in the ICU with COVID, those on a ventilator with COVID and those who pass away with COVID are not vaccinated or they had their last vaccination more than six months ago.

In December 2021, Meritus Health launched a public health campaign, “We all need a boost,” to educate community members on the benefits of a booster vaccine. Joshi says his hope is that everyone will get a booster vaccine when they are eligible. Meritus Health continues to offer a walk-in clinic in the Robinwood Professional Center’s atrium, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The health system also continues to offer virtual care options and maintains its commitment to convenient drive-thru testing options.

With the high community transmission and a continued increase in hospitalizations and out of concern for the safety of patients and team members, Meritus Health will be updating to a Red visitor status at the hospital, beginning Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022, at 8 a.m. As visitors are a critical part of a patient’s healing, visitation will continue, but restricted to one visitor, per patient, per day. Visitors must either be a resident of the patient’s household or a caregiver of the patient. The full policy is available on

“We are attacking this on all the fronts we can,” says Joshi, who has a doctorate of public health. “We need our neighbors to be our allies in this fight and make informed decisions. We care about your wellness.”