MHA Asks Marylanders to Stem Rise in COVID-19 Cases
So far, Maryland has avoided making national headlines as a state with a COVID-19 mid-summer surge. We have dramatically cut new case counts, hospitalizations, and deaths since the peak two and a half months ago. This didn’t just happen. It is the result of discipline on your part and that of your community. You’ve worn masks, sacrificed seeing friends and family, stayed distant when there is a need to go out, and taken the necessary precautions.
In return, we are all able to have more freedom. No one wants to risk losing these gains and returning to stay-at-home or shutdown mode. We all want to enjoy socializing and recreation and to have normal work and school lives.
Yet, there is plain evidence that case counts are again climbing, and people are again becoming seriously ill. After peaking at 1,707 COVID-19 hospitalized patients in early May, the number fell to just 386 in early July. But as of July 21, confirmed COVID-19 inpatients jumped by 30%, to 505.
No one is immune from the novel coronavirus, so everyone must be protected. Many of us who “feel just fine” are carrying the virus and can spread it to others. Some of those others are our own loved ones and friends who are vulnerable to serious illness, or worse.
There are simple things everyone can do—and must do—to stop the spread of this awful disease.
- Cover Your Face. Cover both your nose and mouth with a cloth mask whenever you are near people other than those you live with. This is the most worthwhile thing you can do.
- Keep Your Distance. Stay at least 6 feet apart from other people. That’s the minimum distance needed to keep airborne virus particles from reaching you, or the other person.
- Wash Your Hands. Wash them often, with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Cover Your Cough. Cough into a tissue or into your sleeve at the elbow.
- Avoid Close Contact with people who are sick.
- Clean and Disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces daily.
- Avoid Large Crowds. Large gatherings, even outdoors, are one of the easiest ways to catch the virus. It is difficult to keep 6 feet apart at these events and there may be attendees who have traveled from outside your local area.
Maryland hospitals are here for everyone who needs them. We have wonderful community and specialty hospitals throughout the state and world renowned academic medical centers. Hospitals and their deeply committed caregivers are here for you, if you need them.
But let’s prevent the need altogether and save lives at the same time. Let’s all do our parts to keep ourselves, our families, and our communities safe and healthy.
You should go to the ER if you have any of these symptoms—Maryland hospitals, health systems, and outpatient clinics remain safe places to seek care—even during the state’s response to COVID-19. Don’t delay care.
- Bluish lips or face
- Bleeding that will not stop
- Breathing problems (difficulty breathing, shortness of breath)
- Change in mental status (such as unusual behavior, confusion, difficulty arousing)
- Chest pain (persistent pain or pressure)
- Coughing up or vomiting blood
- Fainting or loss of consciousness
- Feeling of committing suicide or murder
- Head or spine injury
- Severe or persistent vomiting
- Sudden injury due to a motor vehicle accident, burns or smoke inhalation, near drowning, deep or large wound, or other injuries
- Sudden, severe pain anywhere in the body
- Sudden dizziness, weakness, or change in vision
- Swallowing a poisonous substance
- Severe abdominal pain or pressure
What Is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that cause respiratory tract infections. Some viruses cause mild colds, while others are more serious.
What Is COVID-19?
This new form of coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and the disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” or COVID-19.
Dr. Lisa Maragakis, Sr Director of Infection Prevention for The Johns Hopkins Health System, explains what COVID-19 is and how to help prevent transmission. (Feb 20)
How to Protect Yourself and Others from COVID-19
Though there is still much to learn about COVID 19, here are some basic precautions to keep in mind:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Limit hand shaking and hugging
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, including work areas
- Cough and sneeze into a tissue and throw that tissue away
- Consider limiting your attendance at large gatherings
What Should You Do If You Think You Are Sick with COVID-19?
Most cases of COVID-19 will not mean hospitalization, or even a trip to an emergency department. Hospital care is a resource that should be reserved for those with the most serious symptoms.
If you have recently traveled to any geographic area of concern or were in contact with someone with COVID-19, and you become sick with fever, cough or have difficulty breathing, seek medical care right away. Follow these steps:
- Call your doctor or hospital emergency department before you go
- Tell them about recent travel and close contacts (such as people in your household), who are ill
- Wear a face mask if one is available
- Follow the Centers for Disease Control guidelines
If you do not have severe symptoms:
- Continue to see your health care provider for regularly scheduled visits to address your other medical needs. Do not neglect your existing needs
- Masks will not prevent you from getting the virus, but they can help prevent the spread of the illness because they stop big droplets from sneezes and coughs from becoming airborne or contaminating surfaces
Beating Coronavirus: Flattening the Curve, Raising the Line (Mar 20)
Dr. Glenn Wortmann, Sr Director of Infectious Disease at MedStar Health, answers questions about COVID-19 (Mar 11)