NewsMaryland Urges Tighter Health Security Measures

Maryland Urges Tighter Health Security Measures

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Health experts in Maryland are reporting a notable increase in hospitalizations attributed to respiratory viruses, including RSV, COVID, and the flu. Volunteer groups are advocating for the reinstatement of masking policies in healthcare systems across the state.

Kaila Jenkins and Mrs. Debbie, both diligent about protective measures, emphasize the importance of vaccination and consistently following safety protocols. Mrs. Debbie affirms, “We always have a mask at hand,” while Jenkins stresses the need for extra precautions, including hand sanitizer, given the current heightened risk.

Maryland’s Department of Health indicates that when hospitalization rates for respiratory viruses reach or exceed 10 hospitalizations per 100,000 residents, healthcare systems are advised to reimpose or update masking policies. The latest data, as of December 22, reveals a weekly rate of 11.4 respiratory virus-associated hospitalizations.

Retired epidemiologist Roselie Bright, ScD, cautions that individuals already dealing with other illnesses are more susceptible to additional infections. She highlights the challenge posed by asymptomatic COVID carriers who unknowingly contribute to the spread of the virus.

Expresscare physician’s assistant Nona Khutsishvilli notes the commonality of respiratory virus spikes during the holiday season. Symptoms that could be indicative of COVID, such as sore throat, runny nose, cough, and others, should not be overlooked.

COVID Safe Maryland, a volunteer group, is urging healthcare systems to swiftly reinstate universal respirator use, including robust masking policies, as we approach the new year. The group emphasizes the importance of testing for anyone experiencing symptoms before attending gatherings or interacting with others.

Healthcare professionals also stress the significance of updated vaccinations, especially for those most vulnerable to COVID. As the state navigates the surge in respiratory viruses, a collective effort is urged to prioritize safety measures and preventive healthcare practices.

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