County Hospitals Filling Up as COVID-19 Cases Increase

By 3 p.m. Wednesday, three hospitals in Montgomery County were on red alert, meaning they had no electrocardiogram monitored beds available, which includes all inpatient critical areas and telemetry beds, according to CHATS, a county and hospital alert tracking system.

Those hospital units listed under red alert were Holy Cross Germantown, Suburban Hospital, Johns Hopkins Medicine in Bethesda and White Oak Medical Center.

Germantown Emergency Center Adventist, Holy Cross Hospital and Shady Grove Medical Center Adventist were listed under yellow alert, which means the emergency department temporarily requested that it not receive any patients in need of urgent care.

“Both Holy Cross hospitals are quite full at the moment,” said Samantha Thompson, manager of communications for Holy Cross Health. “While we have bed capacity in our intensive care and acute care units, we are nearing capacity throughout both hospitals.” Holy Cross has hospitals in Silver Spring and Germantown.

Pointing to the Omicron variant, Thompson said, “Thus far, the percentage of COVID patients in intensive care with this wave has been far less than previous waves.”

According to Thompson, “We are not stopping elective surgeries and are monitoring needs daily.”

The pandemic, which began almost two years ago, has put a lot of stress on hospital and other front line workers throughout the county. At Holy Cross, “our colleagues are working very hard day in and day out to meet the needs of all who come through our doors.” All Holy Cross Hospital employees are required to be vaccinated.

Thompson said hospital officials urge everyone to wear masks, maintain social distance and wash their hands. “Above all, vaccination is key to minimizing risk of significant infection and symptoms.”

Countywide, the seven-day average positivity rate at county COVID-19 testing sites is 10.59%, according to Montgomery County Health and Human Services Public Health Emergency Preparedness Manager Sean O’Donnell. As of Tuesday, there were 205 people hospitalized due to COVID, O’Donnell said in a news briefing Wednesday.

Between Dec. 1 and Dec. 19, Montgomery County Public Schools recorded 1,196 positive cases among students and staff. Between Aug. 31 and Nov. 30, MCPS recorded 1,155 cases, according to a community message on Dec. 21.

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