Gayles: Three of Six County Hospitals Have No ICU Vacancy

Three out of six hospitals in Montgomery County have no ICU vacancy as of noon Tuesday, County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles said at a county council meeting.

Also as of noon, one hospital has no acute care bed vacancy, he said. Gayles said there was a period of time over the weekend when five county hospitals had no ICU availability.

The county council voted unanimously Tuesday to suspend indoor dining effective at 5 p.m. Outdoor dining, delivery, drive-thru and takeout will still be allowed. The council also approved other measures: limiting retail capacity to one person per 200 square feet; 150 people maximum. Large retail stores that want to allow more than 150 customers after Dec. 23 must get a letter of approval from the health department, and requests for approval must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Dec. 21. Indoor sports will be limited to 10 people maximum, to include all players and non-players, and outdoor religious gatherings will be limited to 25 people unless the facility gets approval from the health department. These changes also go into effect Tuesday at 5 p.m.

As of Nov. 30, Gov. Larry Hogan’s office said 6,816 Marylanders were in hospitals. County Emergency Management Director Dr. Earl Stoddard said there are about 8,000 hospital beds across the state. He said Johns Hopkins University (JHU) projected that without further COVID-19 mitigation efforts, Maryland would reach maximum hospital bed capacity around Jan. 15, 2021, and that the peak would be predicted to come later.

“And we would not peak on beds until sometime around the first week of February based on their current modeling. And that would put us in the area of a little over 9,000 beds at the state, which, we don’t have 9,000 beds,” he said. Stoddard emphasized that these are JHU’s projections in the circumstance that no additional measures were taken.

During a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Hogan said 1,799 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized in the state as of the day, which he said is Maryland’s highest total ever during the pandemic. He said 88% of staffed acute and ICU beds are currently occupied and 13 hospitals have reached at least 90% capacity for acute and ICU beds.

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