2020 | Coronavirus

Use of hospital beds for COVID-19 patients rising in Montgomery County

County added 262 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday

Coronavirus dept of health photo

The percentage of hospital beds in Montgomery County occupied by patients with the coronavirus is rising this month, following a lag this summer.

As of Monday, 13.8% of hospital inpatient beds were occupied by patients with COVID-19, according to a graph on the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services’ website.

The percentage was at its highest on May 7, when 38.9% of all inpatient beds were occupied by patients with the virus. From there, it fell to less than 10% at the end of June, then less than 5% at the end of August.

It stayed around 5% to 7% until the beginning of this month, when the rate has climbed steadily.

According to a graph on the county’s website, the level of risk for transmission or spread, in terms of percentage of hospital inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, is defined as:

  • More than 15% — very high
  • 10% to 15% — high
  • 5% to 10% — moderate
  • 3% to 5% — low
  • Fewer than 3% — very low

On Wednesday, Montgomery County recorded 262 new cases of COVID-19, to bring its total to 29,833 — an increase of 0.89% from Tuesday.

The county has added 200 cases or more on 10 days in November. 

The county recorded one new confirmed death on Wednesday, according to the Maryland Department of Health. There have been 875 people in the county who have been confirmed to have died from the virus.

There also have been 41 “probable” deaths, meaning COVID-19 is listed as the cause of death, but it was not confirmed with a laboratory test.

Across Maryland on Wednesday, there had been 171,823 COVID-19 cases, a 1.19% increase from Tuesday. There have been 4,201 confirmed deaths statewide.

On Tuesday, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced a series of measures aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.

Starting Friday, restaurants and bars across the state must close by 10 p.m. That mandate mirrors a Montgomery County health order passed last week that alcohol sales must end at 10 p.m.

Throughout the pandemic, Montgomery County has sometimes enacted stricter COVID-19 restrictions prior to those made at the state level or has loosened restrictions less than the state has.

Hogan also announced on Tuesday that he was restricting hospital visits across the state, with the exception of compassionate care visits, parents of minors, obstetrics and support for patients with disabilities.

Hogan said 19 hospitals across the state are at 90% capacity or more, and many have moved to a “red status” to restrict visitation.

Hogan said on Tuesday that people are also asked to avoid elective procedures that are not urgent or life-saving.

Gov. Larry Hogan, at right (Screenshot via YouTube)

“We do not want Marylanders to put off life-saving treatments or surgeries, but our highest priority right now is preserving capacity at our hospitals so that our doctors and nurses can do their jobs.”

Hogan added that if a hospital is at or near capacity, it may transfer patients to another hospital that is more equipped to care for them. 

Additionally, Hogan said nursing home visits will be restricted mostly to compassionate care visits, and visitors will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within the past 72 hours.