Frederick County reported its highest daily increase of confirmed COVID-19 cases by a wide margin Wednesday.
The 174 cases reported by the Frederick County Health Department easily surpassed the previous high (118) that was recorded on Nov. 25 and brings the overall number of confirmed cases in Frederick County to 7,123.
The spike in the county comes one day after Gov. Larry Hogan pleaded with Maryland residents with a clinical background to join in the fight against the novel coronavirus and warned that hospitals might soon have to increase their bed capacity.
At Frederick Health Hospital, there were 36 coronavirus patients, including four in intensive care, according to the county health department.
“Recently, Frederick Health Hospital has experienced higher volumes of COVID-positive patients, even more so than the first wave back in the spring,” said Cheryl Cioffi, the senior vice president and chief operating officer/chief nursing officer for Frederick Health Hospital.
“We have been working hard for many months to bolster our supply of [personal protective equipment], implement new treatments and cross-train staff,” she said. “We have also worked with state planners to discuss and evaluate our surge plans.”
At his news conference Tuesday, Hogan said Maryland hospitals were nearing a threshold (8,000 total patients) that would require all of them to increase their bed capacity by 10 percent within the span of a week.
Frederick Health Hospital has 239 total beds (220 acute care, 19 intensive care).
“We do anticipate a volume increase in the coming weeks and are prepared to respond accordingly,” Cioffi said.
Statewide, hospitalizations for the coronavirus actually dipped slightly Wednesday, falling by 5 to 1,578. But the number of patients in intensive care increased by nine to 359.
Hogan said the situation is likely to get worse over the coming weeks, particularly as people gather for the holidays. But he was not yet ready to announce any further restrictions.
“We are [making decisions] as we think they are necessary,” he said. “Today we are focused on what we do about the fact that our hospitals have too many people in them. We’ve taken an awful lot of actions on trying to restrict the virus, and we are going to continue to look at things as they become necessary.”
There are now 203,355 confirmed cases in Maryland after 2,220 were reported Wednesday by the Maryland Department of Health.
That marks the 28th straight day that daily case increases in Maryland have exceeded 1,000 and the 12th time in the past 19 days they have exceeded 2,000.
There were 16 new deaths in the state due to the virus, but none were in Frederick County. The death toll stands at 4,558 in the state and 142 in the county.
Meanwhile, the seven-day rolling positivity rate stood at 7.52 in the state and 7.68 in the county.
County Executive Jan Gardner is scheduled to hold a public briefing on the coronavirus at 2 p.m. Thursday. She will be joined by County Health Officer Dr. Barbara Brookmyer.
Gardner did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.