Lengthy Strains For Testing As COVID Instances Surge In Maryland; State Buys Freezers For New Vaccine – CBS Baltimore

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland recorded more than two thousand new COVID-19 infections Wednesday—only the third time ever the state has seen new cares rise above that number.

Governor Hogan said the number of people hospitalized has not been this high since June.

Maryland reports another 2,018 new #COVID19 cases today, hospitalizations rise by almost 100 @wjz

— Mike Hellgren (@HellgrenWJZ) November 18, 2020


“The sad reality is the surge of COVID-19 is rapidly escalating, and it is placing an enormous strain on our healthcare system and our economy,” Governor Hogan told a virtual meeting of the state’s spending board.

Hundreds of people lined up outside the Baltimore Convention Center to get tested. Many other sites have seen an influx ahead of Thanksgiving week.


Officials have warned against large gatherings.

With new restrictions being placed on businesses this week, the comptroller pleaded for a federal stimulus and said the state should step up.

“Waiting for Congress is not going to work,” said Comptroller Peter Franchot, who said the state should spend more than $500 million dollars in an account that is “gathering dust” to save businesses from closing. “We’re losing businesses by the thousands as we speak,” he said.

Maryland’s comptroller pleads for more federal stimulus; he says Maryland needs to spend $585 million “gathering dust” in state account to help businesses that are in danger of closing @wjz #COVID19

— Mike Hellgren (@HellgrenWJZ) November 18, 2020

WJZ is also learning more about how a vaccine will be distributed.

Both Pfizer and Moderna have developed vaccines that are more than 90 percent effective.

Governor Hogan said he met with the nation’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci this week and was told the initial doses will likely be available this year but most Marylanders will have to wait until 2021 to get the shots.

VACCINE INFO| Governor Hogan speaks about the timeline to vaccinate the general population. He says we could start to see the first vaccines distributed this year—hopefully widespread distribution by spring/summer 2021—but virus could be a problem end of 2021 @wjz

— Mike Hellgren (@HellgrenWJZ) November 18, 2020


Pfizer’s vaccine must be stored at extremely cold temperatures.

The state has purchased five freezers from a Frederick-based company to store it with an option to buy more. Universities and hospitals will also help out.

Maryland health officials have “backup plans to our backup plans” for #COVID19 vaccine distribution. Vaccine will be distributed through some pharmacies and in “pods” the state is coordinating with hospitals. @wjz

— Mike Hellgren (@HellgrenWJZ) November 18, 2020

Bob Atlas of the Maryland Hospital Association said some hospitals already have special freezers.

He also told WJZ the number of patients has not hit the peak the state saw last May.

“The good news is our hospitals are able to take care of these patients. If the surge keeps rising, that’s where the trouble will really set in,” Atlas said.

He also said the percentage of the hospital population in intensive care is lower than it was earlier this year.

Governor Hogan plans to meet with President-Elect Joe Biden on Thursday and said the vaccine distribution plan will be one of their main points of discussion.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

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