Gov. Larry Hogan announced on Tuesday the creation of new statewide “strike teams” to help nursing homes that have been overwhelmed with cases of COVID-19. To date, 90 Maryland nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have confirmed cases of the disease.
Hogan said there will be three types of strike teams. One will test people for the coronavirus and identify people who may have been exposed. The second, staffed by members of the National Guard, will determine equipment and supply needs and triage residents. And the last one, made up of doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners, will provide on-site medical care in an effort to avoid taking residents to hospitals.
“The goal here is not to replace the nursing homes medical and clinical team, but to provide immediate support and assistance to help protect residents of these facilities,” Hogan said during a press conference.
He said Maryland is the first state to launch this kind of effort.
It’s one of several new steps the governor has announced in the last few days aimed at slowing infection rates at Maryland nursing homes.
Under an executive order Hogan signed over the weekend, nursing homes must have observation and isolation areas for residents who are sick or may have been exposed to the virus; staff must wear personal protective equipment; and COVID-19 tests from nursing homes will go to the state’s lab, to get expedited results in 24 hours.