Olszewski, County Hospitals Planning For Coming Coronavirus Surge | WYPR

Olszewski, County Hospitals Planning For Coming Coronavirus Surge

Mar 31, 2020

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski speaks at Tuesday news conference
Credit Baltimore County

There have been 227 positive cases of COVID-19 in Baltimore County thus far. Only Montgomery and Prince George’s counties have had more in Maryland.

One of those positive tests was at Oak Crest Retirement Community in Parkville, according to spokesman Jeffrey Getek.

Oak Crest is in Baltimore County Councilman David Marks' district. Marks posted on Facebook that "the campus has taken aggressive measures, including the temporary closure of all dining rooms, on-site salon, fitness center, pool and other activity areas. The community is closed to non-essential visitors."

Statewide, more than 1,600 people have tested positive for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

At a news conference Tuesday, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said he is talking twice weekly to the heads of the hospitals in the county about what’s coming.

“We are actively working with and planning with them for the potential surge because we want to make sure that when it hits, we are as prepared as we possibly can be to meet the needs of our residents,” Olszewski said.

A spokesman for Olszewski said the hospitals include Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Saint Agnes Hospital, Northwest Hospital, Medstar Franklin Square Medical Center, The University of Maryland Medical System, and The Johns Hopkins Health System Corporation.

“I personally am in communication with them along with the leadership team,” Olszewski said. “We are finalizing plans to ensure we have enough beds to meet the need.”

County Health Director Dr. Gregory Branch said there are no coronavirus hotspots; the cases are scattered throughout the county.

Dr. Branch used part of his time at the news conference to remind people of the basics when it comes to the coronavirus.

“First, do not panic,” Branch said. “Second, wash your hands with soap and water frequently. Practice the social distancing, which means you should stay at home.”

Olszewski said there will be a virtual town hall meeting on COVID-19 Thursday at 6 pm.

Also, Olszewski announced the creation of the Baltimore County COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund.

Contributions will be used for things like groceries for people who can’t afford to pay and protective gear for health care workers and first responders.

The fund will be managed by the Baltimore Community Foundation. County leaders will decide how the money will be spent.

“These are times that challenge us as a people,” Olszewski said. “But they are also times that bring out the best in all of us.”

You can make a contribution by going to http://www.bcf.org/EmergencyResponseFund