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A Year After Accepting First COVID-19 Patients, MD Hospitals Have Long Road Ahead


Thursday marks a year since Maryland hospitals first started receiving COVID-19 patients. Since March 4, 2020, hospitals have treated more than 34,000 Marylanders for COVID. 

Bob Atlas, president of the Maryland Hospital Association (MHA), says the state’s hospitals have been pulling through but they have a long road ahead of them. 

“We grew the capacity we needed, we built the staffing, we got the PPE,” Atlas said. “It was an extraordinary challenge that we overcame.” 

According to data from MHA, Maryland hospitals added 6,000 new beds in the first few months of the pandemic. They also spent $103 million on additional staffing. Hospitals also expanded telehealth, a resource Atlas says will prove useful in the long run. 


Atlas also noted the toll the pandemic has taken on front line workers’ mental health. More than 117,000 of Maryland’s hospital caregivers have been on the front lines. 

“There's been an adverse impact for sure,” he said. “Hospitals and others are working on building resilience in the healthcare workforce in terms of...dealing with the stress, the trauma that they may have experienced.” 


Atlas added that COVID-19 isn’t going away anytime soon. 

“We have to be ready to take that on for the long haul,” he said. 

Sarah Y. Kim is WYPR’s health and housing reporter. Kim is WYPR's Report for America corps member, and Anthony Brandon Fellow. Kim joined WYPR as a 2020-2021 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. Now in her second year as an RFA corps member, Kim is based in Baltimore City.