Maryland organization calls for reinstating mask mandates in healthcare systems following increase in respiratory hospitalizations

Maryland health experts have reported an increase in hospitalizations attributed to respiratory viruses, including RSV, COVID, and the flu.

Volunteer groups in Maryland are calling on healthcare systems to reinstate their masking policies.

Kaila Jenkins and Mrs. Debbie, just like many other Marylanders, are well acquainted with the importance of safeguarding themselves and others from illness.

“We have made it a priority to get vaccinated, both my husband and I, as well as everyone in our immediate family,” Mrs. Debbie stated. “We have diligently received all the vaccines that we were eligible for.”

Jenkins emphasized the importance of always having a mask available. “We make sure to clean ourselves as soon as we enter the house and immediately after we leave,” she said.


According to Jenkins, her mother, who works at a hospital, has firsthand knowledge of how rapidly viruses such as COVID-19 and the flu can spread during this season.

“I always keep a small spray hand sanitizer with me because the situation is getting worse,” she expressed her concern. “It’s becoming increasingly challenging out here.”

The Maryland Department of Health advises that healthcare systems should update their masking policies when the hospitalization rates for respiratory viruses reach or exceed 10 hospitalizations per 100,000 residents.

The number of weekly hospitalizations due to respiratory viruses stands at 11.4 as of December 22.

COVID Safe Maryland sent a release to WJZ, stating that…

“Those who are already suffering from another illness are more susceptible to falling ill from any additional infection,” explained Dr. Roselie Bright, a retired epidemiologist. “It’s alarming to note that around half of the individuals who unknowingly transmitted COVID-19 had no symptoms and, as a result, were not tested.”

According to Nona Khutsishvilli, a physician’s assistant at Expresscare, there is a noticeable increase in respiratory viruses during the holiday season.

According to Khutsishvilli, COVID can manifest in various symptoms, such as a sore throat, runny nose, cough, congestion, headache, nausea, vomiting, and body aches.

COVID Safe Maryland, a group of dedicated volunteers, is calling on all healthcare systems to promptly reinstate universal respirator use, including masking policies, as we approach the upcoming year.

Khutsishvilli emphasized the importance of being cautious and self-aware when experiencing any symptoms or planning to socialize with others. Regardless of the virus, whether it be COVID or the flu, individuals should actively consider getting tested to ensure the safety and well-being of those around them.

Doctors are strongly advising individuals who are at higher risk for COVID-19 to promptly receive the latest available vaccine.

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