GERMANTOWN, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - Statewide, Maryland health officials are reporting hospitalizations have decreased but Montgomery County’s first responders tell FOX 5 that’s not what they’re seeing in the county just yet.
Hospitalizations is one of the key metrics both Montgomery and Prince George’s County leaders are using to determine whether they should reopen.
Both counties, neighboring Washington D.C., remained on lockdown along with the District as Maryland Governor Larry Hogan lifted the statewide “stay-at-home” order and moved Maryland into a Phase 1 reopening. The governor gave localities leeway in their reopening plans.
There’s been plenty of frustration voiced on this. There’s also a number of people in support of it. A Facebook page with some 70 members is now calling for Montgomery County to reopen.
Over the weekend, the owner of Buddy’s Crabs & Ribs in Annapolis told FOX 5, “To be honest with you. I’m not a doctor, I can’t tell you what’s going on. I think they have our best interests in mind. The Governor is a businessman. He understands. But we have to get back to work at some point.”
In Gaithersburg on Monday, Brian Gavin said, “I’ve been in the apartment for so long, I’m ready to come out. But I understand it because we’re close to Washington D.C.” He also said to come back in about a week and ask him again.
Montgomery County's EMTs work with hospitals closely since they have to monitor which hospital is at capacity and which can accept someone they’ve just received a 9-1-1- call to assist and transport.
On Monday, Montgomery County Fire and EMS Assistant Chief Alan Butsch told FOX 5 the county’s hospital beds are full and was able to provide the county ICU and acute bed information they’re working with, since the Maryland Department of Health only provides state-wide hospitalization statistics.
Butsch said according to information reported to them, there’s about 306 positive COVID-19 patients in Montgomery County’s acute hospital beds and about 156 in ICU.
“We’ve seen a plateauing,” said Assistant Chief Butsch, “So we’re not getting worse. But we’re not getting better fast. And the number of ICU beds that are being taken-up on a daily basis by ICU patients is actually about the same number of ICU beds under normal times.”
Prince George’s County’s Health Department has a COVID-19 data page that appears to show the overall number of county hospitalizations. FOX 5 also asked the for recent hospitalization breakdowns.
“The average number of COVID-positive patients hospitalized in Prince George’s County declined last week. For the week of May 10-16, the average COVID-positive patient count in county hospitals was 208 patients, a decrease from the previous week’s average of 244 COVID patients,” said Dr. Ernest Carter in an emailed statement.
The Prince George’s County Chief Health Officer wrote as of May 17th, the county has 188 positive COVID-19 patients under hospitalization (66 patients in ICU beds and 122 in acute care beds).
The Maryland Department of Health reported 555 positive COVID-19 patients in ICU beds on Monday, May 18th. When you add both counties, Montgomery and Prince George’s County appear to have close to half – around 40% -- of the state’s positive COVID-19 ICU patients.
Montgomery and Prince George’s County continue to lead the state in positive cases and deaths.