BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The increase in new cases of the coronavirus reported in Maryland Monday was slightly less than Sunday’s number. Still, there were 436 more—bringing the number of confirmed cases to at least 4,045 and the number of deaths rose to at least 91 with 24 reported in the past 24 hours.
There are now positive coronavirus cases in at least 80 nursing homes across Maryland leading to Governor Larry Hogan’s executive order that requires staff to wear personal protective equipment and mandates faster testing for any residents with symptoms.READ MORE: Maryland Officials Announce COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Task Force As State, Baltimore Officials Spar Over Relief Funding
“We know that if social distancing is working, we should not expect to see the same exponential increase in growth, but over the next week or so, we’ll get some better indication of where we are right now,” said Dr. Clifford Mitchell of the Maryland Department of Health. “The Governor has been very, very clear in the most recent executive order about making sure that we have done everything with nursing homes that we can to assure that they are prepared.”
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In the Baltimore area, several FutureCare nursing homes have reported positive cases.
WJZ spoke to a FutureCare employee — now in quarantine — who asked us not to reveal her identity. She says that until last week she was performing therapy at multiple nursing homes and did not have enough personal protective equipment.
“We would go in and out of different buildings every week,” the employee said. “We even voiced our concerns that we could be carriers—that we could potentially bring COVID from one building to another building, and as a carrier, you wouldn’t know that.”READ MORE: Maryland Zoo Adds New Live Camera Feed To Watch Zebras, Ostriches
She worries about her health and that of her patients.
“I was told that I was to keep working with patients up until I test positive. When I didn’t like that answer, I went to my doctor and was placed on quarantine,” she said. [The residents] have faith in the staff to keep them safe, and I feel like if we are not even wearing proper personal protective equipment when we go into the rooms, we could just be spreading COVID from one patient to another.”
FutureCare said in a prior statement that, “the safety and well being of residents and staff is our primary concern.” They did not respond to WJZ’s questions Monday.
“We are scared to come to work for not only ourselves and our families but our patients also,” the employee said.
The worst outbreak in Maryland is at Pleasant View nursing home in Mount Airy where most of the 95 residents contracted COVID-19. The Washington Post reports that as the outbreak unfolded, Pleasant View’s medical director was “nowhere to be found” despite health officials’ repeated attempts to call him. The Post reports he later said he was in quarantine.
Fourteen residents have died due to that outbreak.MORE NEWS: Break-In Reported At Patterson Park Pagoda