BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday the creation of strike teams to help combat the cases of coronavirus targeting the elderly at Maryland’s nursing homes.

More than 90 nursing homes in Maryland have cases or clusters of cases of coronavirus. Maryland will be the first in the nation to do this type of coordinated effort.

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Maryland’s worst outbreak is at Pleasant View nursing home in Mount Airy and has killed at least 14 residents.

The statewide strike teams are made up of the Maryland National Guard, local and state health departments, Maryland Institute of Medical Service Systems and state hospital systems and will bring triage emergency care, supplies, and equipment to overburdened nursing homes.

“These teams will provide assistance and care immediately in order to slow the spread of this virus among our most vulnerable Marylanders,” Hogan said.

 

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The three teams are a testing team, an assistance team and a clinical team.

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The testing team will identify which residents or staffers need to be tested if they were in close contact with a positive COVID-19 case and collect and send out tests to get rapid test results. They will also determine how to keep confirmed and suspected cases of COVID-19 of staff separated.

The assistance team, which is made up of mostly National Guard members, will assess situations on-site to determine equipment and supplies needed for triage teams.

The clinical team, made up of doctors, nurses and other frontline healthcare workers, will be tasked with on-site medical triage and stabilizing residents of using homes to avoid unnecessary transport.

“The goal here is not to replace a nursing home’s medical team but to provide immediate support and assistance to protect residents of these facilities,” Hogan said.

“They will work to slow the spread of the virus among our most vulnerable Marylanders,” he added.

Hogan also asked that state labs release demographic information on the positive coronavirus patients in the state like race and zip code, but said there would be a gap in the data as private labs may not have that information.

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.