By CBS Baltimore Staff

GLEN BURNIE, Md. (WJZ) — The University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center has declared a hospital disaster and is implementing Crisis Standards of Care (CSC) Protocols amid rapidly rising COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state.

“We have reached a critical point in the pandemic. We have made this difficult decision after exhausting all other avenues to address issues that are challenging our operations,” said Neel Vibhakar,  UM BWMC Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer. “CSC is another step in the continuum of care critical to hospital pandemic surge plans.”

READ MORE: Wizards Get Dominated At Home By The Celtics

This action will enable hospitals to care for the high volume of patients effectively by streamlining processes, modifying surgical schedules , simplifying documentation and redeploying staff.

READ MORE: Two People Injured In Hampden Shooting On Sunday

“Unfortunately, we are just at the beginning of this surge,” Kathy McCollum, President and CEO, UM BWMC, said. “The weeks ahead will only become more challenging. This is the right step to support our teams and to serve the many patients in our community who rely on us and trust us with their care.”

MORE NEWS: Ovechkin Scores 2, Capitals Rally To Beat Senators 3-2

“We are continually exploring all aspects of care delivery to identify new ways to match our resources with the significant patients requiring evaluation and treatment, David Marcozzi, MD, UMMS COVID-19 Incident Commander, said. “All UMMS hospitals are maximizing their surge plans presently, which also means reducing surgical volumes by at least 20 percent, as directed by Governor Hogan.”

CBS Baltimore Staff