With the spike of COVID-19 cases in the Delmarva region as a result of the Delta Variant, TidalHealth Peninsula Regional has officially temporarily suspended elective, non-emergency surgeries.
The policy change released Thursday, Sept. 9, affects only elective, non-emergency surgeries that require an overnight stay, and will last only for at least a two-week period starting Monday, Sept. 13. At that point, TidalHealth will review the policy.
TidalHealth Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury is the only TidalHeath facility enacting such a change now.
“What’s clearly happening is that unvaccinated people are getting COVID at an unprecedented rate, and are getting sick and requiring hospitalization. This preventable stress on our already stressed health care system contributes to delays,” said Steve Leonard, TidalHealth CEO.
Leonard added such delays affect those seeking care in the emergency room for a variety of non-COVID emergencies.
Behind the numbers
Mark Edney, MD, president of the Medical Staff at TidalHealth, noted hundreds of millions of vaccine doses have been delivered worldwide with only a very small number of adverse reactions, which is witnessed with any vaccine deployment.
“There remains a reluctance in the region to vaccination with Wicomico County at 45%, Worcester County at 66% and Sussex County at 56% (still unvaccinated),” Edney said. “Widespread misinformation and unfounded concerns not supported by the evidence are key reasons for the low vaccination rates.”
According to the latest data by the Maryland Department of Health: Wicomico currently has 9,283 cases with 189 deaths, Worcester has 4,359 cases with 109 deaths and Somerset has 2,868 cases with 45 deaths.
The age ranges with the highest number of cases are ages 20 to 29, 40 to 49 and 50-59.
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The Wicomico Health Department currently reports the Seven-Day Positivity Rate is 13.79%, while the statewide rate is 4.69%.
That remains consistent with data from early September that indicated Wicomico County saw a 27% increase in cases overall.
Most recently, Gov. Larry Hogan authorized a vaccine booster for those 65 years old and older currently living in “congregate housing.”
That means residents of all nursing homes, assisted living facilities, residential drug treatment centers and developmentally disabled group homes are eligible. Also directed to provide boosters were all pharmacies and providers across the state without a prescription or doctor’s order to anyone who is immunocompromised.
“All of the evidence makes it abundantly clear that we can not afford to delay taking decisive action to protect our most vulnerable citizens,” Hogan said.
Boosters now authorized:Maryland expands booster shots to nursing home residents, immunocompromised