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‘Return of regular business’ creates new problems for overwhelmed hospital

The Chief Medical Officer at Prince George’s Hospital Center said they are still treating more than 100 COVID-19 patients, while also treating chronic illnesses.

CHEVERLY, Md. — The number of people in Maryland hospitals infected with COVID-19 continues to drop overall. As of Monday night, 1,447 patients were hospitalized because of coronavirus. Of that number, 555 patients were in the intensive care unit.

At Prince George’s Hospital Center in Cheverly, the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joseph Wright, said that while they have seen a drop in cases, staff are still overwhelmed. He said they’ve consistently had more than 100 COVID-19 patients in the hospital.

"Even a modest decline that we have experienced over the last week is still a lot of sick people," Wright said.  "Our intensive care unit is still a COVID ICU."

As parts of Maryland begin to reopen, Prince George's County remains a hotspot, with the most coronavirus infections in the state.

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Dr. Wright said they are continuing to expand on the Cheverly campus, so they're prepared for more patients in the coming weeks. They're adding additional critical care pods to the building and creating a separate wing for coronavirus patients in the coming weeks. 

But now, Dr. Wright said they’re running into another problem.

"A return of regular business in Prince George's County means a lot of chronic illness," Dr. Wright said. "A lot of chronic illness that's been sitting at home." 

Other hospitals in the University of Maryland Medical System are also still on standby for a possible increase late summer.

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Additional tents are up at Bowie Health Center and beds are still available at the recently reopened Laurel Regional Hospital.

"Certainly with things opening up around the state, I think it's understood that we will continue to see COVID patients," Wright said. 

On top of coronavirus cases and treating chronic illnesses, Prince George’s Hospital Center also had the second busiest trauma center in the state of Maryland. Dr. Wright said they’re starting to see an uptick in those cases again.

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