While the nursing home in Kirkland, Washington, was the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak three weeks ago, the fast-spreading virus has turned its crosshairs onto the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. Virus cases and deaths are now erupting in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.
The hardest-hit area is New York state, which has 53,399 confirmed cases and 827 deaths as of Saturday night (March 28). Reports are pouring in that hospital systems in the region are beyond capacity, and that is the point where the mortality rate could surge unless extra capacity is brought online to alleviate the lack of hospital beds and ICU-level treatment.
At the moment, New Jersey is the second hardest-hit area with 11,124 cases and 140 deaths, next is Massachusetts with 4,257 cases and 44 deaths, then Pennsylvania with 2,845 cases and 34 deaths, and last is Maryland with 995 cases and 10 deaths.
It appears the epicenter of the virus has shifted from West Coast to East Coast. Parts of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic have densely packed metro areas with large senior populations, a dangerous combination that could lead to a further rise in cases and deaths.
With March coming to a close, the virus spread is impacting ever more of the East Coast. According to a new report by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Saturday, a nursing home in the state has just confirmed 66 cases, resulting in 11 hospitalizations, reported CBS Baltimore, in what appears to be a tragic repeat of the Washington events.
NOW: Pleasant View Nursing Home where Carroll Co. health officials state that at least 66 people were tested positive for #COVID19 virus. This is an ongoing and changing event. #OnAssignment More at @BaltSunBrk @baltimoresun pic.twitter.com/Gwpc4VqanA— Karl Ferron (@lightforall) March 29, 2020
.@GovLarryHogan confirmed a #CoronavirusOutbreak at the Pleasant View Nursing facility in Mt. Airy, Carroll County, MD. Hogan says 66 residents tested positive AND 11 are being hospitalized. We’re learning the facility has 104 beds/staff is being monitored. @fox5dc pic.twitter.com/wZifn6hAvL— Stephanie Ramirez (@RamirezReports) March 29, 2020
Hogan said state and local officials are at the Pleasant View Nursing Home in Mount Airy, Maryland, located in Carroll County.
"Tonight, Maryland has experienced a tragic coronavirus outbreak at Pleasant View Nursing Home in Mount Airy. Multiple state agencies are on the scene and working closely with the local health department and the facility as they take urgent steps to protect additional residents and staff who may have been exposed."
"As we have been warning for weeks, older Marylanders and those with underlying health conditions are more vulnerable and at a significantly higher risk of contracting this disease," Hogan added.
The Carroll County Health Department published this memo to the public:
"Pleasant View Nursing Home continues to cooperate with and follow the guidance of the Maryland Department of Health and the Carroll County Health Department. We're maintaining constant communication and will continue to provide resources and support to the patients, their families and facility staff during this difficult time."
Elsewhere in the state, a fire station in Baltimore had to suspend operations after firefighters came in contact with an emergency medical services provider who tested positive for the virus.
The Maryland National Guard and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have been setting up a large field hospital at the Baltimore Convention Center.
Here are a few photos of the medical surge site that Maryland is establishing at the Baltimore Convention Center as supplies arrive from @fema. Lots of partners from across state agencies; Feds; and private sector healthcare involved. pic.twitter.com/MSOTt3jZHq— Chas Eby (@chas_eby) March 28, 2020
Maryland National Guard is assembling a field hospital today including 250 beds at the Baltimore Convention Center. This is part of the effort to add thousands of hospital beds for #Covid_19 pic.twitter.com/Hg4NX7H69A— Emily Opilo (@emilyopilo) March 28, 2020
We noted last week that the National Guard deployed armored vehicles across the Baltimore City to help out with virus-related preparations.
MD National Guard humvees were seen in Baltimore, but the Guard says "there is not a threat of martial law...If you see a @MDNG Humvee on your street, know we are helping someone in need!" https://t.co/IayE27tzuc pic.twitter.com/TVgUrSqgd5— FOX Baltimore (@FOXBaltimore) March 21, 2020
Though we must note, state officials are concerned about social unrest that could soon unfold in low-income neighborhoods across the Baltimore region.