Kozel: Vaccine is on the way

CAMBRIDGE — CEO of Shore Health Ken Kozel updated members of the Dorchester County Council on Dec. 1, telling them that a COVID-19 vaccine could be available in the area as early as this month, for use by those on the front line of the epidemic.

He began his presentation by saying that in Shore Health’s hospitals in Cambridge, Chestertown and Easton, the average number of patients has been 5-15 in total, which Mr. Kozel said was a relatively low number. Few of them are in the intensive care units, he said, adding, “I’m pleased that we’re not seeing very, very sick patients.”

There were 11 patients in the area’s hospitals on Dec. 1, 10 in Easton and one in Cambridge. They are benefiting, Mr. Kozel said, from months of planning that have resulted in plenty of supplies and equipment on hand to face the pandemic.
Now that a surge in infected patients is underway, “We could expect to see two to three times that number of positive patients,” Mr. Kozel said, though even those demands would still be well below what the Shore’s hospitals are prepared to handle.

The next step in the fight against COVID-19 will be the arrival of a vaccine. “We are expecting to get our first series of supplies of vaccine in the state of Maryland over the next several weeks,” he said. “I anticipate that by this month, December, we will have vaccines and we will be able to start following the governor’s orders on how that vaccine is distributed.”

Among the first to receive the vaccine will be health care workers, Mr. Kozel said. The medicine will probably be available to the general public in the spring of 2021.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Maryland Department of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage

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