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COVID-19 Care for All Steps of the Patient Journey

COVID-19 Care for All Steps of the Patient Journey

Like all healthcare systems across the globe, Frederick Health, the largest healthcare provider in Frederick County, is continuing to adapt to the ever-changing dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic. Part of that adaptation has been adjusting our services and creating new COVID-19 related services from the ground up. Early in the pandemic, our staff recognized the need for new, stand-up services, such as COVID-19 testing, treatment, and new care options. All of this had to be developed in weeks when normally such logistical lifts would take months to develop.

As those services were created and implemented, one thing became very clear: every individual has a different COVID-19 experience. Whether it was getting tested for the virus, vaccinated against it, or creating more robust and comprehensive long-term care treatments for those who contracted it, we have been able to develop and continue offering services for each unique step of the COVID-19 experience.

One of the first large-scale operations to be fully realized and put into motion was a drive-through testing center located at the Frederick Health Village. This testing site, which opened in June of 2020 (originally at our Toll House location), continues to offer COVID-19 testing and has performed over 200,000 tests since its inception.

“Testing volumes have varied, but the ability to offer drive-through testing to the community was critical in the early days of the pandemic,” said Sara Littleton, Director of Community Health with Frederick Health. “We are continuing to provide COVID-19 testing to our community. The testing facility at the Frederick Health Village has been a reliable asset in our response to this pandemic for nearly a year and a half.”

While testing was and remains a critical tool in the battle against COVID-19, clinical and scientific data shows that getting vaccinated remains the strongest, most dependable option for the public. Once the vaccines became more readily available in late 2020 and early 2021, we were able to set up an extensive network of vaccination clinics across the county.

Throughout the spring and summer of 2021, we worked hand-in-hand with the Frederick County Health Department to get the vaccine to as many people as possible. Since that time, we have administered roughly 86,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. As a result, the county is currently at or around a 70% vaccination rate. However, those numbers are not where they should be.

"Vaccines and boosters remain our strongest tools in the fight against COVID-19. Our staff remains ready to care for our community, but everyone needs to do their part in stopping these preventable surges.” said Tom Kleinhanzl, President & CEO of Frederick Health.

As has been the trend since late in the summer, the overwhelming majority of patients currently hospitalized at Frederick Health’s hospital are unvaccinated. With the nation entering the colder months, coupled with the most recent holiday season, we are seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases.

“We have more COVID-19 patients in the hospital than at any point and most of them are unvaccinated. The bottom line is that this was an avoidable peak being driven by the unvaccinated,” added Kleinhanzl.

The past few months have shown us the reality of the situation, and it's that individuals within the community are still at risk for and are getting infected with the virus. For those individuals that have tested positive for COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms, we have numerous options available. Anyone that starts to feel ill or is experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 should visit one of our eight Primary Care locations or two Urgent Care locations conveniently located across the county.

In October 2021, we established a Monoclonal Antibodies clinic located just outside of our hospital. This clinic provides an infusion therapy for patients that boosts their immune system and helps fight off the COVID-19 virus. Since the clinic was established, it has treated nearly 100 patients and has effectively revamped its schedule to accommodate the administering of treatments five days a week.

“Our team was on a mission to get this clinic done as quickly as possible so that we could start serving the public. That’s the thing—doing whatever we can do to help make people feel better and reduce the spread of COVID and lessen the burden on the hospital,” said Alison Conway, the Registered Nurse with Frederick Health who is overseeing the Monoclonal Antibodies clinic.

For assistance scheduling treatment at one of the state Monoclonal Antibody Clinics, or for a referral to another local treatment site, please visit our Monoclonal Antibody Clinic page.

Some patients who have already had the virus and are no longer contagious are still experiencing symptoms long after COVID-19 has left their body. These individuals are called COVID-19 “long haulers.” To make sure that these patients have someone there to help on every step of the journey, we have developed a COVID-19 Recovery Care Rehabilitation clinic.

Long haul conditions include shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, headaches, joint and muscle pain, and cognitive issues sometimes called “COVID fog.” Individuals do not need a referral to this program, which offers specialized ways of treating the unique side effects of the virus.

As we continue to work with our partners and develop additional resources and healthcare treatments in the fight against COVID-19, our current offering of comprehensive services provides a well-rounded approach for every step of this unique journey.

“We’re right here,” said Littleton. “Here to help however you need us.”

For more information on Frederick Health’s COVID-19 response, please visit our website.