Health

Local doctor worries about surge in COVID-19 cases following holiday season

BOSTON — After finishing his first overnight shift of the new year inside Boston Medical Center’s emergency room, Dr. Jon Santiago shared thoughts in a video on Twitter.

“We’re in for it,” Dr. Santiago said, detailing the rise in cases statewide and the volume of patients in the ER to start the year.

BMC has roughly 100 COVID-19 patients, Santiago said, and the ER’s volume is reminiscent of pre-pandemic levels, he told Boston 25 News.

During the first coronavirus surge in spring, many people avoided emergency departments, said Santiago; that is not the case now. Following the holidays, Santiago said he is worried about an explosion of COVID-19 for the month of January.

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Across the state, hospitals are strained as they try to make space for COVID-19 patients and care for others without the virus.

Next week, school districts will return from winter break, but aspirations of adding in-person learning has been impacted by the latest public health data. One hundred ninety cities and towns were considered to be at high-risk, according to the latest report from the State Department of Public Health.

“They know that, in the midst of the health challenges we have right now, they can’t do it immediately and they can’t do it for everyone,” said Paul Reville, a Harvard Graduate School of Education professor and former Secretary of Education for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

In Lowell, plans for hybrid-learning were scrapped by public school officials citing the percent positivity and average daily case rates before Christmas.

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“When school resumes after the winter vacation on Monday, January 4, 2021, all Lowell Public Schools students will continue in remote learning,” Superintendent of Schools Joel Boyd wrote to parents on December 22.

Leslie Ramos is a mother of two students in Lowell schools. Her daughter had hybrid-learning while her son has been remote all year. She’s pleased with the decision to keep students home in her district.

“It was kind of a relief because of everything that was going on,” Ramos said. “The numbers are ridiculous.”

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