Massachusetts hospitals report concerning increase in COVID patients

BOSTON — Hospitals across Massachusetts are once again being overwhelmed with COVID patients. Several major hospitals are reporting sharp increases in the number of COVID patients being admitted.

UMass Memorial currently has about 150 COVID patients. That’s more than double the number from three weeks ago.

“I am convinced this is going to get worse,” said Dr. Eric Dickson, President and CEO of UMass Memorial. “We are going to see more COVID, more hospitalized patients and a more stressed health care system.

Dr. Dickson said UMass Memorial is putting elective procedures on hold by 100% because the bed shortage is so dire. He believes some of the recent COVID hospitalizations are potentially preventable.

“In the ICU, 75% of the patients are unvaccinated, and on the floors, 60% of the patients are unvaccinated,” Dr. Dickson explained. “Unfortunately, people who need other things now need to wait, and there’s a price for that later.”

Mass General Brigham reported 213 COVID patients system-wide as of Wednesday compared to 128 COVID patients three weeks prior.

Tufts Medical Center didn’t start seeing a noticeable increase until two days ago. That’s when the number of COVID patients increased from about a dozen to 24. According to the hospital’s epidemiologist, 75% of those people are unvaccinated.

“I think people should be aware, there is a ton of COVID out there,” said Dr. Shira Doron, Epidemiologist with Tufts Medical Center. “It’s disappointing and so unbelievable that we could be in this position a year into our vaccination program.”

Tufts Medical Center and other hospitals in the state are putting elective procedures on hold by 30% following guidance from the state last month.

Dr. Doron said she’s worried hospitals may have to cut back more on elective procedures down the line.

“What’s happening when we cancel surgery or postpone surgery, we’re kicking the can down the road,” Doron added. “We want to prevent as many COVID admissions and as many flu admissions as possible.”

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