By Luda Tang
With the continually growing cases of Covid-19 since late October until now, hospitals in Massachusetts, which were already struggling to handle patients with other conditions, stagger under strain.
A potential rise of COVID hospitalizations can be foreseen at least for the next month as the winter and holiday season drive more people to gather indoors, and with more detected cases of Omicron in the United States. President Biden on Thursday proposed a plan to stop the further transmission of the virus, including wider availability of vaccines, particularly booster shots. He’s also tightening testing requirements for people entering the United States.
Statewide, Covid-19 hospitalizations have increased by more than 90 percent in the past several weeks. The Mass General Brigham hospital group was treating about 150 patients with COVID-19 on Thursday, double the number three weeks ago, according to Dr. Ron Walls, chief operating officer.
However, hospitals across the state have 500 to 1,000 fewer beds than normal due to the shortage of nurses and other professionals. “We ran out of ICU beds today,” Dr. Eric Dickson, chief executive of UMass Memorial Health in Worcester, told the Boston Globe, “That’s as bad as I’ve ever seen it.”
People “got into a false sense of security that we didn’t need to be so careful anymore,” Walls told the Boston Globe, “We’re going to need to be vaccinated, masked, and careful for many months to come.”