Baker Reveals Health System Support Plan – NBC Boston
Governor Charlie Baker is expected to come up with a new health system support plan as Massachusetts hospitals struggle to meet demand.
Hospitals across the state are critically at or exceeding capacity due to staff shortages, an increase in COVID-19 cases, and an increasing number of people in need of inpatient care.
Earlier this month, Baker ordered hospitals grappling with “critical” staffing shortages and an influx of patients to cut elective benefits and procedures by 50%. Certain non-essential elective benefits and procedures have already been reduced by 30% in the past month. He also said he was considering the possibility of activating the National Guard to help out in hospitals.
Massachusetts COVID-19 cases continue to mount, as are concerns about hospital capacity.
“If we continue down this path here with this kind of case surge, we won’t be able to maintain critical infrastructure: hospitals keep lights on, food on shelves,” said Dr. Shira Doron, hospital epidemiologist at Tufts Medical Center. “It is very urgent that we give thought to this question.”
Baker will be outlining his plan at a 9:00 am press conference at Massachusetts State House with Secretary of Health and Welfare Marylou Sudders.
The new plan comes as the Omicron variant becomes the dominant version of the coronavirus in Massachusetts and the United States
Researchers at the Broad Institute estimate that the highly mutated variant has been dominant in Massachusetts since December 17, less than two weeks after it was first discovered in a woman in Middlesex County.
A little over a week ago, the mutation accounted for less than 2% of new cases in Massachusetts. It shot up to 38% within a week. Nationally, omicron accounted for 73% of new infections last week, a nearly six-fold increase in omicron’s share of US infections in just seven days.
Massachusetts health officials reported an additional 13,717 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 28 new deaths on Monday in a report that includes data from the weekend. The number of cases this weekend averages about 4,572 a day, after 6,345 new cases were added on Friday, most in a day since January.
The number of patients in Massachusetts hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 cases rose to 1,513. It used to be nearly 4,000, but at some point in July it averaged 85. Of those currently hospitalized, 432 are fully vaccinated, 347 in intensive care units and 203 intubated.