COVID-19

Elective Procedures Paused at Some Mass. Hospitals Amid COVID Spike, Bed Shortage

Mass General Brigham COO Dr. Ron Walls says essential surgeries are expected to go ahead as planned as non-urgent procedures are being put on hold with rising COVID-19 hospitalizations and a shortage of staff

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With an influx of COVID-19 patients, overcrowded hospitals in Massachusetts are pausing non-urgent procedures.

Gov. Charlie Baker has ordered Massachusetts hospitals with bed shortages to stop non-urgent procedures this week.

"Mass General and the Brigham are running most days over 95% capacity. The state is trying to get us to 85% capacity to have that extra elasticity for additional patients, but that is a really big reach for us," said Dr. Ron Walls, chief operating officer at Mass General Brigham.

Hospitals across the state are maxed out due to staffing shortages, an uptick in COVID-19 cases and more people needing inpatient care.

As of Tuesday, more than 900 people statewide were hospitalized with COVID.

"We're seeing a pretty big resurgence of delta right now. Our numbers of inpatients in our Mass General Brigham system in the past three and a half, four weeks have almost doubled," said Walls.

This means hospitals across the state are announcing a reduction in elective surgeries.

Walls says this will mostly impact cases where a patient needs an inpatient bed and where delaying procedures won't negatively impact their health.

"I would just encourage patients to assume the surgery is going to go ahead as planned unless you hear specifically from your doctor or provider that that's not going to be the case," he said. "Because most of these surgeries are essential surgeries and will continue to be done to the greatest extent we can."

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