BOSTON (WWLP) — Starting this week, Massachusetts hospitals will change the way they report COVID cases. Now, they’ll differentiate between COVID-positive patients and those who come into the hospital for other reasons but test positive after being admitted.
Throughout the pandemic, Massachusetts hospitals have reported the number of COVID-positive patients at their facilities without making the distinction. The update aims to provide the public with a clearer sense of the severity of the omicron variant. It also aims to demonstrate how the new cases correlate to severe illnesses requiring hospitalization.
“When we have people with gunshot wounds admitted to the emergency room at BMC and they’re listed only as COVID patients, we have a bit of a problem,” said House Speaker Ron Mariano.
Officials at the Department of Public Health say 93% of medical/surgical beds in Massachusetts are occupied and 86% of ICU beds are full, which is a major concern for state leaders. Health professionals across the state also say a major issue is where homeless people can get checked for COVID. Often, if they have mild symptoms and nowhere to quarantine, they end up at the ER of a local hospital.
The legislature is putting pressure on Gov. Charlie Baker to distribute hundreds of millions of dollars put aside to deal with a surge in cases. Baker said Monday that he is still working on a plan to spend that money.