BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) – Massachusetts state lawmakers are addressing the current state of Covid-19 and the methods designed to curb the pandemic in the state.
The Joint Committee on Covid-19 and Emergency Preparedness and Management hosted a virtual meeting on Thursday. The meeting addressed the latest surge of Covid cases, the presence of the Omicron variant and handling the pandemic throughout the remainder of the holiday season.
Those in attendance feared that the collision of the holidays, cold weather and new variant will impact hospital capacities across the state that are already being pushed to their limit.
“We’re hearing more and more about how hospitals are understaffed,” said House Co-Chair of the Committee Bill Driscoll Jr. “The tremendous staff that are still working are exhausted. We owe them a great debt of gratitude for taking care of our loved ones.”
Steve Walsh, CEO of the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association, addressed the striking increase in hospitalizations this week. This included 1,411 patients being hospitalized on Tuesday.
“A month ago there were 554,” Walsh said according to WBZ-TV. “That is a terrifying increase in cases.”
Walsh said that every conversation with health care leaders begins and ends with staffing and placed a critical emphasis on helping hospitals deal with tightening capacities.
“Our caregivers are simply exhausted,” Walsh said. “Many of them have left the field. Some are pursuing other traveling opportunities that are far more lucrative and we know that there’s a swell of workers who are now retiring.”
State House News also reports Walsh said that hospitals have lost 500 inpatient beds due to inadequate staffing. No one from Charlie Baker’s administration was present at the meeting and while Walsh supports mask mandates, the governor has said he does not plan on reinstating an indoor mask mandate.
WBZ’s Drew Moholland (@DrewWBZ) has more: