Emergency room entrance to a hospital

‘Stretched to our limits’: Covid case counts reach previous peaks

Hospitals are approaching their breaking point as they manage the influx of COVID-19 patients and other medical patients. As of Jan. 3, 93% of all medical/surgical beds and 86% of all ICU beds were occupied in Massachusetts, and case counts are expected to rise in the days ahead. But Kevin Tabb, MD, CEO of Beth Israel Lahey Health, and other hospital leaders said they're ready. “We have to (accommodate more patients). We will be challenged. We are stretched to our limits. But we will. And we will have to accommodate what comes. There is no other place,” said Tabb. (Boston Business Journal, January 11, 2022)

Masked doctor

Video: Are classrooms still a safe space from COVID-19? Boston doctor weighs in

Massachusetts has extended the mask mandate in all public schools grades K-12 through the end of February, with public health officials reporting more than 50,000 new COVID-19 cases among students and staff during the most recent two-week period. Sharon Wright, MD, MPH, of Beth Israel Lahey Health, cautions that we need to remember that what we do outside of school and work impacts what happens when we are at school and work, and that now is a time to be more strict with gatherings and to pay attention and keep people home if they show symptoms. (WCVB, January 10, 2022)

Masked doctor

PCR or rapid antigen? Here’s how to use COVID tests to gather safely for the holidays

With a new surge of COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts, both molecular and antigen tests are useful tools to stay safe this holiday season. But when is the best time to use each test, and how can they help us gather safely with friends and family? Brian Hollenbeck, MD, of New England Baptist Hospital, said rapid tests can be helpful when you want an immediate answer, but they should be followed up with a PCR test for confirmation if you are symptomatic or may have been exposed to COVID-19. (Boston Globe, December 22, 2021)

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Omicron is now dominant in Mass. We asked experts if the recent COVID surge has changed their holiday plans

For people hoping to spend their holiday with friends and family, infectious disease experts – including Robin Colgrove, MD, of Mount Auburn Hospital, and Brian Hollenbeck, MD, of New England Baptist Hospital – shared precautions they’re taking this season, whether the rise of Omicron has changed their plans, and what advice they have for holiday gatherings. (Boston Globe, December 22, 2021)