Mass. reports high COVID-19 cases over weekend; doctors suggest second surge

Coronavirus

WORCESTER, Mass. (WPRI) — After Massachusetts reported more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases each day this weekend, some doctors say the numbers suggest a second surge is underway.

The state released reported 1,097 new cases Sunday after more than 1,100 new cases were reported Saturday. The state has not seen daily cases this high since the peak of the pandemic last spring.

Dr. Craig Lilly, vice-chair of Critical Care Operations at UMass Memorial in Worcester says the trend is of concern.

“We need to work together as a community to turn that around,” Lilly said.

Lilly says the good news is all major hospitals in the area are nowhere near capacity, with plenty of space to treat COVID-19 patients.

“Our projections suggest that our capacity is well ahead of what the need is likely to be, and, like other institutions, we have a staged approach,” Lilly said. “If we start to have a concern that the cases are rising faster than we can keep up, then we’ll go to the next stage of our disaster plan and start to expand our facilities.”

This could mean reopening field hospitals like Worcester did with the DCU Center in April, but Lilly says he does not expect hospitals will need to go to that extreme anytime soon.

“I think you could say perhaps the average case is less severe, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the virus is weaker,” Lilly said. “It just might mean there’s better testing and a lot more awareness.”

Lilly says compared to the start of the pandemic, people may be more aware of when they need to seek medical assistance, leading to quicker treatment. He says this might be why fewer patients are going to the ICU.

Despite hospital preparedness, Lilly said he’s urging people to “double down” on their own preventative health measures.

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