COVID-19 ICU Admissions Fall at Boston Hospitals – Boston 25 News
COVID-19 ICU Admissions Fall at Boston Hospitals – Boston 25 News

COVID-19 ICU Admissions Fall at Boston Hospitals – Boston 25 News

NEWTON, Mass. – No, the staff at Tufts Medical Center did not hold a party, but it was a significant occasion, as well. For the first time in two years, the hospital reports that it has no COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit and only a little bit admitted elsewhere.

“It really reflects a change in where we are in the pandemic,” said Shira Doron, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Tufts. “That does not mean we will not see ebb and flow and rises and peaks and waves in the future. We do not know what the future will bring.”

And if the past is any guide, it is likely that these intensive care units will be occupied by COVID-19 patients at some point later. But this is still a moment exhausted health professionals can enjoy.

“We have, at least for some time to come, what people refer to as a wall of immunity,” Doron said. “It’s not perfect. It’s not herd immunity. It’s not going to make COVID-19 go away with a long shot. But it’s helping to keep patients out of the hospital.”

Infection and vaccination built that wall of immunity. What remains to be seen is how durable it turns out to be and / or whether a new COVID-19 variant could outsmart these defenses. Although Doron is happy to have this wave behind him, he knows how fragile these breaks can be.

“Our optimism is much more cautious these days,” she said. “We were really optimistic this time last year with cases falling. And we really thought the worst was behind us.”

And then came the Delta variant in the middle of late summer 2021 – and three months later, the Omicron variant.

“Now that we see how bad it can be in a post-vaccination world, I think we will enjoy the quiet periods,” Doron said. “But we absolutely must be and prepare for the possibility of future increases.”

Massachusetts, like the rest of the country, sees COVID-19 cases increase as a result of the BA2 sub-variant – but only slightly. Doron said the more meaningful figure to look at, at this point in the pandemic, is “patients hospitalized.” And it’s down in the state by almost half since the beginning of March. This week, the average for 7-day hospitalization was 224 patients, according to the state Department of Public Health.

Other hospitals in the Boston area are also seeing COVID-19 numbers shrink. At Newton-Wellesley, they treat only two COVID-19 patients – none of whom are in the intensive care unit. Thirteen patients at Brigham and Women’s have COVID-19 – but only three are in the intensive care unit. At Mass General, the numbers are the same: 16 infected patients, three in the intensive care unit.

Doron said the health system in Massachusetts generally performed well during the pandemic – but at times resources of all kinds were tested.

“The Omicron wave really stretched our capacity in terms of staff,” she said. “While the original wave really stretched our capacity in terms of space. Both of these things need to be considered for the future. “

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