Baystate Health CEO addresses challenges during 4th wave of pandemic

Coronavirus Local Impact

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Baystate Health hospitals have been hit hard in this 4th wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their CEO and President Mark Keroack, making that clear in a virtual news conference Thursday.

“We went from 4 cases on the first of July to last weekend to having over 100 cases,” said Dr. Mark Keroack, CEO and President of Baystate Health.

75 percent of those patients weren’t vaccinated. Dr. Keroack said that’s your best defense from COVID-19, even for those who had the virus, “There are some people who had COVID-19 and they have immunity which is correct, but the immunity from vaccination is far better.”

Dr. Keroack said they are reaching the maximum capacity for beds at their hospitals, so when a COVID-19 patient comes to the hospital they may have to wait days for a bed to be available. Currently, Baystate Health is only allowing one visitor per patient and they also have ramped up the infection control measures, enforcing masks and physical distancing.

“It would be very hard to walk around wearing masks on the chin, without someone telling you to get it together, its a very rigorous enforcement program,” said Dr. Keroack.

Baystate Health will require all employees to be vaccinated in order to work at their hospital. Approximately 82 percent of its employees are vaccinated against COVID-19. The deadline for those who aren’t vaccinated is October 1st.

There has been pushback by some staff members against the COVID-19 vaccine mandate and this comes as Baystate Health announced that staffing has been an issue of late.

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