BOSTON (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is issuing updated guidance on elective surgeries as COVID-19 cases strain hospital resources.

The latest guidance says that hospitals must reduce non-essential and non-urgent scheduled procedures. They need to be reduced by at least 50 percent. DPH cited an increase in patients with COVID-19 and staffing shortages.

Locally, Baystate Health sent a statement to 22News saying they’re working with physicians to reduce elective procedures:

Baystate Health, in compliance with the Baker Administration guidance, is working with its physicians to reduce elective procedures at its hospitals and is currently reaching out to those patients whose prescheduled procedures need to be postponed. Decisions about postponement of procedures is being done on an individual basis as our clinical teams evaluate medical needs of each patient. As the postponement of procedures is difficult news for those impacted, it is necessary to meet the needs of patients requiring emergency care.

Shelly Hazlett, Director of Public Affairs at Baystate Health

The DPH defines elective procedures as non-medical emergencies.