I-Team: People still willing to go to routine doctor appointments following Baystate outbreak


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Throughout this pandemic, area hospitals and state officials have been encouraging people to go to routine heath appointments, guaranteeing it is safe to do so.

Now, 23 Baystate Medical Center employees and 13 patients on a non-COVID floor have all tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the health system. The coronavirus spread through the unit last week because an employee worked while being sick, according to Baystate President Dr. Mark Keroack.

“We know that an employee traveled to an area within the United States that has been identified as a ‘hot spot,’ and upon return was diagnosed with the virus,” said Dr. Keroack. “In addition, we know staff convened in break-rooms and removed their masks without observing proper social distancing protocols. These simple lapses were able to happen in spite of our screening employees for fever and other symptoms before every shift, mandating mask usage and social distancing throughout the facility.”

One man told 22News, that his mother is inside the emergency room at Baystate Medical Center.

“They’ve had her in the emergency room for the last two days because they can’t get a room for her,” explained Al Wheets. “But, it’s pretty hard finding out what’s going on, and you can’t go visit or do anything.”

Still, he said this situation doesn’t make him think twice about going to the doctor’s or hospital. Another man agreed.

“I don’t think I would be that reluctant to go. If I was there just to visit someone, I think that is something I would have to weigh the odds,” said Ed Silva. “But, if I needed to go, I would go and I would not hesitate.”

Baystate Health is doing an extensive review of its COVID safety practices and is working with the state DPH on contact tracing. If you received care in the unit between July 15 and 23, you are asked to reach out to Baystate Health.

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