A new public service announcement campaign, to be played on Boston TV stations, will encourage people not to avoid seeking medical care out of fear of contracting COVID-19, a theme state officials have been repeatedly emphasizing.
Hospital executives joined Gov. Charlie Baker for his daily press briefing on Thursday, urging people to seek urgent or emergency care if they need it but are letting fear of contracting COVID-19 push them into letting their conditions worsen.
They said they have taken precautions to keep their emergency rooms safe for patients, but have seen patient volumes drop from typical levels before the pandemic arrived in Massachusetts.
"We have the beds, we have the physicians, we have the nurses, we have the specialists, we have the resources to treat you," said Dr. Gregg Meyers of Partners HealthCare.
As Massachusetts works its way through the surge of COVID-19 patients, Baker over the past few days has repeatedly brought up that hospitals are still able to treat patients with other conditions. He said hospitalizations have been "relatively stable." There were 3,977 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 as of Wednesday, about 9% of the total confirmed cases.
On Wednesday, in the midst of the COVID-19 surge, Baker said most of the state's 18,000 hospital beds were unoccupied.
The Department of Public Health reported 221 new COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, bringing the total fatality count in the state to 2,182. Baker called those numbers "very sobering" and encouraged people to remember the individuals and families behind each of those deaths.