The health care industry, amplifying Gov. Charlie Baker's stay-home-for-the-holidays message, released a joint video statement Monday.
"It may be the 'most wonderful time of the year' as Andy Williams famously sang in 1963, but during the pandemic this holiday season is also the most dangerous," the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association wrote in its weekly newsletter. "The state and the Massachusetts hospital community are urging people to limit in-person celebrations to household members only, and to postpone or cancel travel this holiday season. Stay away from Santas, deliver carols virtually, and maintain social distancing if out and about looking at holiday light displays."
The statement was released by the MHA with the Mass. Medical Society, Mass. League of Community Health Centers, Organization of Nurse Leaders, and American Nurses Association – Massachusetts.
"Before Thanksgiving we asked you to limit your celebrations to your own household, to protect yourself and Massachusetts' caregivers who are working so hard to keep you healthy," the industry leaders say in the video. "People still traveled and gathered indoors around crowded tables. Now we are all dealing with the consequences and our health care system is being stretched. We know how hard this is. We understand the sacrifices you are making. Please stay home this holiday season, to ensure that next year is joyous and bright."
COVID hospitalizations have nearly doubled since Thanksgiving, according to the MHA, and the state has experienced reductions in available ICU and non-ICU hospital beds. Hospitals remain "open and safe places to seek most care services," the MHA said, but "they are relying on their community members to help them from being strained further."