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September 14, 2021

UMass Memorial goes on elevated alert, as 54% COVID case spike strains resources

Photo | Grant Welker UMass Memorial Medical Center's University Campus in Worcester, which is one of the hospitals under the UMass Memorial Health umbrella

UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester has seen an increase in COVID-positive patients from 35 to 54 cases in less than one week, forcing the hospital to go on an elevated alert status, according to a Tuesday press release.

In total, there are more than 70 positive cases across the UMass Memorial Health system, which includes hospitals in Worcester, Marlborough, Leominster, Clinton, and Southbridge.

The hospital is now under elevated alert status, as the influx of COVID-19 cases has resulted in longer than normal wait times in the emergency department, said the Worcester hospital. 

Compounded by the closure of 111 beds at Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester and a national labor shortage of healthcare workers, UMass Memorial said it was extremely strained for resources. There are more than 400 vacant positions at the Medical Center and 600 caregivers who are out of work on paid leave, per the release.

The resurgence of cases is fueled by the Delta variant of the coronavirus and the number of unvaccinated individuals in the area, the hospital said.

In the announcement, UMass reported it is seeing some hospitalization among those vaccinated against COVID-19, but infections among vaccinated individuals are minor to moderate. The hospital urged eligible people to get the vaccine.

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