MASSACHUSETTS STARTED to come down off its COVID-19 plateau on Friday, with overall virus hospitalizations and cases in intensive care both falling.
It’s still too early to say the surge is over, but hospitalizations are now at their lowest level (3,716) since April 15. Patients in intensive care units are at their lowest level (947) since April 11.
Before the release of the numbers, Gov. Charlie Baker said he isn’t looking for a specific number on either measurement, but instead wants to see a steady decline in patients and other indicators. Hospitalizations have now declined for four straight days, although the overall number still remains in the 3,600 to 3,900 plateau range it’s been in for weeks. The number of ICU cases has been bouncing around between 1,000 and 1,089 for several weeks.
Other numbers from the state’s COVID-19 dashboard were not so promising. The number of new COVID-19 cases rose by 2,106, the highest increase in six days. Deaths rose by 154, with 57 percent of them at nursing homes. Nursing homes continue to account for 59 percent of all COVID-19 deaths.
Cape Cod, islands issues guidance
Hospital, business, and political leaders from Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha’s Vineyard issued a guidance on Friday to seasonal residents and visitors, alerting them to what’s open and what they should expect through May 18.
The guidance recommends postponing any non-essential travel and warns that non-essential businesses and all hotels and other short-term lodgings are currently closed through May 18. The guidance also notes that people are supposed to stay at home and avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.
“If you must travel here, please be aware that Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has issued guidance instructing all travelers arriving in Massachusetts to self-quarantine for 14 days,” the guidance says. It also advises visitors to bring enough provisions, prescriptions, and other personal items to last 14 days.
Monster.com posts 1,200 nursing home jobs
Monster.com posted 1,200 nursing home jobs on Friday at no cost, and notified that anyone who takes one of the jobs by May 15 is entitled to a $1,000 signing bonus from the state.
Monster said it partnered with the MIT-based COVID-19 Policy Alliance and the Massachusetts Senior Care Association.
Nursing home administrators say one of their biggest issues right now is attracting employees to fill gaps at facilities. A shortage of workers has existed for some time, but COVID-19 has accentuated the problem as cases and deaths at nursing homes have risen dramatically, sending many workers home with the disease and scaring others away.
The jobs posted include resident care assistants, certified nursing aides, licensed practical nurses, and registered nurses. Monster said many of the openings require no experience.