Worcester Hospitals Seeing Severe Coronavirus Cases Rise

Neal McNamara

This article originally appeared on the Worcester Patch

WORCESTER, MA — Worcester hospitals are beginning to see a rise in people who need urgent care for coronavirus, officials said Thursday. Meanwhile, the number of cases in Worcester rose to 38.

Health officials have long feared a surge of coronavirus patients who need intensive care due to a finite number of beds and respirators.

"That is something we're monitoring closely," City Manager Edward Augustus said on Thursday of the severe cases. "Obviously it's a concern that we have the capacity to meet an increasing number of folks each day that are coming in."

Worcester Medical Director Michael Hirsh called the rise in acute cases the "canary in the coal mine" ahead of an expected overall surge in COVID-19 cases.

Hirsh also warned residents to watch for gastrointestinal symptoms related to COVID-19. Infections in the lower lungs often cause symptoms like nausea and diarrhea. Health officials have been mostly talking about symptoms like fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath in relation to COVID-19.

The number of cases across Massachusetts rose sharply this week from more than 700 on Monday to 2,417 as of Thursday afternoon. There have been 25 deaths in the state, including several people from Worcester County.

The number of cases in Worcester rose by 11 between Wednesday and Thursday, officials said on Thursday.