Baystate treats 1st confirmed COVID-19 case

  • Cooley Dickinson Hospital at 30 Locust St. in Northampton. KEVIN GUTTING

Published: 3/14/2020 5:58:15 PM

SPRINGFIELD — Baystate Medical Center has treated its first confirmed positive COVID-19 case, the first known case in Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties.

“We have identified the first COVID-19 patient at Baystate Medical Center and that person is no longer in the hospital and is recovering at home,” President and CEO of Baystate Health Dr. Mark A. Keroack said in a statement Saturday night. No other information about the case was released.

Two dozen patients were in isolation Saturday and receiving treatment at Baystate Medical Center for possible cases of COVID-19. Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton has also tested patients who are under self-quarantine at home for potential COVID-19, though a hospital spokesperson said no positive test results have been received as of Sunday afternoon.

President and CEO of Holyoke Medical Center Spiros Hatiras said in a phone interview Saturday morning that there are no active or suspected cases of COVID-19 at his hospital.

Keroack confirmed the 24 potential infections of the novel coronavirus at Baystate Medical Center in Saturday’s statement to the Gazette.

“The patients, all of whom exhibited symptoms indicative of a severe flu or a viral pneumonia, are suspected to have COVID-19. We must take seriously all of the advice on protection,” Keroack said.

On Sunday, a Baystate Medical Center spokesperson declined to give an update on the number of suspected cases at the Springfield hospital.

Ten patients had been tested for COVID-19 at Cooley Dickinson but no positive results have been received, a hospital spokesperson said Sunday afternoon.

Dr. Estevan Garcia, chief medical officer at Cooley Dickinson, said in a phone interview on Saturday morning that the hospital did not have anyone admitted for possible COVID-19 at that time.

In the past two weeks, Garcia said, several other people had been under investigation by the hospital because they met federal Centers for Disease Control criteria for possible COVID-19. Those patients were not tested because tests were not available at the time, and they have since been released from the hospital, Garcia said.

They will not be tested further as they “are well and now at home,” Garcia said.

Garcia said the hospital is testing only those who meet strict criteria as “testing is not that readily available.” On Cooley Dickinson’s website, officials ask the public not to go to a health care site asking for testing. For those who have a fever or signs of respiratory disease, the hospital advises calling a health care provider to determine next steps.

As of Saturday, the state Department of Public Health has not reported any presumed or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hampshire, Hampden and Franklin counties, while there were 138 confirmed or presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, according to DPH.

As of Saturday morning, the novel coronavirus has infected more than 147,000 people and killed more than 5,000 worldwide.

Gov. Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency in Massachusetts and President Donald Trump declared a national emergency last week over the novel coronavirus. On Wednesday, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.

Michael Connors can be reached at mconnors@gazettenet.com.Greta Jochem can be reached at gjochem@gazettenet.com.

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