By Staff

BOSTON (CBS) – Hospitals will curtail inpatient elective procedures that can be safely postponed starting Friday, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Monday. He said the state’s hospital system is now “struggling” with the increase of hospitalizations since the “rapid increase of new positive cases in the wake of Thanksgiving.”

The targeted procedures impact the inpatient staffing and beds, outpatient procedures have not been impacted at this time.

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“We can’t afford to continue to strain the hospital system at this rate. The increase is also compounded by staffing shortages at a number of hospitals that have been recently reported to the state,” Baker said.

“Since Thanksgiving, we have seen a significant uptick in case counts and hospital admissions. As of the weekend, confirmed hospitalizations have increased 44 percent from 986 admissions to 1416. Hospitals are feeling the strain on both ends: increased call-outs by hospital staff due to COVID exposure and infections, which has led to a decrease in the number of staff beds hospitals have available,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders.

UMass Memorial Health Care CEO Dr. Eric Dickson expects hospital admissions to increase in the coming weeks. “Put off your social encounters so that people don’t have to put off their surgeries,” Dickson said.

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He said it’s a very concerning time with no end in sight. “If everyone were to follow the rules strictly you would start to see a reduction in hospitalizations,” Dickson said.

According to the governor, the positive test rate stopped growing in early November for about 10 days but they “took off like a rocket” about five to seven days after Thanksgiving.

He called Thanksgiving “the ultimate informal gathering” that turned into “exactly the kind of event that people said it would be. I urge everybody to take the lesson from that.”

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Massachusetts reported 4,747 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 48 more deaths on Sunday. There were 89,439 total new tests reported. Staff