By Staff

SPRINGFIELD (CBS) – Gov. Charlie Baker said it is too early to tell if there has been a spike in COVID cases in Massachusetts due to the holiday season. But he said there does seem to have been an uptick in hospitalizations.

Health officials had warned people to avoid holiday gatherings. After Thanksgiving, Baker said the Massachusetts health care system took “a pretty significant hit.”

READ MORE: Nearly Half A Million Lose Power As Nor'easter Hits Massachusetts

“With respect to the rising cases and hospitalizations that came after that, it’s still a little early to draw broad conclusions about the post-Christmas and New Year’s impact,” Baker said at a news conference Tuesday in Springfield. “But we certainly believe, based on everything that we’ve heard from our conversations with our colleagues in the hospital world, that there has been a tick up in hospitalizations, after the beginning of that particular week, and we’re obviously going to pay a lot of attention to that data over the course of the next few days.”

Baker said at the beginning of November, the average age of a hospitalized patient in Massachusetts was close to 61 years old. Now, the average age is 73.

READ MORE: Plymouth Homeowners Scramble For Emergency Supplies After Damage From Nor'easter

“I’ve talked to people in the health care world who basically said that they watched that intergenerational transfer take place. Based on the people who were coming into their institution after Thanksgiving,” the governor said.

“What happened to the folks that were coming into their institutions after Thanksgiving and saw that inherent intergenerational transfer of COVID, which probably took place around the kitchen tables and dining room tables that so many of us frequent during those holiday seasons.”

Baker said this shows why it is so important to practice social distancing, proper hygiene, and wear masks.

MORE NEWS: 'The Wind Was Crazy': Almost All Of Scituate Without Power After Nor'easter

In addition, he said it’s critical to avoid informal gatherings “where people have a tendency to let down their guard.” Staff