Watch CBS News

Coronavirus Hits Certain Racial, Ethnic Groups Harder, Boston Medical Center CEO Says

BOSTON (CBS) -- Boston Medical Center predicted that as the number of coronavirus cases in Massachusetts rose, their patients would be hit the hardest, the center's CEO said Friday.

"Many of our patients have to continue to work. They are essential workers, cleaning buildings, preparing foods, stocking shelves, loading trucks; they don't have the option of staying home. Many have preexisting health conditions that put them at further risk. A large portion of our patients live in multigenerational housing and some are homeless," said CEO Kate Walsh.

According to Walsh, BMC began preparing for the surge as soon as they could. The hospital has worked to increase overall capacity and double ICU capacity. It also canceled elective surgeries and moved pediatric inpatients to Boston Children's Hospital.

"As expected, BMC's volume began to surge earlier than other hospitals, leading us, last Sunday, to transfer some of our more stable ICU patients to other hospitals so we would have space to admit new patients, Thankfully, that was a one-day phenomenon but it strengthened my resolve and that of my colleagues who run hospitals to put even more focus on coordination," Walsh said.

"This virus is hitting certain racial and ethnic groups harder. At our hospital, 80% of our COVID-19 patients are Black or Hispanic, compared to about 58% normally. That's why the kind of support we're getting from Governor Baker and Mayor Walsh and their teams is really critical," she continued.

In an effort to help flatten the curve, material encouraging social distancing has been created in 10 languages.

BMC is also working to help the homeless population, Walsh said, by re-opening the East Newton Pavilion to accommodate homeless patients. The first 20 guests arrived Thursday night.

"I truly believe that Massachusetts, with the leadership of the Baker administration, and Boston, with the leadership of Mayor Walsh, combined with the expertise and empathy of our incredible health care teams, and strict social distancing practice by everyone, I'm hopeful that we can beat the odds on this."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.