WORCESTER, Mass. - There are currently 460 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Central Massachusetts, a number 20% higher than at any point during the first two coronavirus surges. 

UMass Memorial Health president and CEO Dr. Eric Dickson says 60% of the hospitalized patients are unvaccinated. He said it's putting a tremendous strain on staff and making it harder to find space for patients. 

UMass Memorial has had to postpone elective surgeries to make room for emergency cases, but Dr. Dickson says they've never turned an emergency patient away. 

"We never refuse patients. We always have to find a space to take care of them. Somehow, someway, we'll be able to. We open up surge spaces across the system in different hospitals, hospitals work together and figure out who needs the help the most,” Dr. Dickson said during an interview on Wednesday. “We'll always be able to take care of people."

Dr. Dickson anticipates the peak of the omicron variant will be within the next week or two. 

More National Guard members are expected to be deployed soon to help take some of the pressure off hospital staff.