SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Many epidemiologists predict the peak of COVID-19 will hit the U.S. sometime in mid-April.
But local officials believe the top of the curve in Massachusetts could still be a month away.
This as the number of cases in the Commonwealth of Mass. exceeds 13,000.
The CEO of Baystate Health said that although western Massachusetts's peak could be later than the national models predict, it will be better for the healthcare system.
According to health officials...flattening the curve not only means lowering the number of cases overall, but pushing off when the peak hits.
CEO of Baystate Health, Mark Keroack said western Massachusetts’ peak may not be in April as national models suggest.
"The peak might be a little bit later sometime in May even into early June," Keroack said.
He also said looking at the time-frame for transmission shows the virus is spreading more slowly locally.
"When I look at how long has it taken us to get from 100 to 200 cases, a doubling in other words...it’s closer to the sort of seven days that they saw in some of the countries that were more effective in their public health efforts, than they say, three or four days that they saw in northern Italy," Keroack explained.
Western Mass News looking at the numbers from the last week...shows the number of positive cases has increased by more than 7,000 in a week.
The number of hospitalizations increased by more than 600 at that same time and deaths from the virus increased by more than 100.
Although it could mean working from home more and prolonged separation from family and friends...
Keroack said the possibility of a delayed curve would help further prevent overtaxing the healthcare system.
"We want the long slow burn instead of the big explosion," Keroack said.
No matter the case, Springfield health officials, including Helen Caulton-Harris said people should still expect to see the numbers rise.
"That’s why we stress all of those prevention strategies that were asking everybody to adhere to," Caulton-Harris said.
Caulton-Harris did say that among the city’s 221 cases...every Springfield area code is represented.