WORCESTER (CBS) – On Wednesday, tractor-trailers arrived with gear and equipment as Worcester’s DCU Center began its transformation into a 250-bed field hospital to treat coronavirus patients.
“Worcester is ready for this moment,” Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito said. “They’re made for this moment.”
Governor Charlie Baker toured the facility – one of three coronavirus field hospitals in the state – and he said there may be even more.
“We’re also looking at other sites around the Commonwealth,” Baker said.
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The federal government approved the facility in the former Worcester Centrum, which will be run by UMass Memorial Health Care in partnership with local and state governments.
“This will primarily be used for low-acuity patients that just need a little bit of oxygen, IV therapy,” said Dr. Eric Dickson of UMass Memorial Health Care.
The first trucks rolled in midday Wednesday, and, with the help of the National Guard, crews unpacked everything that will convert the arena and convention center into a lifesaver with 250 beds.
“I think things are going amazingly quickly. We got formal approval less than 48 hours ago,” said Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus. “We should be physically set up within three or four days and then able to accept patients in just over a week.
And that will help with the load at nearby UMass Memorial Hospital.
“We know next week and the week after, there’s gonna be many more patients,: Augustus said.
Right now, there’s a plea for medical students and health care workers to pitch in at the field hospital.
“They will need docs, and residents, and registered nurses, and personal care associates to help take care of this population of people. So we’re recruiting volunteers to step up and devote their time to help with this effort,” Polito said.
Medical professionals who wish to volunteer at the DCU field hospital can sign up at joinumassmemorial.com.