WORCESTER (CBS) – For the second time this year, Worcester will be opening a field hospital at the DCU Center Sunday, but it will be much different than the original version.
The first facility was open for about six weeks last spring and treated more than 150 patients with coronavirus.
This time, it will have 240 beds and once again it will be operated by UMass Memorial Medical Center, which is basically full with COVID patients.
UMass Memorial Health Care President Dr. Eric Dickson said the last surge was heavily focused on intensive care units. But now, unlike the spring, there are new therapies to treat the virus and high-flow oxygen which keeps people from getting intubated.
“The other thing that we realized and learned from the first time is if you’re in any hospital with COVID, it’s a lonely, lonely experience. You’re in a room. You don’t have anybody else in there with you. Your family can’t come to visit you. And everybody that comes in is in a mask, a face shield, and in a plastic suit and you don’t know if you’re going to get better or worse,” Dr. Dickson said at a news conference Thursday.
“We took that into account and built it so patients can get up, walk around, be together in an area that’s safe, be on a recumbent bicycle and start to exercise, take a shower. There are a lot of amenities here that we can’t offer at our hospitals.”
Hospitals across the state are feeling the strain as COVID-19 patients fill beds, some cutting back on non-essential procedures.
“What we’ve had to do with the increased numbers is peel back a little bit on our elective procedures,” said George Kondylis, VP of Medical Affairs at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. “Just to ensure that our resources and especially space, to be able to be here and provide that emergency and acute need the community relies on us for.”