LOWELL (CBS) – A second field hospital is scheduled to open in Massachusetts on Monday as a result of a recent surge in COVID-19 cases in the state. The Alternative Care Site at the UMass Lowell Recreation Center will open Monday starting with 14 beds.
It is the second time the site has been used as a field hospital.
“We’re really looking forward to leveraging this sight as a regional resource for COVID surge,” Executive Vice President and CEO for Lowell General Hospital and Circle Health Amy Hoey said.
Working in conjunction with MEMA Umass Lowell and Lowell General Hospital final preparations were put in place on Sunday.
“Students won’t be using the site obviously. It will be for the use of positive COVID patients. But we hope to give it back to them as soon as we possibly can so they can get back to campus life,” Vice President Hospitality and Support Services Lowell General Hospital, Dudley Abbe said.
The field hospital can hold 77 beds; they are expecting to have as many as 28 patients by the end of the week. It is exclusively for COVID 19 patients who are on the slow road to recovery and the expected stay for about three to five days.
“It has the same capabilities as an inpatient hospital unit,” Hoey said.
One of the biggest challenges has been securing nurses to care for the patients. “Staffing is always a challenge but we are very excited that we have been able to have outstanding nurses so we will be ready to care for patients tomorrow,” Hoey said.
All of the nurses and staff assigned to the field hospital have already received their first COVID 19 vaccination shots.
A field hospital set up at the DCU Center in Worcester is beginning to fill up. Officials at UMass Memorial Hospital said 56 of 76 available beds are filled. The facility reopened several weeks ago and has already seen more patients than it did in the spring.
Hospital officials have been slowly expanding capacity as staffing allows. The DCU Center has a maximum capacity of 215 patients.