Baker Prepares to Reinstate Field Hospitals as Coronavirus Cases Surge

Hospitals are prepared to make an additional 400 beds available for COVID-19 patients by converting acute care beds to ICU beds

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With coronavirus cases on the rise, Gov. Charlie Baker is preparing to reopen field hospitals should the state's health care system reach its capacity in what officials are calling second COVID-19 surge.

The Boston Convention and Exhibition Center was one of several field hospitals set up throughout the state at the start of the pandemic for a possible overflow of patients. The Baker administration is working on plans to reinstate those facilities, he announced at a Tuesday news conference, but it’s not clear where just yet.

Hospitals are also prepared to make an additional 400 beds available for COVID-19 patients by converting acute care beds to ICU beds.

Massachusetts reported 2,047 new confirmed coronavirus cases Tuesday and an additional 21 deaths, as the second surge of COVID-19 continues.

The number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 increased to 618 Tuesday, up 30 from the day before. Of that number, 115 were listed as being in intensive care units and 68 intubated, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

There have now been 9,936 confirmed deaths and 167,929 cases, according to DPH. Another 227 deaths are considered probably linked to COVID-19.

Since Labor Day, there’s been a 300% increase in COVID-19 cases, with hospitalizations rising 200%, according to Baker.

"The trends obviously are going in the wrong direction and show no signs of changing," he said.

While Baker said the state is better prepared to handle a potential surge this time around, he stressed that everyone still has to do their part by following health guidelines, including wearing a mask.

"We hope we don’t need to use many of those additional resources, but preparing health care systems now will help keep schools open and economy and health care system open as well," Baker said.

When and where field hospitals might be set up depends on space and need, Baker said. His administration will provide details about field hospitals later this week.

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