There will be another field hospital open in Massachusetts starting Monday to help deal with the coronavirus surge and increasing number of hospitalizations across the state.
The new field hospital inside the recreation center on the campus of UMass Lowell is ready to go, and the first patients are set to arrive Monday morning to lessen the burden inside Lowell General Hospital and other nearby medical facilities treating COVID patients.
The field hospital will open up a 14-bed pod at first but will likely have up to 28 patients inside by the end of the week.
It has capacity for up to 77 patients, if there’s enough staffing.
“Staffing has been a significant challenge in terms of activating this location,” said Amy Hoey, Chief Operating Officer for Lowell General Hospital and the incident commander for the field hospital.
Nurses from around the country have been recruited.
Coronavirus Coverage in Mass.
The patients at the site must be sick enough to be hospitalized, but stable and finishing their treatment for COVID-19 before discharge.
“This is going to be an exclusively COVID positive place,” said Hoey. “So for lower acuity or the least ill of the hospitalized COVID positive patients. They will be cared for here.”
Health officials reported 3,110 new confirmed cases of the virus on Sunday, as well as 105 more deaths. The daily report from the state's department of public health showed 2,291 COVID patients are currently hospitalized across the commonwealth. Of that number, 416 were listed as being in intensive care units and 258 are intubated, according to the DPH.
The fear, however, is that the worst is still to come in the state. Hospital officials have been bracing for a post-holiday surge that they say could happen in the second or third week of January.