Massachusetts' first COVID-19 care center officially opened Monday and is ready to begin treating its first new patients recovering from the novel coronavirus.
The Beaumont Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center in Worcester was expected to receive two patients discharged from UMass Memorial Medical Center Monday, with other patients arriving during the following days from area hospitals.
"By coordinating this effort at a regional level, we can assure that patients who no longer need acute care in a hospital setting have a dedicated facility," Beaumont's parent company, Salmon Health said in a statement.
Relatives of the Beaumont nursing home residents still living in the facility are concerned for their loved ones' safety.
"The natural concern is you don't want someone who's not sick to be in a facility with people who have been sick are now being moved," said Peter Nelson, whose 89-year-old mother, Clara, remains on the dementia floor.
Nelson says he was told that just before his mother was to be moved from the facility, she tested positive for COVID-19, despite being asymptomatic.
"She's one of the remaining either nine or 10 people that were left on the second floor that did not get transferred to other facilities," said Nelson.
While Nelson waits for answers as to how long his mother will remain at Beaumont, he says his heart is not only with her, but with the amazing staff at Beaumont who are now being tasked with transitioning from taking care of elderly Alzheimer's patients to working inside a front-line COVID-19 care facility.
"Here's people who should be getting hazard pay, these are our heroes in this moment in time," Nelson said.
More on Coronavirus in New England
Gov. Charlie Baker has said the state's first COVID-19 care center at Beaumont will help bring 300 skilled nursing beds online for patients recovering from the novel coronavirus.