COVID-19 field hospitals may be returning to Mass., Charlie Baker says

“The trends obviously are going in the wrong direction and show no signs of changing.”

BOSTON (AP) — An increase in the number of COVID-19 cases could force Massachusetts to once again open field hospitals to care for a possible overflow of patients as hospital intensive care units fill up, Gov. Charlie Baker warned Tuesday.

Hospitals are also prepared to make an additional 400 beds available for COVID-19 patients by converting acute care beds to ICU beds to deal with an expected rise in cases of the disease caused by the coronavirus during the fall and winter, Baker said at a press conference.

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


When and where field hospitals might be set up depends on space and need, Baker said. More details about field hospitals will be coming later this week, he said.

Massachusetts residents had done a good job controlling the virus after an initial spike in the spring, but are getting careless and allowing the virus to get a toehold again, leading to a second surge, he said.

“When it comes down to it, controlling this virus depends in many ways on the everyday actions of everybody,” Baker said. “COVID is merciless and will continue to grow and spread whenever it is given the opportunity.”


Statistics released by the state on Monday showed 588 individuals with confirmed cases of COVID-19 were hospitalized, with 143 in intensive care units.

The state has also submitted a vaccine distribution plan to the federal government once a vaccine is made available, Baker said.

Baker faulted what he described as a leadership vacuum in the federal government at a time when cases are surging across the nation.

“We are in a very critical moment with respect to this nation’s response to this virus and there isn’t guidance, direction or a consistent message coming from D.C.,” he said.


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