BOSTON — In an effort to relieve pressure on the state’s health care system and provide additional medical capacity, the Baker-Polito Administration today announced that a field medical station with more than 200 beds is scheduled to be set up at the DCU Center in Worcester starting Wednesday.
In anticipation of a surge in COVID-19 cases, the Commonwealth, through the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, requested and received approval for the temporary field medical station, which will be used to treat lower acuity care needs.
“The DCU facility will be the first of three temporary field medical stations the Commonwealth is working to set up after requesting and receiving approval from the federal Strategic National Stockpile,” said Secretary Marylou Sudders who is leading the Massachusetts COVID-19 Response Command Center. “The Commonwealth is actively identifying other sites and partners for the two other facilities.”
The field station, which can be configured to a maximum of 250-beds, is scheduled to arrive for set-up in Worcester on April 1, via three tractor trailers. The DCU Center temporary field medical center will be used to treat lower acuity patients who still need monitoring.
“It’s up to all of us to do our part to help minimize the effects of COVID-19 throughout the Commonwealth. Worcester is uniquely positioned to have a facility in the DCU Center and the expertise of UMass to support a field medical station in the center of the state. The Baker Polito Administration has continually offered their support to many efforts underway in Worcester and we now stand at the ready to make all resources available in this time of crisis,” said Worcester City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr.
UMass Memorial Medical Center will manage the facility, which will be staffed by a partnership including the City of Worcester, UMass Memorial, and others. UMass Memorial will lead the day-to-day running of the facility with support by state and local partners upon set-up.
“The DCU Center already occupies a position of prominence here and its value to the region is about to increase exponentially,” said Eric Dickson, MD, president and CEO of UMass Memorial Health Care. “Our 14,000 caregivers are proud to join forces with Mayor Joseph Petty and the City of Worcester on this state-coordinated effort to expand the capacity of Central Massachusetts’ health care organizations to care for critically ill patients in our area.”
Medical Stations, like the one being deployed to Worcester, are required to set up in facilities of at least 40,000 square feet to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and include beds, supplies, and a cache of medicine for basic care.
“Logistics for this field medical station will be coordinated between the City, UMass Memorial Health Care, and state and local agencies,” said MEMA Director Samantha Phillips. “MEMA continues to support the logistical needs of the Commonwealth’s coordinated response to COVID-19 and the COVID Command Center.”