Field hospital, with few patients, could close within weeks

In a photo provided December 3, 2020 by the office of the Massachusetts governor, a portion of the field hospital at the DCU Center in Worcester is seen.

BOSTON (AP) — The field hospital set up at the DCU Center in Worcester could close within the next couple of weeks, but would remain ready to reopen again should it be needed, Worcester’s city manager says.

The 220-bed field hospital at the convention center and sports arena has averaged fewer than 10 patients a week since mid-February, City Manager Edward Augustus Jr. said Thursday, when it had just eight patients.

“The initial conversations with the state are that we’d probably keep it as a ‘warm site,’” Augustus said. “So set up, just not staffed and not have patients there for about another month or so after that.”

With coronavirus patient numbers declining at the city’s two hospitals — Saint Vincent and UMass Memorial — the field hospital isnt needed, he said.

The DCU Center was used as a field hospital from April through June, then reopened in December as the state feared a surge COVID-19 cases would overwhelm hospitals.

A field hospital was also set up in Lowell.