On April 9, the state provided an update on the Commonwealth’s hospital capacity and efforts to add more beds to the system to meet the expected surge in COVID-19 cases, identifying the need for 14,500 treatment beds and expanding to that number through the use of field hospitals.
Hospital Surge Capacity: The Administration’s COVID-19 Response Command Center released its initial projections on the surge two weeks ago. Since then, the Command Center has remained in regular contact with the Commonwealth’s hospitals on a daily basis as they work to increase acute and ICU bed capacity. As of today, the Commonwealth has worked to make a total of approximately 14,500 treatment beds available ahead of the surge:
•11,000 beds could be available for ICU and acute care in the existing hospital system. This represents a breakdown of roughly 9,400 acute care beds and 1,500 ICU beds.
•Through hospital surge planning and field hospitals, the Commonwealth is bringing approximately 3,500 new beds online for ICU and acute care. This breaks down to approximately 2,500 new hospital beds coming online from hospital surge planning, and 1,000 beds coming online though field hospitals.
The Command Center continues to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on different regions and tracking how many hospital beds are available across the Commonwealth. As of April 9, hospitals had reported that 8,100 beds are occupied statewide, or approximately 55 percent (this figure includes hospitalizations for non COVID-19 patients). This meant that 6,400 beds were currently available for both ICU and acute care, or roughly 45%.
Field Hospitals: In the coming days, hundreds of new beds will come online that will help the Commonwealth significantly ramp up care capacity ahead of the surge to support existing hospitals. The Command Center is targeting five alternate care sites. These field hospitals will serve as an alternative site for hospitals to treat patients, particularly individuals who need acute care. They are being built all around the state to ensure all residents have access to this emergency care. The field hospital at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center opened late last week. Field hospitals at the DCU Center in Worcester and Newton Pavilion in Boston started accepting patients April 8. Over the coming week, additional facilities will open up in Cape Cod, Springfield, and Lowell. All in all, these facilities will provide approximately 1,000 additional beds for patients who do not require ICU-level care.