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March 4, 2021

DCU Center field hospital to close

Photo | Grant Welker The DCU Center field hospital in Worcester opened on patients on Dec. 6.

UMass Memorial Health Care is planning to close the COVID field hospital at the DCU Center in mid-March as patient counts dwindle at the facility.

The field hospital had only six patients as of Thursday. Throughout the winter, it treated a total of 650 patients who had minor coronavirus cases, freeing up space at UMass Memorial hospitals and other acute-care facilities across the state.

UMass Memorial is planning to close the field hospital by the middle of March and decommission it in April, the hospital network said Thursday. The DCU Center's convention center space also opened as a field hospital last spring when hospitalization and case numbers were particularly high.

The decision to close the field hospital comes as hospitalization and case numbers have fallen significantly from their highs around January.

UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester had 39 coronavirus inpatient cases as of Thursday, including the six at the DCU Center. Saint Vincent Hospital had 10.

Hospitalizations statewide for coronavirus patients have dropped to 755 through Wednesday, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Hospitalizations were as high as 2,400 in early January. Those numbers reached 3,800 for a short period during the first major wave in cases last April.

Intensive-care patient counts are also down to 173 statewide through Wednesday, compared to more than 400 daily from late December through January.

"The UMass Memorial DCU Center Field Hospital has had a definite positive impact on COVID patient care in the region," UMass Memorial said in a statement Thursday.

"This includes caring for the nearly 650 patients that were treated here over the past three months and serving as a relief valve for hospitals in the region that would have been challenged to create more surge space without its existence. However since we are witnessing a drop in the daily census and decreased COVID hospitalizations across the state, we plan to cease clinical operations by mid-March with planned decommission in mid-April if trends continue.”

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