Raimondo: RI field hospitals ready for potential surge in COVID-19 cases

Coronavirus

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Two of Rhode Island’s three field hospitals are fully operational and ready to take in COVID-19 patients, according to Gov. Gina Raimondo.

Between the Rhode Island Convention Center and the former Citizen’s Bank building in Cranston, Raimondo said more than 1,000 beds are now available for patients should there be a surge in cases.

Both facilities have oxygen available at each bed, as well as other necessities for treatment, according to Dr. Cathy Duquette, a chief nursing executive for the state’s largest hospital group, Lifespan, which is overseeing the Convention Center site.

Watch: Time lapse of Rhode Island Convention Center becoming a field hospital »

“Patients will receive the same level of care and service they can expect at the hospital,” Duquette said. “They will have access to the same clinical services needed such as an inpatient and retail pharmacy.”

Eyewitness News got a first-hand look at the field hospitals on Tuesday. The Rhode Island Convention Center’s triage center consists of four wards housing more than 600 beds, which is approximately the same capacity as Rhode Island Hospital. The Cranston field hospital has an additional 335 beds available for patients.

The state’s third field hospital, set up inside the old Lowe’s building in Quonset, is complete and available, however, the state will not staff nor utilize it unless the other two field hospitals are full. If needed, the Quonset field hospital would provide an additional 500 beds.

Target 12: RI lawmakers to review emergency spending for field hospitals, PPE »

While Raimondo said the facilities are ready, she hopes the state never has to use them.

“We don’t need these now and we may — praise god — we may never need them,” Raimondo said at her Tuesday briefing. “But if when we reopen school there’s a surge, or we go back to reopening the economy, or we see a seasonal change in the fall as some predict, and we do need them, I want you in Rhode Island to know they are there, they are staffed, they are top notch and we will take care of you.”

Recent models from the Rhode Island Department of Health predict that the state’s hospitals may have enough beds to treat all of the state’s COVID-19 patients, even at its peak.

But she also acknowledged that, while the state may not need these facilities now, they may be needed if there is a second surge of infections, potentially in the fall.

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