RI field hospitals closing Friday


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — After three months in operation, both of Rhode Island’s field hospitals are shutting down.

Friday is the last day of patient care at the Rhode Island Convention Center and the Cranston Field Hospital, according to Health Department spokesperson Joseph Wendelken.

The Cranston site was originally expected to shut down in two to three weeks, but Wendelken confirmed they discharged their last patients earlier than expected.

R.I. Health Department Director Nicole Alexander-Scott said hospitalizations are down 65% since last month.

The state has seen a steady decline in new coronavirus cases as well as the state ramps up its vaccination efforts.

“The decrease in Rhode Island has far surpassed what other states are seeing,” Alexander-Scott said.

The two facilities started accepting “low-acuity COVID-19 patients” in late November to help ease the burden on hospitals and other health care centers.

Health officials say since the field hospitals opened, they’ve treated a total of 516 patients.

Alexander-Scott says to keep field hospitals closed, they will continue to increase vaccine distribution even further.

“We are now administering more than 6,600 doses a day throughout the state which is a great pace and we are looking to increase even further,” she said. “Our work isn’t done. We have hundreds of thousands of more doses to administer.”

Data released by the Health Department on Friday shows more than 67,000 Rhode Islanders are fully vaccinated.

Once all of the patients are discharged, each field hospital will be cleaned and sanitized, officials said, but the medical equipment and supplies will remain there in case another surge in hospitalizations requires them to be reactivated.

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