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COVID-19 Hospital Capacity and Surge Response

Learn about the COVID-19 Response Command Center's work to monitor hospital capacity and respond to surge needs

Earlier this spring, the Baker-Polito Administration's COVID-19 Response Command Center worked with medical experts and the Commonwealth's hospitals to model hospital needs for an expected surge in COVID-19 cases. The Command Center released initial surge modeling details on April 2. To respond to an expected gap in ICU and acute beds, the Command Center worked with several hospitals across the Commonwealth to stand up alternate medical sites (or "Field Medical Stations") to support the health care system during the pandemic. These sites are now closing or putting operations on hold given the capacity hospitals currently have to manage the demand on their resources associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Table of Contents

Hospital capacity

Throughout the COVID public health emergency, all Massachusetts hospitals have been and will continue to provide emergency care for all patients.

Effective May 18, acute care hospitals that attest to meeting specific capacity and safety standards, such as having adequate PPE and certain workforce and patient protections, may resume a limited set of non-emergency services in-person. Allowable in-person procedures and services are limited to those that, based on the provider’s clinical judgment, constitute:

  1. High-priority preventative services, including pediatric care, immunizations, and chronic disease care for high-risk patients; and
  2. Urgent procedures that cannot be delivered remotely and would lead to high risk or significant worsening of the patient’s condition if deferred, based on the provider’s clinical judgment.

Here is the current list of facilities attesting they have met the standards (individual attestation forms can be found on the hospitals’ websites):

A chart of hospital bed occupancy and availability as reported by Massachusetts hospitals is available in the Dashboard on COVID-19 Response Reporting

Alternate Medical Sites

Temporary alternate medical sites (or “Field Medical Stations”) opened at Worcester’s DCU Center, the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, the Joint Base in Cape Cod, UMass Dartmouth, and UMass Lowell. These alternate medical sites provided additional medical care capacity for hospitals in Massachusetts. 

Command Center Surge Modeling