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Baker tours new field hospital on Cape Cod, announces locations for 2 more makeshift facilities as coronavirus cases climb

BOURNE, MASS. (WHDH) - Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday toured a new field hospital on Cape Cod before announcing plans to open two more makeshift healthcare facilities in the Merrimack Valley and on the South Coast as the state braces for a peak in coronavirus cases.

The 94-bed facility at Joint Base Cape Cod in Bourne was built over the course of six days, Baker announced during a news conference. It has the capacity to take up to 125 COVID-19 patients and is slated to open by Monday.

“Putting this field hospital together at Joint Base Cape Cod is a great step for us in increasing our capacity in this part of the Commonwealth,” Baker said.

Mike Louf, CEO of Cape Cod Healthcare, said the facility will be equipped to take care of patients with mild COVID-19 symptoms.

Baker said the facility, which will be managed and staffed by Cape Cod Healthcare, Latest East Boston News is similar to field hospitals that have opened at the DCU Center in Worcester and at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

“We certainly hope we don’t need to use these beds, but we wanted to plan ahead in case we need to,” Baker said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 957 coronavirus-related deaths across the state and 28,163 confirmed cases of the disease.

Two more field hospitals will soon be opening at UMass Lowell and UMass Dartmouth, bringing the total number in the Bay State to five, according to Baker.

Baker praised the National Guard with helping to get the field hospitals online, saying that they’ve been a “crucial player” in the COVID-19 response by carrying out tasks like setting up screening tents and conducting testing at longterm healthcare facilities.

Starting Tuesday afternoon, Baker said state health officials will begin posting a daily dashboard of how many hospital beds and ICU beds are available at medical facilities.

Baker also spoke about how the state has become the “third or fourth-largest” coronavirus tester in America. A total of 122,000 tests have not been administered at 28 different sites.

He noted that the sate is getting “more nimble” and creative with testing and that the state’s “contact tracing” system is vital to slowing down the spread of COVID-19.

Baker made it a point to note that 3.3 million pieces of personal protective equipment have been distributed,Press Release Distribution Service including 2 million gloves and 365,000 of “Air Kraft” masks.

“We continue to chase down PPE wherever we can,” Baker said.

A daily report on PPE distribution will also be posted each day on the state’s website.

When asked about potentially reopening the state’s economy, Baker stated, “We have a lot of work to do before we would put a plan in motion.”

Baker explained that “testing, tracing, isolation, and quarantine” will play a “big role” in any attempt at reopening the state.

On Monday, Baker warned that the upcoming days “will be difficult” as the number of coronavirus cases in the state continues to climb at an alarming rate.

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