By Associated Press - Friday, November 13, 2020

BOSTON (AP) - Massachusetts is planning to open a field hospital in Worcester to prepare for a possible overflow of COVID-19 patients as the disease continues to surge again in the state.

The facility will be located at the DCU Center in Worcester and will include 240 beds. It should be ready to take in patients as early as the first week of December. The partner for the site will be the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center.

The announcement comes as the state has begun recording more than 2,000 newly confirmed cases daily of the disease caused by the coronavirus.

On Thursday, the state reported that there have been more than 10,000 confirmed deaths from the disease in Massachusetts since the start of the pandemic.

During the initial spike of the virus in the spring, the state opened five field hospitals across Massachusetts, including one at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. The Worcester and Boston field hospitals treated patients. The remaining three field hospitals ended up not being needed to treat patients.



The state will likely re-open some of the other field hospitals if needed, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker said at a press conference Friday.

Baker said the number of new cases have been trending in the wrong direction since the end of the summer.

“The trajectory now is sustained and troubling and everybody needs to step up,” Baker said.

Private activities including indoor gatherings are largely driving the spike, according to Baker.

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VIRUS BY THE NUMBERS

The coronavirus continued its inexorable climb in Massachusetts on Friday with 23 new confirmed coronavirus deaths and more than 2,670 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19.

It’s the fourth day in a row that newly confirmed cases have topped 2,000.

The new deaths pushed the state’s confirmed COVID-19 death toll to 10,038 and its confirmed caseload to more than 177,600.

The true number of cases is likely higher because studies suggest some people can be infected and not feel sick.

There were nearly 690 people reported hospitalized Monday because of confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 153 in intensive care units.

The number of probable or confirmed COVID-19 deaths reported in long-term care facilities rose to 6,555.

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SMALL BUSINESS HELP

The city of Boston is offering more help to local small businesses struggling to stay viable amid the pandemic.

Mayor Marty Walsh on Friday announced three new relief funds totalling $6.3 million. One will provide up to $15,000 to small businesses that are struggling to pay their rent. Another will make $15,000 grants available to businesses owned by minorities, women or veterans. The third will offer grants to restaurants to enable them to retain or rehire employees.

Since the start of the pandemic the city has set aside more than $15 million in total to help businesses survive the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.

Massachusetts recorded 10,038 confirmed coronavirus deaths Friday nearly nine months after the state’s initial case was detected. Confirmed cases have topped 177,600 and the number of cities and towns designated as “high risk” nearly doubled over a two-week period last month.

Amid growing calls for action, Baker recently tightened restrictions but has resisted taking more drastic measures such as halting indoor dining.

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Follow AP’s coronavirus pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.

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