Worcester officials: DCU Center could house patients should hospitals overflow

Worcester has 13 coronavirus cases

WORCESTER, Mass. — Worcester city officials will be scouting out the DCU Center as a possible place to house patients, should hospitals become overloaded.

According to Worcester’s Telegram & Gazette, officials say there might be a need for a surge center by mid-April. The DCU Center normally hosts sporting and entertainment events, but since those have been cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak, the convention center could become an overflow place for patients.

According to city officials, 13 people in the city have coronavirus, along with one positive case in Grafton and another in Shrewsbury. Those numbers are expected to rise as more people are getting tested.

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There are 100 employees from UMass Memorial Medical Center who are being quarantined because of possible contact. Nineteen Worcester police officers and 18 Worcester firefighters have been tested and are awaiting their results.

City officials met with the CEO’s of UMass and St. Vincent Hospitals to talk about other locations that could serve as a surge center, and the DCU Center is one that they’ll be touring today.

“This is an abundance of caution,” said Worcester city manager Edward Augustus. “[Hospitals] have taken down all of their elective surgeries and procedures so there is plenty of capacity at the hospitals, but this is trying to be ahead of the curve should this be necessary.”

The DCU Center might also be a place where Worcester’s homeless could stay if any test positive for the virus and can’t stay at a shelter.

Worcester recieved a $100,000 grant from Massachusetts and some of that money will go toward developing a surge center.