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Lowell General Hospital, state and local officials, agree to close alternative care site at UMass Lowell

Lowell General Hospital leadership, in close coordination with local and state officials, has determined that the additional space created at the alternative care site at UMass Lowell’s Campus Recreation Center will no longer be required at this time. The space will be returned to the university in the coming days.

As part of the hospital’s scenario planning for its pandemic response, the alternative care space was created in mid-April with the aid of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. It served as a potential option to transfer recovering patients who required a lower level of care before returning to a home setting, therefore opening up space for more critical patients inside the hospital.

In the past two weeks, the number of inpatients at Lowell General being treated for symptoms of COVID-19 has levelled off, but the hospital continues to see volumes well beyond its normal critical care capacity. While models offer some hope that volume may decline in the coming weeks, Lowell General Chief Executive Officer Jody White urges community members to remain vigilant against the spread of the virus.

“We are encouraged that our hospital and region have not experienced the worst-case scenario that would have required use of the alternative care space, but the pandemic in the Merrimack Valley is far from over,” White says. “We ask that residents continue to support our care teams by social distancing, wearing face coverings, and performing diligent hand hygiene so we can all reach the other side of this crisis.”

White praised the partnership between the hospital’s clinical and emergency preparedness staffs, UMass Lowell, the Governor’s office, the City of Lowell and Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency for transforming the campus site in a matter of days to protect the community.

“These partnerships make this a safer community for all of us,” he said.

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