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CORONAVIRUS

R.I. to close its two field hospitals due to declining COVID-19 case numbers

Equipment and supplies will remain at the sites in case of a future surge in hospitalizations

COVID-19 patient Kathleen Feeney, 79, right, works with physical therapist Chris Collard at a field hospital operated by Care New England set up in a former bank call center to handle a surge of COVID-19 patients in Cranston, R.I.
COVID-19 patient Kathleen Feeney, 79, right, works with physical therapist Chris Collard at a field hospital operated by Care New England set up in a former bank call center to handle a surge of COVID-19 patients in Cranston, R.I.David Goldman/Associated Press

PROVIDENCE — As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to decline in Rhode Island, the state plans to suspend patient care at its two existing field hospitals, according to an announcement by the health department.

The two alternative field sites, which are managed by Lifespan Corp. and Care New England Health System, opened late last year to absorb low-acuity COVID-19 patients should the state’s existing hospital infrastructure be overwhelmed.

There are still patients in each field hospital, but the site at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, operated by Lifespan, will close on Friday. The Cranston field hospital, located on Sockanosset Cross Road and managed by Care New England, will likely have its last day of patient care in the “next two to three weeks,” according to Joseph Wendelken, the spokesman for the state’s health department.

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After all of the patients are discharged, each facility will be cleaned and sanitized. The equipment and supplies will remain at each site in case another surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations should require them to reactivate in the future.

Since the field hospitals opened for patient care, they have treated 633 patients — 516 patients at the Convention Center site and 208 patients at the site in Cranston.


Alexa Gagosz can be reached at alexa.gagosz@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @alexagagosz.