RI field hospitals ready for patients, Gov. hopes they won’t be needed

Leaders of Rhode Island's hospital giants gave an inside look at two of the state's field hospitals Tuesday.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Leaders of Rhode Island’s hospital giants gave an inside look at two of the state’s field hospitals Tuesday.

Lifespan and Care New England have been working collaboratively to get what they are calling “alternative hospitals” up and running ahead of a potential surge of COVID-19 patients.

Both the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence and the former Citizen’s Bank building in Cranston are fully functional and ready for patients. A third field hospital at the former Lowe’s building in Quonset is being constructed to be ready, but Care New England said they will not be stocking it with supplies or staffing it until the state is in need of the additional 500 beds.

“We hope these three facilities are the best things we’ve done together that we never need to use,” said Lifespan CEO Dr. Timothy Babineau.

Dr. Babineua, joined by Dr. James Fanale, CEO of Care New England, addressed reporters along with other state and hospital leaders, saying the healthcare system currently can handle the COVID-19 patients.

Both Lifespan and Care New England are using a fraction of their ICU beds and ventilators. But, they said, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

“We hope we never have to use these beds. That doesn’t mean they weren’t needed,” said Dr. Fanale.

The Convention Center field hospital has the capacity to treat up to 600 COVID-19 positive patients. Only patients who test positive and are low-acuity will be allowed to go there. Those in need of a ventilator or those who are rapidly declining will instead be treated at a hospital.

The field hospital at the Convention Center is divided into four wards, and throughways are labeled with familiar street names and highways to keep staff organized.

The site is being operated under Rhode Island Hospital’s license.

“It’s truly transformational the construction that has gone on. It can actually function as a real hospital,” added Dr. Fanale.”

The field hospital in Cranston has just over 300 beds. Like the Convention Center, it’s split into wards, and throughways are labeled after Ocean State beaches.

Both sites have the ability to give patients oxygen directly into their rooms through pipes.

When a patient is discharged, both Cranston and Providence field hospitals will have pharmacies stocked with medication for patients to fill their prescriptions before they go home.

Both field hospitals also have hot and cold zones. In the hot zone, medical staff is required to wear full PPE and patients must be masked. In the cold zones, like cafeterias and the registration booth, staff are not required to be in full PPE.

“Your healthcare system is strong, they are prepared, the state is prepared, and we are looking to take care of all of our patients,” said Dr. Fanale.

The Cranston field hospital is ready to accept patients as soon as Wednesday afternoon and will be operating under Kent Hospital’s license.

The Convention Center is awaiting their oxygen to be installed this weekend and can take patients as soon as Monday.

© WLNE-TV 2020

Categories: Coronavirus, News