Boston opening new 1,000-bed field hospital at BCEC

Boston's first field hospital opens Friday at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center to support local hospitals as they manage a surge in COVID-19 patients.

Boston Hope is a 1,000-bed medical center for those recovering from COVID-19.

Five hundred of the BCEC beds are designated for the city’s homeless population, and the other 500 are designated for noncritical patients.

The Boston Hope Medical Center is a four-way collaboration between the state, the city, Partners HealthCare and Boston Health Care for the Homeless.

Kevin Whitner, a patient care leader at Newton-Wellesley Hospital said they have already seen a surge of patients during the last two weeks, which is ahead of state predictions.

“We opened up our second ICU. We converted a 24-bed surgical unit to a second ICU, and, in fact, what we’re seeing is about 90% of those patients require mechanical ventilation,” Whitner said. “They need to be on ventilators. That’s been our experience so far.”

Whitner said, overall, 80% of the cases have mild to moderate symptoms.

“Everyone is really here for the patients and especially when they see the positive outcomes -- when we’re able to take a patient off a ventilator and they’re smiling waving and thanking the team for the excellent care they’ve provided,” Whitner said.

The state's first field hospital at the DCU Center in Worcester opened Thursday.

The city of Boston has seen 2,812 cases of COVID-19, and has recorded 34 COVID-19-related deaths, Mayor Marty Walsh said Thursday. Walsh said 325 people have recovered.