The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth announced the hosting of a COVID-19 surge hospital in partnership with Southcoast Health on Tuesday, April 14. A message from Chancellor Johnson was posted on the university’s website regarding the campus news.

“Across the country, Governors have called upon universities to provide accommodation for additional hospital beds should the surge in COVID-19 cases overwhelm capacity in regional hospitals. As one would expect of institutions committed to society’s greater good, universities have strongly responded to this unprecedented global healthcare emergency. I write to you today to announce that UMass Dartmouth, in partnership with Southcoast Health, is hosting a COVID-19 surge hospital in the Tripp Athletic Center. This action is being led by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) under the direction of Governor Baker in the effort to prepare our Commonwealth for any scenario as the coronavirus continues to spread.”

According to Chancellor Johnson, the Tripp Athletic Center will serve as an overflow support system of area hospitals in the event that they reach their maximum capacity due to the novel coronavirus. “As of right now, our region’s hospitals are holding strong,” says Johnson. “The surge hospital on our campus will only be used should a dramatic spike in positive cases occur.” Construction on 140 beds and infrastructure began last week and the surge hospital is near completion as of Tuesday, April 22.

The university is taking all necessary precautions with the health and wellbeing of the campus community in mind. Chancellor Johnson is proud to host the site, stating “UMass Dartmouth prides itself on our connection to our community. Now that our community needs us in dire times, we will step up.”

Fall River Mayor Paul Coogan visited the surge hospital on Tuesday, April 21. On his Facebook page, he posted photos of the beds, bathrooms, showers, washer, and dryers that were brought into the facility by MEMA. Coogan stated, “I hope we don't need it, but we're prepared.” Coogan's photos are featured below, along with a few others.

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