New England's largest Teamster's union is transforming the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center this weekend into a field hospital to serve as overflow for city hospitals during the coronavirus crisis.
Teamsters Local 25 members in the Trade Show Division, who are normally setting up various trade shows at the convention center, are now creating a complete medical center and installing critically-needed backup beds for those affected by COVID-19.
Local 25 teamsters from Waltham Lumber are also part of the initiative and have been delivering building materials to the center this week in support of the massive effort.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said Thursday that the latest models show that the coronavirus surge will occur in mid-April and the number of confirmed cases in the state could be as high as 172,000. Hospitalizations are expected to peak between April 10 and 20, he said.
Following the lead of the DCU Center in Worcester, the BCEC is being turned into a 1,000 bed field hospital to help relieve the pressure Boston hospitals could face during the expected surge.
Mayor Marty Walsh said Thursday that part of the convention center is being used to build 500 beds for homeless people with coronavirus who don't require hospitalization.
Another 500 beds will serve as overflow for city hospitals, which Walsh said isn't required at the moment but may be necessary down the line.
“We’re hoping we don’t need it,” Walsh said. “We’re building it, and I’m hoping it stays empty. These are just for emergency purposes.”