BEDFORD (CBS) - It was an impressive arrival at Hanscom Air Force Base as Osprey aircraft transported some 170 members of the Second Marine Expeditionary Brigade to support the state's fight against the coronavirus.
"It depends on what the pandemic does here, what are the needs and what the population is racked with," said General Stephen Neary.
There are now doctors, nurses and technicians heading to what's now being called the Boston Hope field hospital at the city's convention center. They come just as a surge in COVID-19 patients is anticipated over the next couple of weeks, and were brought in by the Massachusetts National Guard which is already providing support throughout the state.
"They can maintain medications, vitals, some patients are on oxygen as they work their way through the upper respiratory disease. That's what they'll be focusing on," said Major General Gary Keefe, the head of the Guard in Massachusetts.
It takes some pressure off the frontline hospital staff. There are 1,000 beds at the field hospital, 500 for patients who are on the upswing and 500 for the homeless community. It will help free up beds at area hospitals for more critical patients.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says they are ready to open the doors. "Staff are being trained over there to make sure there are enough PPE supplies, they're working on protocols and anything else before the first patient comes through the door," said Walsh.
It's the kind of response the Marines are prepared for. "It doesn't make a difference what the emergency or disaster is. Our processes and procedures are the same," said Major General Keefe.
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