Mayor Walsh said today that the 1,000-bed field hospital set up in the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center has been named the Boston Hope Medical Center and could open to patients tomorrow.
He said the city is looking for medical volunteers to help staff it, added, "I don't think I have confidence that's enough." He said Boston today reported 2,812 confirmed cases, up 310 from yesterday - the largest single-day jump - with 34 total deaths, and with an expected surge of new cases still expected.
At a press conference outside City Hall, Walsh said that more than a dozen Boston-area lenders have signed an agreement to give Boston homeowners a three-month reprieve on mortgage payments. The lenders agreed they would not charge late fees, would not report late payments to credit bureaus and would not require homeowners to make up the deferrals all at once.
Walsh continued that the city is starting to release Covid-19 numbers broken down by race and ethnicity. Although the city currently only has such information on roughly 60% of current cases, "We do see disparities and it does concern me," he said. He said Mass. General is reporting a disproportionate number of Latino patients, and that city data shows higher rates in Dorchester, Mattapan and Hyde Park.
He said he is creating a task force to figure out what to do about this. But even before the task force makes any recommendations, he said the city is trying to boost communications with particularly affected communities to get them to better distance themselves outside and take other steps.
He said a particular problem emerging in East Boston is household clusters - one person gets sick, then spreads the virus to other people in his or her household.
Walsh urged people to say home on Easter and not have big family dinners. This will be the first Easter he won't share with his mother. "I'm not going to see her because I love her, "he said. Addressing Bostonians, he added, "Listen to me: God certainly understands."
Walsh said that a number of institutions are now providing housing for medical workers and first responders:
Northeastern has set aside 135 rooms in its West Village dormitorty for first reponsders who don't want to risk infecting family members who are at particular risk should they contract the virus.
Boston University is providing 75 rooms to Pine Street Inn's shelter staff.
The Hotel Boston in Brighton is providing 74 rooms to Covid-19-positive first responders so that they don't have to risk their family's health.
Northeastern University is providing one of its dormitories with single-occupancy rooms to Boston's first responders who live with someone who might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, such as older adults and people who have serious underlying medical conditions. Northeastern will provide 135 rooms with beds, private bathrooms and kitchenettes at their West Village dormitory.
Emmanuel College, Mass Art and Simmons University also providing housing for medical workers. Longwood-area institutions are also providing a total of 1000 parking spaces for medical workers.
Walsh added that the Brookline Development Corp. is letting two veterans centers shift 40 to 50 Covid-19-positive veterans to an old nursing home on Corey Road in Brighton that the company had planned to turn into a new residential building - after the company rehabbed it for its new temporary use at no charge to the groups.