Mass. sheriff to open center for first responders recovering from virus
Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi said many first responders feel they have nowhere to go after being diagnosed
HAMPDEN COUNTY, Mass. — A recovery home for first responders diagnosed with coronavirus will open in Ludlow Tuesday, one of the first-of-its-kind facilities in Massachusetts aimed at front-line workers.
The Hampden County Sheriff’s Office is opening its Pre-Release Center in Ludlow to serve nurses, doctors, police, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, corrections officers and military members free of charge.
“We’ve already received calls from people in the community who have been diagnosed, but have nowhere to go without jeopardizing the health of their family,” Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi said in a statement Sunday. “That’s the need we are trying to fill.”
The center will offer “restaurant-quality food and hotel bedding” provided by community partners for the first responders quarantining themselves from their families, which for many include elderly parents. The center will hold 84 single-occupancy rooms.
Guests must be “healthy enough to care for themselves,” while medical staff will monitor those who need more serious medical care and arrange for transportation to a hospital if needed. The center will start housing people beginning Tuesday.
State officials did not respond to inquiries Sunday on whether other front-line responder care centers for those diagnosed with coronavirus currently exist across the state.
A representative for Boston EMS said Sunday the city is working on plans for first-responder care but they have not been finalized.
The city opened a facility at East Boston’s former Suffolk Downs racetrack area for testing first responders for COVID-19, and a CVS in Shrewsbury has seen emergency responders from across the state travel to get tested for the virus.
First-responders eligible to stay at the Hampden center will have already been diagnosed with COVID-19. A reported 342 hospital workers in Boston alone have already tested positive for the highly contagious virus.
Eight Boston police officers have tested positive for coronavirus, while staff at detention facilities across the state have also been reported with positive COVID-19 tests.
The state reported 231 coronavirus deaths as of Sunday, with 12,500 total confirmed cases and over 8,000 residents in quarantine.
©2020 the Boston Herald