Marlborough hosts stockpile of Patriots’ mask donations

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Vigeant expects state aid as COVID-19 crisis surges

National Guard trucks park in the parking lot of the Royal Plaza Trade Center in Marlborough after arriving April 2 carrying masks secured through the help of Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

By Dakota Antelman, Contributing Writer

Marlborough – A convoy of national guard trucks rolled into Marlborough late April 2.

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Those trucks, Mayor Arthur Vigeant later confirmed, were full of the nearly one million units of personal protective equipment Patriots owner Robert Kraft had shipped from China via a team plane. They were headed to the Royal Plaza Trade Center in Marlborough, where the state had set up a “strategic stockpile” to serve as a hub for distribution to area hospitals.

“The masks are there,” Vigeant said April 3.

This, of course, comes as Marlborough officials, like many counterparts across the state, brace for the COVID-19 crisis to worsen this month.

“Everyone is getting prepared for the surge that is coming based on what the governor has said,” Vigeant explained.

As of April 3, confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Marlborough stood at 60.

Some of those patients have been getting their positive COVID-19 tests at the now sprawling testing site outside of the city’s branch of the UMass Memorial Hospital System. First popping up weeks ago, that site has expanded, offering 90 tests a day as of April 3, up from just 20 shortly after it opened.

“It’s a huge asset to the city,” Vigeant explained of the hospital. “It’s great having them as a part of the city of Marlborough.”

Vigeant has recently been starting each morning on a conference call with hospital leaders themselves. That routine, he says, has been crucial in informing his leadership through this crisis.

“It’s aimed to make sure we’re all on the same page,” he said. “For me, it’s more of a listening session.”

That collaboration and communication, meanwhile, happens as the city also keeps in contact with state officials.

Vigeant said he personally spoke with representatives of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency in the week of March 30.

That’s when he learned the agency had leased the Royal Plaza land to serve as their stockpile. And its calls like that, and big successes like the state’s success securing the Kraft donation, which give him confidence his community will have support through this crisis.

“When we need something, we’ll be giving them a call,” Vigeant said. “[In the meantime] things are going pretty smoothly waiting for the big surge to hit.”