From left, Serina Dewolfe, Sen. Jamie Eldridge and Sandy Ellis hold a sign at the intersection of Boston Road and Sandy Pond Road in Groton as they show support for nurses at Nashoba Valley Medical Center.
PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

AYER – Under pressure in the community it serves, Steward Health Care announced Wednesday night that it is reallocating intensive care unit staff back to Nashoba Valley Medical Center in Ayer, citing the recent statewide decline in COVID-19 admissions.

Last month, Steward adjusted its Massachusetts resources, saying the moves were based on the need to serve communities experiencing the greatest impacts from COVID-19.

The company said Wednesday that it treated or diagnosed 7,228 patients for COVID-19 across Massachusetts, including 1,810 in inpatient settings, while all of its hospitals, including Nashoba Valley Medical Center, retained resources to treat patients who required ICU-level care.

“Our teams have really come together in a remarkable way to confront this pandemic,” Dr. Mark Girard, Steward’s north region president, said in a statement. “We formulated a solid plan and acted on it quickly. But I’m happy that we are able to take some small steps toward what could be the new normal.”

Earlier Wednesday, the Massachusetts Nurses Association had announced plans for a mobile rally on Thursday to protest Steward’s resource reallocation at Nashoba Valley, issuing a statement from Sen. Jamie Eldridge who alleged “the closure of the intensive care unit at Nashoba Valley Medical Center is a deeply disturbing, immoral, and dangerous action.”

On Thursday morning, the nurses association announced the car rally, and a similar one planned outside Steward-owned Holy Family Hospital in Haverhill, had been postponed.

“The union will be monitoring the situation closely to ensure the services are restored, and it thanks all those supporters who were willing to stand by the nurses in their efforts to ensure the safety of their community,” the MNA said.