WINSTON-SALEM., N.C. — Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is setting up assessment tents outside of emergency departments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a WFBMC news release.
These tents would not be used as COVID-19 testing sites, but rather as assessment sites to allow people to be evaluated without having to enter the emergency department.
Once these tents are in service, patients will be screened for symptoms of viral respiratory illness and if necessary, receive a secondary evaluation to determine treatment options.
Cone Health Emergency Department physicians are also preparing for a possible increase in patients amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re preparing areas in the emergency department for those patients that need those special services, so increased respiratory isolation, negative pressure rooms, these things are in very specific areas where we want those patients to be,” Dr. Brian Miller said.
A triage center is set up in the parking lot outside the ER, but is not in use at this time. Miller said physicians are seeing less patients at the emergency department, as they’ve asked people who are not seriously ill to utilize other options.
He explained that the department is stocked with necessary supplies, but added that as case numbers climb, they may need more.
“As we’ve seen in Italy and some of these other countries where there’s large numbers of people dying in a day they’re just overwhelming the intensive care units, and overwhelming the intensive care units and overwhelming the ventilators and those kind of things, and we haven’t really seen that surge yet and we’re hoping not to, but we anticipate that it may come and when it does, those will be the resources, masks and ventilators,” he said.
He added that doctors and nurses are staying positive as they work to limit their exposure to their families and the public.
“I haven’t seen anybody call out for this reason which is remarkable thing in the emergency department, people are standing together fighting as a team and coming together it’s been absolutely remarkable. My family doesn’t want me at home, so I’m spending a lot of time here,” Miller said.
When asked about homemade masks made by the community, Miller said staff members must use approved, medical-grade materials.
He said that staff members are thankful for the support they’ve received as they work long hours to keep people healthy.
“It shows that we have an amazing community, and a group of people that really care about their neighbors, and they care about each other, and they care about their families,” he said.