UTICA, N.Y. -- They look like field hospitals in a war zone. And that, essentially, is what they are. MVHS has set up respiratory triage tents outside St. Luke's and St. Elizabeth, to see and evaluate patients exhibiting respiratory symptoms who might have the coronavirus.
"This truly an extenstion of the emergency department," said Dr. A. Kambhampati.
A physician's assistant and triage nurse will staff the tents 11-7, daily. Up to two patients can be seen at once. Last weekend illustrated the need for the tents.
"It's getting worse," said Dr. Kambhampati. "This weekend was when we really started to see the surge of covid patients...Covid-19 patients and that percentage is steadily increasing. I don't have exact numbers for you. I worked last night and I can tell you anectodatally that number is steadily, steadily increasing."
Evaluating certain respiratory patients in the tents will help minimize contact with hospital staff and other patients in the building.
"Our biggest intent was to make sure people feel comfortable coming to the E.D. I think there's medical people who are worried about coming in. So the point of this is to keep the respiratory patients isolated so that medical patients feel comfortable with coming in, being seen for what the need to," said Tracey Barone, RN, trauma coordinator.
It was two and a half weeks from conception to reality, thanks, in part, to generous donations from local businesses. MVHS officials say Clinton Tractor has let them borrow two golf carts to bring patients from the tents to the hospitals, if necessary. Gaetano Construction donated several materials, and the heating system.