The Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) has opened two respiratory triage tents outside the Emergency Departments (ED) at its two hospital campuses – St. Elizabeth, 2209 Genesee Street, Utica, and St. Luke’s, 1656 Champlin Avenue, Utica. The triage tents are for patients with respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, congestion, etc.) and will help identify those who have symptoms of coronavirus/COVID-19 before they enter the facility which will significantly minimize their exposure to other patients and staff.
“As cases of COVID-19 continue to grow in our area, it’s important that the EDs are prepared for an influx of patients – both those who may be positive for COVID-19 and those who need other types of emergency care (i.e. heart attacks, strokes, etc.),” said Afsar Khan, MD, ED medical director for MVHS. “The purpose of the tents is to triage patients with respiratory issues before they enter the facility so it can be determined if they may have COVID-19 or if they are suffering from a different respiratory illness. Knowing the status of these patients before they enter the facilities will help minimize exposure to other patients and staff.”
Once patients have been triaged, they may be directed to the ED for further treatment based on the initial assessment. These tents are NOT for coronavirus/COVID-19 testing and the appointment will be considered an ED visit.
Patients needing emergency services not related to respiratory issues should continue to use the main ED entrances.
“It is our hope that these tents will not only prove useful for those coming in for respiratory issues, but that they will alleviate some of the fears of those who may be hesitant to use our ED services for fear of exposure to COVID-19,” said Dr. Khan. “We don’t want someone who has signs and symptoms of a stroke, for example, to say home because they are concerned about being exposed to COVID-19. Time is critical with many conditions that are still impacting members of our community and it’s vital to seek treatment as quickly as possible. It is our mission to keep everyone safe throughout this pandemic.”
The tents, metal storage boxes, propane building heaters with tanks and several concrete safety barriers used for the triage tents were donated by Gaetano Construction and Clinton Tractor loaned MVHS two carts to transport patients from the tents to the ED if needed.
For updates related to the coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak, visit mvhealthsystem.org/coronavirus.
Photo captions: Mohawk Valley Health System respiratory triage tent outside the St. Elizabeth Campus.