Central Ohio hospitals setting up tents to help contain COVID-19

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Tents are popping up outside the emergency room entrances at local hospitals. It’s part of a hospital strategy to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

At OhioHealth Doctors Hospital there are two white tents. One just outside the emergency room door where nurses do an initial screening of walk-in patients.

A second tent about 50 feet away is used to do a more thorough evaluation of any patients showing COVID-like symptoms.

“The majority of these patients we’re going to be able to discharge right from our second tent,” says Dr. Bruce Jones, Medical Director of the Emergency Department. “That way we’re not exposing them to sicker patients that we know have COVID as well as potential health care workers getting infected as well.”

Leigh Anne Germani, Director of Emergency Services at the hospital says the idea is to provide information to patients who don’t require hospitalization and send them home if possible. “They may not have to come in the hospital because they are not a hospitalized kind of patient,” Germani said. “We want to be able to take care of our patients in the safest manner possible for them as well as for us. Keeping them in one area is a good containment strategy”

With health care workers now making up roughly 20 percent of the confirmed cases in Ohio, it’s understandable that they too want to limit their exposure.

Dr. Jones says the staff at OhioHealth Doctors are thankful to be in a position to be able to help people but they are experiencing the same anxiety as everyone else.

“I think people are trying to be stoic,” Jones said. “It’s just scary because there’s what if’s and I think because of that people do have a lot of anxiety.”

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