Tents will isolate and contain patients evaluated for coronavirus.
YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - COVID-19, the highly contagious virus also known as coronavirus, is calling for Yuma Regional Medical Center’s (YRMC) emergency room to take extra measures to ensure the general public and workers are not exposed.
The hospital says it's using emergency department tents as a triaging and sorting system.
The key is isolation and containment.
Upon arrival, a patient is masked, their hands are sanitized, then the journey begins.
Briana Caraway, administrative director of emergency services at YRMC, said, “[Patients] come in, [are] registered, an emergency department registered nurse will triage you and determine if you meet the criteria for the tent."
Once inside, the tent is staffed with a physician assistant to screen the patient and provide care.
Patients experiencing mild to severe respiratory pain are further examined, for which the majority are currently being discharged.
Coronavirus testing remains limited in Yuma County.
The hospital only has enough supplies to swab about five patients a day.
Deborah Aders, chief nursing officer at YRMC, told News 11, “We have just made our request for supplies and we have not received any additional supplies yet."
Aders says they're recommended not to mass test.
"[Nurses] only want to save those test specimens for the patients who we really need to know how to provide care for,” she said.
So far, out of the handful of patients tested for coronavirus at YRMC, two tested positive.
One case was sent home. The other patient was in hospital care for a short period of time, then sent home.
“When this happens it is very fearful but we will get through this. We will get through this together,” said Caraway.
The emergency tents will be operating from 10 am to 10 pm until April 1.
Once the demand is there, the hospital says it's prepared to operate the tents 24 hours a day.
Again, the community is urged to stay home to stop the spread of this virus.
If you're experiencing severe shortness of breath, contact your doctor immediately or call 9-1-1.