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Augusta Health preparing for possibility of COVID-19 cases at hospital

The tents may be used to help to triage patients in the case of an influx of people with COVID-19. | Credit: WHSV
The tents may be used to help to triage patients in the case of an influx of people with COVID-19. | Credit: WHSV(WHSV)
Published: Mar. 30, 2020 at 6:05 PM EDT
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On Monday, Augusta Health conducted part of what they call "surge training" in the emergency department. They set up tents outside that may be used in case they see an influx of patients with COVID-19.

But that doesn't mean they're currently expecting an influx of patients — The hospital

, to alleviate any community concerns, that the large triage tent outside the department was a test.

Dr. David Fosnocht, chairman of emergency services, said the tents are typically used in disaster scenarios, but they are also part of their planned response for COVID-19.

The hospital said the use of the tents depends on the need at the time, whether that's because the hospital is full, or if they need to assess patients before they come inside.

"It is part of our overall surge planning, both in terms of managing patients that are coming into the emergency department, in terms of testing, screening, and those things," Dr. Fosnocht said.

Augusta Health said this exercise was just for planning purposes and not because they've seen an influx of patients with the coronavirus.

"We do not have a COVID-positive patient in Augusta Health at this time, it's just part of our planning for that eventuality," Dr. Fosnocht said.

Currently, there are three cases of the coronavirus in the Staunton-Augusta-Waynesboro area: two in Augusta County and one in Staunton. However, none of those patients were tested at Augusta Health.

"Drilling, or testing, our plans is important so they can be executed quickly if the situation requires the plans to be activated," the hospital said in an official statement on the Monday training.

While the hospital hasn't yet had any positive cases in their facility, they do expect that to change as they gain the ability to test more community members with a partnership through UVA Health for quicker testing.

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