Backus Hospital in Norwich has implemented an additional screening process outside of the Emergency Department as an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 inside the hospital.
"In the same vein that we are practicing social distancing out in the public, we want to try and keep the patients that sound as though they do not have COVID symptoms away from patients that potentially may have COVID symptoms," explained Meghan Hilliard, the regional director of emergency services.
Patients presenting at the ED will now be screened in a tent before entering. If the patient has symptoms of COVID-19, he or she will be taken to a triage trailer for treatment instead of entering the emergency department.
The unit has 14 individual patient bays along with a triage area with WiFi and full electronic capabilities. Healthcare workers staff the trailer at all times, dressed in full personal protective equipment.
Hilliard said that patients who are evaluated but do not need further medical treatment will be released with instructions to quarantine at home. If a patient needs further treatment, they will be brought into the ED and separated from other patients.
"If the patient needs diagnostics, of any kind, we would escort them into the main ED in our COVID section of the ER where we would perform whatever test necessary," said Hilliard.
The triage trailers can also be found at Hartford Healthcare's Windham and Plainfield facilities.
"We are continuing to plan and prepare our facilities for COVID-19 patients while continuing to provide the best care for our community,” Donna Handley, President of Backus and Windham Hospitals, wrote in a press release.
According to a spokesperson for the hospital, there are seven COVID-19 positive patients currently being treated at Backus. The ED at Backus usually sees about 160 patients a day, but the numbers have decreased during the pandemic. They are now seeing about 60 to 70 patients in the Emergency Department daily.