ST. GEORGE — On Saturday, multiple local agencies came together to help set up tent additions onto the Dixie Regional Medical Center emergency room. The tent is a move towards preparedness for the new COVID-19 coronavirus.
“Thanks to community efforts, emergency department volumes at Intermountain Dixie Regional Medical Center remain average for this time of year,” DRMC director of communications Terri Draper said in a release. “However, in an effort to remain prepared, today the hospital working with the Southwest Utah Public Health Department and other community preparedness agencies, deployed the Utah Department of Health’s BLU-MED Tent. It is located near the emergency department in case it is needed in the future to extend emergency department capacity.”
On Thursday, Intermountain Healthcare announced it is making temporary changes to its emergency room intake procedures systemwide, including at DRMC and Cedar City Hospital. The emergency rooms will have separate areas with negative pressure isolation rooms for people complaining of respiratory issues.
The agencies that chipped in to help out were Washington County Emergency Services, Washington County Search and Rescue, Dixie State University, Washington City Fire Department, the Southwest Utah Public Health Department and other fire departments, according to a Washington County Emergency Services Facebook post.
While no COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Southern Utah as of right now, the additional tents are strictly to help DRMC be prepared for it. On Saturday, the Utah Department of Health announced a patient diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus in Northern Utah was the first in the state to get the virus through community spread instead of from travel.
“This is a part of our community’s preparedness efforts and other hospitals across Utah are setting up similar ED extension preparedness tents now that Utah has had the first case of “community spread” in Summit County,” Draper said. “At this time, the tents are not being used.”
COVID-19 information resources
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- World Health Organization
- Utah Department of Health
- Intermountain Healthcare
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