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Louisville hospital puts up tent in case of large number of COVID-19 patients

Norton Women's and Children's Hospital has pitched a triage tent outside its emergency department in case they see a large number of COVID-19 patients.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Norton Women's and Children's Hospital has pitched a triage tent outside its emergency department in case they see a large number of patients due to the spread of the coronavirus.

"We're going to make sure that we have heating and lighting at night because we are open 24/7," medical director, Dr. Stephen Cawood said. 

The 50X20-feet tent will allow staff to screen patients before they enter the hospital.

"We've got a very strong pediatric emergency department, we have an adult emergency department and the total of those two see 66,000 visits a year," chief administrator officer, Charlotte Ipsan said. 

The number could increase with COVID-19 patients. 

"If they have acute respiratory symptoms they'll be taken to one area of the department where staff will already have the PPE protected gear on," Cawood said. "They need to help initiate continued triage and to help initiate care. The patients that don't have those symptoms will be brought into another area." 

Cawood said it will help the staff separate those showing symptoms from other patients who need to treat injuries or who are in need of other medical care.

"What we're trying to do here is minimize the exposure of patients that don't have the symptoms as well as minimize and protect from those who we think do have it to make sure they're going to areas where staff have the PPE on," Cawood said. 

Governor Andy Beshear called for hospitals to temporarily stop elective surgeries. Norton Women's and Children's Hospital said it will help make the job easier. 

"That just increases our capacity and space," Cawood said. "It can add additional resources that can help with the frontlines in the emergency department." 

Right now their volumes are pretty steady, according to Cawood which is a good sign because that means people are staying home practicing social distancing. The hospital is prepared to see at least 200 patients each day. 

Contact reporter Senait Gebregiorgis at SGebregior@whas11.com and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.  

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