Update 2pm: Tents that will be used for the assessment of patients with mild to moderate respiratory symptoms who have been referred by a health care provider for a physical assessment are being installed outside of hospitals in the Cariboo.
In the Interior Health Authority, tents are going up in 100 Mile House at 100 Mile General Hospital and in Williams Lake at Cariboo Memorial Hospital.
“This will serve as an external triage zone to prevent the crossover of respiratory patients with patients at the hospital for other medical conditions,” said IH Communications Officer Susan Duncan. “Lab outpatient blood draws may also occur in the triage area.”
The tents should be ready for use by next week.
“Alternate assessment areas are part of the pandemic plans in place across Interior Health,” Duncan added. “At this time, we have not seen an influx of patients at our hospitals. In fact, current occupancy at IH hospitals overall is below 65 percent to create capacity should we need it.”
Duncan said smaller centers in the Chilcotin, such as Tatla Lake and Alexis Creek health centers, don’t have the volumes of patients to require a tent.
“Other measures are in place such as booked outpatient appointments only for people who need physical assessments,” she said. “The physician and nurse practitioner are doing most of their visits via video/phone calls.”
Emergency care at the sites that offer this service will continue with screening at the door for COVID-19 signs and symptoms to ensure everyone’s protection.
“We can’t provide specific staff numbers at our sites,” Duncan said. “However, staff from areas where services have been reduced are being redeployed to appropriate jobs to support the additional preparation efforts.”
“Staff continue to work their regular shifts.”
(Note: This article has been updated to include further comment from IH Communiciations Officer Suan Duncan)