Local hospitals are gearing up and taking new measures as the number of COVID-19 cases grow.
Tents are being installed to triage coronavirus patients so that other patients and staff can be protected.
Local officials have made it clear that there is no need for people to be alarmed by the tents being installed outside of hospitals. Montgomery County Health Officer, Dr. Travis Gayles says this is a sign that hospitals are taking serious preparation measures.
“The hospitals are taking steps that are a traditional part of preparedness exercise when we have an infectious disease outbreak, at this point a pandemic,” said Dr. Gayles. “So the steps they are taking is to put up tents to be able to triage patients who have symptoms that are concerning for COVID-19, to create a larger space to be able to triage, screen and test those individuals. It also creates an opportunity to alleviate exposure to anyone who is in an emergency room or in the hospital setting and allows us to free up capacity in the emergency rooms for other patients.”
The tents are not testing sites and officials are urging anyone with symptoms to call their doctor first. If symptoms become more severe, residents should visit the emergency room according to officials.
Tents for the hospitals in Montgomery County were supplied and erected by the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services with support from the National Guard:
- Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center, Silver Spring
- Suburban Hospital, Bethesda
- Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center, Rockville
- Holy Cross Hospital, Silver Spring
- Holy Cross Hospital, Germantown
- Medstar Montgomery Medical Center, Olney
Dr. Gayles said public health officials are working on expanding the availability of COVID-19 testing, and are pursuing a drive-thru testing alternative.
“When people see the drive-thru testing, these are tests provided for people who have symptoms concerning COVID-19,” Dr. Gayles said. “Right now testing requires a provider prescription. We are not at the point where we are offering general testing to the public. There are still concerns about quantity and capacity for testing. We’re being very careful that the people who need the tests are getting them.”
For the latest updates, visit the County’s COVID-19 website.