LOVELAND, Colo. (CBS4) – Large triage tents have been erected outside of emergency rooms throughout Northern Colorado as medical professional prepare for a significant influx of COVID-19 cases. UCHealth’s Medical Center of the Rockies, in Loveland, is one of four UCHealth hospitals in Northern Colorado with a large white triage tent setup feet away from their ER.
MCR joins UCHealth’s Greeley Hospital, Yampa Valley Medical Center and Longs Peak Hospital as locations in Northern Colorado with the tents. UCHealth hospitals in Colorado Springs also have similar setups.
“It is crazy to think we are going to hit something of this volume,” said Jamie Teumer, Medical Director for Emergency Management at MCR.
Teumer told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas this is the first time in his career he has seen hospitals in Colorado taking such action out of fear of the number of coronavirus cases expected. While the number of visitors to the emergency room is dipping, Teumer said the number of people ill from COVID-19 is rising.
“What we are seeing is an uptick in the people that are really sick with the disease,” Teumer said. “This is just another way to kind of move people through the system and not overwhelm it, and not overexpose people.”
CBS4 was given an inside look at the setup in the tent at MCR. In an effort to limit the number of infected people accessing the hospital building, a waiting area and treatment rooms were setup in the tents.
“We can see, easily, 20-to-30 people through in an hour, minimum,” Teumer said. “The concept is that it is a very quick medial screening exam, treat if we need to treat, and then send them home.”
None of the tents are currently in use. However, Teumer said that could change as the coronavirus continues to spread throughout Colorado.
Aside from a shortage of ventilators, Teumer said the tents would give medical professionals everything they need to treat patients, while keeping them out of the hospital.
“UCHealth has always been good at this, in staying ahead of the game. We have been setting up for weeks to do this. Assuming the worst but hoping it doesn’t happen,” Teumer said. “The biggest mistake you can make is not being ready for the worst. I feel comfortable that we are ready for this.”
Teumer said anyone with symptoms is encouraged to self-isolate at home. However, those who have symptoms so significant that they feel they need treatment should not hesitate to visit their local emergency room.