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Nebraska Medicine sets up a tent for possible coronavirus surge

Posted at 11:37 AM, Mar 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-30 20:15:51-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Nebraska Medicine said on Monday that it has begun installing a medical tent outside the emergency department.

According to a release from the hospital, the tent "will allow additional bed capacity and increases the med center’s preparedness for a potential influx of patients accessing emergency services."

"Right now, we’re not at a point where we need to use the tent for patient overflow but this is preparing for the worst," Michael Wadman, Chair of Department of Emergency Medicine, Nebraska Medicine said.

The tent has electricity, internet and heating and cooling. The same safety precautions will be followed while caring for patients inside the tent as have been established in the hospital.

"The tent will be similar in space to the amount of air exchanges, the personal protective equipment," Wadman said. "So no increased risk (for patients being cared for in the tent.) Having those patients (with COVID-19) away from other patients in close proximity in the waiting room or close to patients who are more vulnerable in adjacent rooms is going to provide an extra layer of safety for all of our patients."

The tent is expected to be able to house eight patients on stretchers. If needed, additional patients can be placed in chairs.

A second tent is available and may be set up next to the Monroe Meyer Institute if needed.

Nebraska Med says the tent has been available for use for ten years as part of the pandemic planning process. It has been set up before during drills, but never deployed for use outside of training.

Traffic on Dewey Ave will be blocked as the tent is put together through Tuesday.

Nebraska Medicine says do not show up at the tent if you want to be seen. Instead call it's coronavirus hotline 402-559-0041. If it's an emergency go directly to the emergency room.

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