HEREFORD, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – You may have seen the blue tent placed outside of Hereford Regional Medical Center in Deaf Smith County, is just one of the rural hospitals in the Panhandle hit hard by COVID-19.
“This tent’s a little unconventional, however it can do a lot of things that our ICU will do,” Jeff Barnhart, CEO of Hereford Regional Medical Center, explained.
The alternative care site will help to give relief to the hospital by giving incoming patients a bed and medical care they need.
“We are taking requests from other hospitals we had one in here Sunday night,” Barnhart said.
According to Candice Smith, Chief Nursing Officer, stated that “We have patients that are in need of a cardiologist, if the ICU beds at the higher level of care are full then we have to keep those patients here and give them the best care that we possibly can.”
The tent is equipped with 14 beds, monitors, IV capability as well as round the clock care.
“They will have a provider that can come see them in a tent, a physician or a nurse practitioner, we also have nursing staff 24-7,” Smith said.
With the hospital overrun with positive cases the idea is for the tent to be used for those coming in who have tested negative for the virus.
“Our plan right now is to place non-COVID patients in the tent, keep the COVID patients inside, they seem to be a little sicker,” Barnhart explained.
For Smith, working in a pandemic is something she never thought she would have to endure.
“It certainly tugs on your heartstrings and emotions get involved and those are not things you can set to the side,” Smith said.
According to Barnhart, patients will be tested for the Coronavirus before they go into the tent to receive treatment.
Although right now the hospital is unsure if they will need another tent in the near future they have already started discussing where a second one might be placed if it was needed.
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