Covid-19 evaluations move to main ER at Sumner Regional Medical Center

June 17, 2020

In-car testing, ER isolation rooms created for the safety of patients and staff

Since early spring, Sumner Regional Medical Center has been operating a secondary, isolated emergency department dedicated to screening and evaluation for potential Covid-19 patients. “ER-2” was built quickly from an unused area of the hospital campus, and has evaluated thousands of people who were concerned about Covid-19 exposure or symptoms.

This week, Sumner Regional has completed the infrastructure needed to merge these two ERs back into one, while maintaining the highest protocol of safety for staff, visitors, and regular emergency department patients.

Beginning Thursday, June 18, anyone wanting to be evaluated for Covid-19 will be seen at the main Sumner Regional ER, but with a process designed for isolation and the safety of all involved.

The emergency department and facilities teams have been working to build out six (6) isolation ER rooms in the main ER, which will be separated from the rest of the ER by isolation barriers. Additionally, the rooms have individual negative-pressure air units to ensure the air flow for each of these rooms remains isolated from each other and from the rest of the ER. This is the same air technology utilized in the isolation units where Covid-19 patients have been treated for months.

Initial screening for patients wanting to be evaluated for Covid-19 will take place outside the ER entrance.

“Patients will enter the ER parking area, call to check in, and wait in their car until an ER attendant calls them forward to be evaluated by a nurse or doctor,” said Brittany Stover, emergency department director.  “If necessary, a Covid-19 test can be performed in the car, or the patient can be masked and moved inside to one of the isolation ER rooms for further treatment.”

In the event of an overflow of patients, there is also an isolated waiting room just for patients who have Covid-19 symptoms and don’t wish to wait in their car.

“We are committed to doing everything possible to provide emergency departments for anyone who needs urgent care in the weeks and months to come,” said Isabelle Garibaldi, RN, chief nursing officer at Sumner Regional Medical Center. “The safety of our patients and staff is of utmost importance, and we have created environments that put the latest learnings about infection control into practice.”