St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital (STEGH) is in the process of setting up temporary tented areas outside their emergency department in the ongoing battle against the novel coronavirus.

The tents are being installed to provide additional space in which to implement safety precautions, before patients enter the hospital.

“This is really a strategy that we’ve implemented to pre-triage patients before we can determine which is the most suitable area of the emergency department for them to get a further triage assessment and then treated accordingly,” said Craig Watkin, director of Emergency Services and Medicine St. Thomas.

“It’s essentially about patients and staff safety.”

STEGH is stressing that the tents being set up are not assessment centres — they are an additional level of safety to protect patients and staff in the emergency department.

“This is absolutely not an assessment centre. We felt that really this is something additional that we needed to do with regards to just making sure that we have our safety measures in check and that we can do these assessments for people that are attending the emergency department,” said Watkin.

Watkin told Global News what steps are being taken inside the tents before patients are being allowed to go into the building to be further assessed by medical professionals.

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“We will be having nurses in the pre-triage tent at the front, and they will be basically going over some screening questions around COVID-19 and respiratory concerns.”

“We will also have nurses do a quick assessment in regards to pulse and oxygen levels in the blood which is a very simple test. From those questions and the additional pulse and pulse oximetry, they determine which is the most appropriate area for the patient to go for their further assessment,” Watkin added.

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