Triage tent

The triage tent, erected for a spike in COVID-19 cases, will be taken down as the hospital begins to open up for non-emergency elective medical procedures on May 1.

With Gov. Kate Brown’s announcement Thursday to lift the ban on nonemergency medical procedures beginning May 1, Blue Mountain Hospital will cautiously increase outpatient, clinic and ancillary services, according to a BMH press release.

Brown’s plan, starting next month, will allow hospitals across the state to open back up for elective procedures as long as they reserve enough hospital beds and protective gear — gowns, masks, gloves — for a surge in coronavirus cases.

The cancellation of nonemergency elective procedures thrust hospitals into an awkward position: They were told to prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic, while at the same time seeing a dramatic drop in revenue waiting for the spike in patients.

Additionally, the hospital is still closed to visitors and non-patients, and the hospital adjusted its seating policy in the waiting room to accommodate appropriate social distancing. The hospital will continue to monitor its supply of personal protective equipment continuously.

According to the press release, the emergency room triage tent will be taken down, and patients seeking emergency services are to report to the emergency room entrance.

Patients with respiratory symptoms are still encouraged to continue to call 541-575-1311 before arriving to the hospital.

Should there be a surge in COVID-19 cases, the hospital would use the negative pressure tent that it received from the Oregon Health Authority.

Reporter

Steven Mitchell is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. Contact him at steven@bmeagle.com or 541-575-0710.

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