Hospital adds COVID-19 triage tent

October 21, 2021 BY

Ready: Executive director acute operations Ben Kelly, nurse unit managers Grant Berriman and Marcus Hovey (right), and BHS at Home’s Michelle Veal. Photo: EDWINA WILLIAMS

A LARGE temporary marquee has been installed at the back of the Ballarat Base Hospital to act as a COVID-19 triage space for the emergency department.

The new facility is aimed at reducing the the amount of people inside the ED itself as the Base comes online as a streaming hospital for adult coronavirus patients.

People who are positive for COVID-19, or experiencing concerning respiratory symptoms to a level of emergency will be able to present to the tent for care.

Executive director acute operations Ben Kelly said the marquee should help reduce COVID-19 transmission ahead of an expected rise in cases.

“It’s about being as prepared as we can be for what we think will be significant demand, particularly those coming in with respiratory-type illnesses who may or may not be COVID-positive,” he said.

“While the first-dose vaccination rates are great, we are only at 63.5 per cent for second doses, which means we can expect to see very unwell people from our community over the coming weeks and months.”

Emergency department nurse unit manager Grant Berriman expects COVID-positive people who present to the tent might already be known to staff, while others with recently-developed symptoms may arrive without warning.

“We’ll bring them into the marquee, start some basic assessments, proceed with treatment if we can, otherwise there are various processes in place to transfer patients up to the wards, or back to the community,” Mr Berriman said.

He said the tent has good airflow, as well as air conditioning and heating, to ensure those treated are comfortable.

There is also an undercover transfer space to ensure deteriorating patients can be moved inside the hospital while out of the weather.

The triage space is on Mair Street, between the emergency department’s ambulance bays and the multi-level carpark. It is expected to open for use this week, and signage around the precinct will direct patients from the street.

The traditional emergency department, with entry near the corner of Drummond and Mair streets will continue to receive all non-COVID related cases as usual.

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