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Renown opens temporary triage tent as precaution for COVID-19


Renown Regional Medical Center constructed a deployable medical tent on Wednesday as a proactive step to separate patients with symptoms of respiratory illness from the general hospital entrance.

The tent is located in the parking lot of the emergency room entrance on Mill Street and will serve as a triage area for patients with respiratory symptoms.

Amy McCombs-Stout is the Director of Infection Prevention and Emergency Preparedness at Renown Health and spoke to This Is Reno during a media event held on Thursday.

ThisisReno: Why did Renown Health set this tent up?

McCombs-Stout: “With the potential impacts of COVID-19, we want this [tent] to be ready for our community, should we need it. We are ready to take care of emergency room patients within this tent who show symptoms of respiratory illness as early as tomorrow [Friday]. This tent is not for everybody to get tested, just those requiring emergency care. Those patients not in need of emergency care should call ahead to schedule with their primary care physicians for testing.


Once this alternate care site [tent] is active, we will screen you for respiratory symptoms as well as travel and higher risk things, such as being on a cruise ship which is now included as high risk, to determine if you will be cared for in the emergency room or if you could be provided care in the extension of our emergency room within this tent.”

TIR: What is the process for folks looking for care in our community that have symptoms of COVID-19?

McCombs-Stout: “It’s very important to call ahead and get a mask when you arrive at your primary care physician or urgent care if you are feeling any of the symptoms of COVID-19.

“Our [Renown Health] call center is triaging patients to go to Teladoc as the best practice and the CDC recommendation for COVID-19 patients. In addition, Renown Health has two respiratory illness urgent care centers set up at 975 Ryland and Summit Ridge, so we are ready for respiratory illness in those settings as well if you do not require emergency room care or hospitalization.”

TIR: What are some recommendations you have for the general public?

McCombs-Stout: “The general public should practice excellent hand hygiene, as we should be doing this 365 days a year. It’s key to preventing this infection. Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquettes are the number one and two key things we should be doing to protect ourselves from COVID-19. Cough or sneeze into your elbow while turning away from others. Don’t touch your face. Stay home when you are sick, which again we should be doing 365 days a year, and stay away from others that are sick. Always maintain six feet of distance; distance is our friend right now. We can see during this week that a lot of events are being canceled around the nation and that is to control the spread of COVID-19. If we follow these measures, all of our communities will be better off.”

TIR: Does Renown have enough personal protective equipment for your nurses and other staff?

McCombs-Stout: “We have a significant number of respirators on hand as well as N95 masks and we also are working through CDC guidance on extended wear PPE [personal protective equipment] to ensure that we have enough to get us through this. We are also working with our community partners at the county, state, and federal levels to ensure inventory is maintained.”

TIR: What do folks in our community need to know right now?

McCombs-Stout: “Everyone needs to know, that if we get COVID-19 then 80 percent to 83 percent of us will experience mild cold symptoms, so don’t panic. Stay home. Take care of yourself with fluids and rest. Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette are so important while you are sick to prevent spreading. Most of us will barely notice we have anything other than a cold. There is the other percentage that will require care, and that’s why it’s important to not panic and help prevent the spread.”

Around the region

The Washoe County Health District, in a statement on March 12, advised that it is “not ordering cancellation of any large public events or gatherings due to COVID-19 but does support efforts to decrease the opportunity for disease transmission.”

“We do urge event staff who organize public gatherings to heighten cleaning standards and use disinfectants that are capable of eliminating coronaviruses and other germs.”

Meanwhile, the City of Reno added a page to its website offering daily updates related to COVID-19. Mayor Hillary Schieve said,  “At this time we are comforted by the fact that there are no additional presumptive positive COVID-19 cases in Washoe County. However, I know that our City of Reno residents are looking for information because I continue to get a lot of questions. These daily updates will let our community know what we are doing and provide a consistent flow of information on this rapidly evolving situation.”

The University of Nevada, Reno plans to shift all classes to online delivery starting March 23, a measure that’s part of what University officials call “alternative operations in key areas.” In a statement released March 12, University officials said, “Although we are not closing campus, we are making a concerted effort to greatly reduce the collection of people on our campus in order to diminish the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).”

On the web

This Is Reno’s COVID-19 news coverage

Trevor Bexon
Trevor Bexonhttps://www.trevorbexon.com/
Trevor Bexon has lived in Reno, Nevada since 2004. He believes Northern Nevada has a unique story that he hopes to share with others while leaving a visual history for future study.