JTDMH Adds Triage Tents

Tents on loan to the Auglaize County Emergency Management Agency from the city of Celina were put up Thursday at Joint Township District Memorial Hospital’s emergency room parking lot to serve as an external triage station for additional patients.
Staff Writer

Joint Township District Memorial Hospital has a new addition to its emergency room parking lot.

Tents on loan to the Auglaize County Emergency Management (EMA) from the city of Celina were put up on Thursday to serve as an external triage station for patients, equipped with needed personnel, equipment and supplies.

Triage is defined as the sorting of patients according to the urgency or their need for care, according to Merriam-Webster.

“The hospital has deployed an external triage station in alignment with both the Northwest Ohio Health Care Emergency Management Coalition and Auglaize County Emergency Response Team recommendations to prepare external triage sites to screen patients with respiratory illness prior to entering the facilities,” said Lana Hinders, chief nursing officer.

The station will not be used as a testing site for COVID-19. 

Hinders said this is the first time in her 20-plus years of experience that she’s seen an external triage station implemented.

Hinders said that when the decision is made to operationalize the strategy, that all ambulatory patients that arrive at the hospital’s emergency department will be directed to the external triage station. 

Other hospitals in Ohio have deployed external triage stations as well, said Hinders, including Mercer Health’s Coldwater Hospital. 

Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton said Thursday during her and Gov. Mike DeWine’s daily press conference that new positive cases of COVID-19 are only going to increase in the coming weeks.

“Based on the best data we have currently in Ohio, at the COVID-19 peak surge, we could be seeing 6,000 to 8,000 new cases a day,” said Action. “The more we can push that surge off, the better hospitals can prepare their systems.”

Acton said that hospitals will eventually exceed capacity so the need for extra room will be necessary. 

Hinders said that the COVID-19 pandemic will likely revolutionize how many of the medical institutions operate.

Although the triage site will be used to screen patients with respiratory illness prior to entering the hospital’s facilities, Hinders still urges the public to continue using the established phone lines or the new video-visit process established by Grand Lake Health System to connect with a health care provider prior to going to the hospital or seeing a physician. 

The new video-visit process — telehealth — is a new service provided by Grand Lake Health System and it’s a way for patients to be attended to by health care professionals, through video chat. 

Hinders says she has confidence in the way the response efforts have been handled so far.

“I have absolute confidence in the response efforts deployed by the leadership team within the Grand Lake Health System, as well as in our local, regional and statewide public health and emergency response systems,” said Hinders. “The cooperation, coordination and communication between the healthcare systems in both the northwest Ohio and Greater Dayton Area regions is key to our success.”

Hinders has a message for the public regarding the safety of health care workers as they work through this pandemic.