“We did that screening for the first three months or so. Then COVID morphed a bit, and some patients were coming in without the earlier symptoms of cough, shortness of breath, and fever. It became harder to differentiate COVID patients who lost taste or had nausea and vomiting. So we decided to screen everybody at triage. We are always looking for better, more efficient ways to do things.
“At the beginning, too, we had no idea how much emergency space we would need. If the GI lab wasn’t open, could we use that area? Could we use part of radiology? We found empty space in the Aiken Building next to the emergency department, and within a week, the maintenance team converted that to overflow emergency space, just in case. Luckily, we never had to use it.
“From a nursing perspective, it’s all hands on deck. But having plans in place has made staff feel safer and more comfortable, at the hospital and at home with their families. Our whole world has changed, just like everyone else’s.”