Health First Stands Ready for Surge in Emergency Visits, Erects Large Tents to Accommodate Patient Overflow
By Space Coast Daily // July 28, 2021
Will allow Health First hospitals to treat arriving patients safely and expeditiously
Brevard’s largest health system stands up temporary treatment tents in preparation for rising patient numbers. The precaution creates designated space for non-COVID-19 emergent care cases.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – The surge in COVID-19 cases has pushed the capacity of hospitals throughout the state to their limits, and Health First’s four hospitals in Brevard County are no different.
In order to treat every Emergency Department visit with the highest level of care and safety, Health First is in the process of standing up large treatment tents outside of Emergency Department entrances at Health First’s Holmes Regional Medical Center and Health First’s Palm Bay Hospital.
These treatment tents are part of Health First’s ongoing preparedness efforts and will serve as Emergency Department overflow – allowing the hospitals to treat arriving patients safely and expeditiously, while creating additional capacity options within our hospitals.
These additional safe and sterile spaces will not be used to treat COVID-19 patients, or patients suspected of having the coronavirus.
“This really gives us another layer of options and flexibility,” Health First spokesman Lance Skelly said.
“We continue to have ER visits for reasons other than COVID-19, and we stand ready to treat and care for our community even as we also handle this unprecedented surge in patients experiencing COVID-19. The treatment tents will keep our patients socially distanced and safe, but we’re asking the community to do their part – get vaccinated.”
Health First’s Family Pharmacy at Health First Medical Group, 1223 Gateway Drive in Melbourne, and another at Viera Hospital Medical Center, 8725 N. Wickham Road, are administering vaccines with or without an appointment.
Individuals with scheduled appointments will be prioritized, but walk-ins are welcomed for first-dose vaccinations during the clinic hours, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The tents will be fully stocked, staffed and ready to treat certain emergency cases.
It takes on average 24 to 48 hours to fully operationalize a treatment tent. That includes sterilization, stocking supplies, electricity and water, and establishing Wi-Fi and telecommunications within the unit. They will be comfortably cooled just as patient spaces inside the hospital are.
Because of the time and effort required to ensure full functionality, Health First has taken these first steps to ensure Brevard County’s leading healthcare provider is prepared for any and all scenarios.
Health First will continue to share timely community updates moving forward.
Visit HF.org/StayWell for the latest COVID-19 information and updates.