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Hunterdon News

Hunterdon Healthcare Opens Respiratory Assessment Tent

April 3, 2020

Expands capacity to assess potential COVID-19 patients.

At 10 a.m. today, April 3, 2020, Hunterdon Healthcare officially opens the Respiratory Assessment Tent stationed directly behind Hunterdon Medical Center.  The tent will be open daily from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

The purpose of the Respiratory Assessment Tent is to accomplish the following:

  • Offer individuals experiencing symptoms potentially related to the COVID-19 virus a direct and convenient connection to assessment.
  • Alleviate volume strain on the Emergency Department, which allows them to focus on patients who present with conditions not presumably related to the COVID-19 virus.

“Our Respiratory Assessment Tent provides an additional path for community residents who feel ill and are experiencing symptoms that may be related to the novel coronavirus,” said Geralyn Prosswimmer, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Hunterdon Healthcare Partners. “Although a written order is not required for someone to visit the Respiratory Assessment Tent we believe it is still best for people with existing primary care physicians to contact their doctor first to receive their direction as to the best location for them to go to be further evaluated and/or tested.”

Following CDC guidance, Hunterdon Healthcare has been actively sharing testing criteria and instructions to receive care with its patients and the community through their patient portals, social media outlets, website (hunterdonhealthcare.org), and local media partners. All Hunterdon Healthcare providers and affiliates are providing existing patients access to virtual visits and have strategically identified specific locations as Upper Respiratory Sites where patients who meet COVID-19 screening criteria are directed to receive a coronavirus test.

Additionally, Hunterdon Healthcare launched the Hunterdon Healthcare COVID Hotline, staffed by nurses who are available from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., 7 days-a-week to answer questions and/or triage potential patients to the appropriate location for care. On average, the Hotline has received approximately 130 calls per day. The phone number for the Hotline is (908) 788-6440.

Individuals who choose to visit the Respiratory Assessment Tent should follow the following process:

  • When arriving at the hospital directly drive towards the Emergency Department entrance. A booth has been set-up to greet every patient.
  • A staff member will step out of a booth and approach the vehicle to understand the medical needs. Emergency scenarios will be directed into the Emergency Department. Respiratory symptoms will be screened and directed to the Emergency Department or Respiratory Assessment Tent for care. 
  • If directed to the Respiratory Assessment Tent the driver will be instructed to follow the signs to the rear of the hospital where the tent is located.
  • Upon arrival at the tent, the driver should remain in their car and will be met by a staff member who will instruct the driver where to park and explain how they will be brought into the tent for screening. Testing will be conducted based on assessment outcomes.

Hunterdon Healthcare has been proactively planning and training staff for weeks to ensure the highest level of care and protection for all employees, providers, and patients. For additional information on COVID-19 or how Hunterdon Medical Center has prepared for the coronavirus pandemic, please visit Hunterdon Healthcare’s Facebook page or hunterdonhealthcare.org.



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