UVM Medical Center surge site gearing up for COVID-19 patients

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Anticipating a rush of COVID-19 cases in the coming days and weeks, the UVM Medical Center is setting up a temporary 50-bed hospital inside the university’s Roy L. Patrick Gymnasium.

The surge facility will be used to treat COVID-19 patients if the UVM Medical Center’s capacity to treat new virus cases reaches 60 percent.

“That’s a very dynamic and changing picture,” said Dr. Erik Anderson. “We are looking at the rate of increase and how many beds there are for the types of patients and the hospital.”

The surge facility has been coming together for the past 10-12 days. In addition to the 50 beds, the Patrick gym facility will have a pharmacy, a supply and staging area, oxygen delivery devices and negative pressure tents, and other critical-care technology.

“There’s a lot of IT and communications infrastructure in the gym,” Anderson said. “This is important. It makes us just like any other unit in the hospital in terms of how we can view our patients and their electronic medical record.”

Daniel Hudson, UVM Medical Center’s director of Nursing Operations and Resources, said health officials will use an algorithm to determine which patients would be treated at the surge facility.

“These would be patients that would go through our emergency department or urgent care and passed off that triage and assessment,” he said.

While officvials are hoping not to have to rely on the surge facility, it can scale up quickly from 50 patients to 100 patients.

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