City Officials: tents being set up at area hospitals

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- "We are planning for the worst, all things considered, but we are hoping for the best," said Dr. James Cole, a SwedishAmerican surgeon and crisis specialist.

Hospitals around the region are setting up triage tents in order to help avoid cross-contamination. This is a precaution in case there are a large number of sick people coming to the hospital, or if the hospital becomes short staffed. The City of Rockford put out a statement saying:

"You may see tents set up at local hospitals. These tents are provided by local MABAS (Mutual Aid Box Alarm System) organizations or the hospital to help with our COVID-19 operations. MABAS provides emergency rapid response and sustained operations when a jurisdiction or region is stricken by a large event, including a pandemic. Hospitals may use these tents for triage, testing or overflow operations in the coming days."

"Patients could come in with anything from critical life threatening problems to just walking wounded who have nothing to do with COVID or upper respiratory tract infections or fevers," Dr. Cole.

The tents will be used as a first line triage facility. A triage is place where medical staff can assess the urgency of illnesses and where patients should be directed for further help. Right now, the tents are not being used, and hospital staff say they hope won't be needed at all.

"Somebody who is in charge is eventually going to pull that trigger and decided to start using this. But it is going to be a day by day, hour by hour, assessment," said Dr. Cole