SwedishAmerican staff participate in COVID-19 emergency preparedness drill

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Life-saving skills are put to the test at SwedishAmerican Hospital during a coronavirus preparedness drill.

"We want to know we can get this right and the way to do it is to practice," said James Coles, SwedishAmerican Trauma Director.

Cole says patients are first categorized by COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.

"The initial goal is to segregate those two populations to not cross-contaminate the groups," Cole said.

Then patients are sent to specific areas of the hospital-based on their symptoms.

"We have an actual COVID wing and we have a non-COVID area as well," Cole said.

"I think it's important that staff know and can see that we do have a plan if there's a surge in COVID patients," Sue Thompson, SwedishAmerican emergency services director.

Thompson says being able to test out a plan allows staff to find errors..and fix them before disaster strikes.

"So already we know we will have to have some lines or directions on the pavement so folks will be more cautious of that social distance," Thompson said.

It also gives staff confidence.

"This is an extraordinary series of events and this just allows staff to see in a true emergency how we can move patients safely throughout the health system," Thompson said.

SwedishAmerican is the first HealthSystem in the region to run a preparedness drill for COVID-19 at the hospital.