As the need for COVID-19 testing grows, a triage screening space is now open outside the Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital Emergency Department.

“It’s a dedicated space for patients with symptoms that could be related to COVID-19,” said Nicholas Kuhl, MD, an emergency care physician. “Anyone that feels they have a cough, shortness of breath or fever, and needs emergency level care can be treated safely in this space.”

Patients who feel they are too sick to care for themselves at home can get walk-up emergency services.

“This tent is an extension of our emergency department,” Nancy Schwallier, vice president of Acute Care and Continuing Care.

“The medical team will evaluate their symptoms on site and order the test they deem appropriate based on that evaluation,” Schwallier said.

The screening space is fully staffed with doctors, nurses and medical technicians. Every effort is being made to protect the safety of patients and team members. Care spaces are sanitized after each patient is evaluated and equipment is cleaned after each use.

The screening space was soon thereafter replicated at all of Spectrum Health’s local and regional hospital emergency rooms.

“Many patients are being diagnosed with influenza still in our community,” Dr. Kuhl said, “which has a very similar symptom presentation.”

“If you feel you can stay home and care for yourself there, as the CDC recommends,” Dr. Kuhl said, “then our best tool for you is the Spectrum Health Now online web evaluation” followed by drive-through specimen collection, if the provider sends you for testing.

“But if you are able,” Dr. Kuhl said, “stay at home and help prevent the spread of this illness.”