As more cases of COVID-19 are confirmed in Idaho, hospitals are preparing for the worst. Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls is taking taking precautions to prepare for a surge in patients.

Jeff Sollis says, "Everybody has a role in this pandemic that we're facing."

Jeff Sollis is the CEO of EIRMC. Thursday, he and the hospital's CNO, Tami Frost, explained the roles of the hospital and public during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Frost says, "We do the testing that needs to be done to see: Does that patient meet criteria to go into the acute setting? To be admitted? Or, is this a patient who is tested, given some instructions, and then sent home?"

Most people will not be tested for the coronavirus when they go to a hospital. Doctors first test to see if their symptoms are caused by more common illnesses, like the flu. Keeping patients who do not need to be hospitalized out of the hospital is a way to keep it ready and prepared for the worst case scenario, a surge in COVID-19 patients.

Sollis says, "We've identified locations, we've identified beds and we've identified staffing plans to be prepared for such a surge."

Other surge preparations include being able to move medical staff to areas where they're most needed and strict management of supplies, but it's not just the hospital that needs to be prepared.

The public needs to do its part.

Sollis says, "What we're learning is that actions taken on the front end, like the order that the governor gave us yesterday, will actually get us back to normal life quicker."

That means everyone needs to be on the same page and practice social isolation.

Frost says, "I think that will have a direct impact. We don't know what might come tomorrow, what might change. So, doing our part today is imperative."


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