The Investigators: Nurses prepare for surge in patients seeking tests, care

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Tennessee Nurses Association said today that it is preparing for a deluge of patients seeking testing or care during the coronavirus pandemic.

Baptist Memorial Hospital said nurses will work four 12-hour shifts per week as part of their emergency plan.

“More patients will be coming in, more patients will need to be triaged,” said Kathleen Murphy, Director of Government Affairs for the TNA. “In Tennessee this is hitting as we’re finishing up the flu season, as seasonal allergies are coming up and so when we have multiple health situations with similar symptoms, there are going to be a lot of people who are going to want to get tested and screened just to be on the safe side.”

At Baptist Memorial, 56 patients have been tested for COVID-19 and one person tested positive.

16 patients have tested negative, and they are waiting for results on the other 39. Of those 39 people, 7 are in the hospital in isolation. The rest of these people are at home under self-quarantine.

“Nurses and healthcare providers and the public need to have patience with each other as we proceed forward through this. This is what healthcare professionals train for is situations like this,” said Murphy. They have procedures and protocols in place for what they would have to do if they do need to move outside of the traditional healthcare settings."

Baptist Memorial said it has all appropriate personal protective equipment to care for patients in isolation for any reason, including COVID-19, and will receive daily deliveries of supplies.

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