Construction is almost complete on the new temporary medical unit at the Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville. Once finished, this unit will feature twenty individual rooms and all the equipment necessary for continued treatment of patients with COVID-19.
The plan is for the unit to function just like a floor of NGMC currently treating patients for COVID-19. Staff will have access to technology and medical equipment just like inside the hospital. Each room in the unit has its own bedroom and bathroom and negative pressure system to filter air quality.
In addition, the unit includes two rooms designated for hemodialysis treatment, which can be vital for some patients suffering from the virus.
This temporary medical unit resembles a shipping container comprised of several pieces fastened together. The unit arrived earlier this month in 44 pieces from a company in Wisconsin and construction crews have worked constantly to put it together.
The unit was purchased by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency under an order of Governor Brian Kemp.
According to Matthew Crumpton, manager of Emergency Preparedness for Northeast Georgia Health System, the unit will provide several benefits for NGMC. The medical center has been at the center of Hall County’s status as a hotspot for several weeks now.
“We’ll be able to utilize the mobile unit to cohort our COVID-19 patients to try to keep out surgical and cardiac floors more clean from COVID-19 patients versus the way it is now,” said Crumpton.
Crumpton explained that due to the large volume of COVID-19 patients that have came to the hospital, medical staff have had to spread these patients throughout various areas of the building. Now that the medical unit has arrived, staff can transfer patients to the unit and create greater distance between COVID and non-COVID patients.
Crumpton said that patients who are transferred out to the unit will be from the hospital’s Medical/Surgical Unit.
Staff from the fifth floor of the South Patient Tower in the Medical/Surgical Unit will be reassigned to care for patients in the unit. Crumpton said this group of staff was temporarily dispersed throughout the hospital after their unit was converted in an Intensive Care Unit.
“This will give them a permanent home to work in so it will be the same team and the same team dynamics they had when they were on the fifth floor of the South Patient Tower,” said Crumpton.
Health system staff announced earlier this month that they are resuming elective surgeries, which were put on hold with an increased need for bed space. Crumpton said that he hopes patients will resume necessary surgeries once they hear the medical unit is open and there is a decreased risk of exposure to COVID-19.
“It gives us the ability to safely take care of patients within our community, give them services they need whether they’re inpatient or outpatient and then give them a safe place within our facility,” said Crumpton.
As of this week, construction staff were still working to resolve issues relating to the negative pressure systems before transferring patients the unit. The unit is expected to be completely operational within the next few weeks.