Mercy hospital preps for possible influx of COVID-19 patients

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) - Mercy Hospital is on the front lines of fighting the coronavirus. 

The hospital is stepping up their game to prepare in case of an influx of COVID-19 patients. 

Tuesday they unveiled the addition of a "zone three."

“We wanted to get ahead of things we wanted to be prepared preparing for worst case scenario,” said Medical Director of Mercy ER Dr. Lance Watson. 

First, they've added a triage outside of their emergency room area. 

Patients will first get screened there, and then medical staff will decided what hospital "zone" that patient needs to be in. 

“We’re separating those patients out and having them come through a separate entrance,” said Dr. Watson.

Inside the hospital, they have a "zone one" for non-COVID patients, and a "zone two" for patients showing symptoms. 

All of this, while the hospital still deals with a limited number of tests. 

“The goal is to try and further separate patients that might have coronavirus or may have been exposed to our coronavirus from our general public population before they get into our hospital,” said Dr. Watson.

The new "zone three" was built outside, in case the hospital has an overflow of COVID-19 patients. 

It adds 8 beds to the pre-existing 28. 

Doctors did tell us they have seen some positive cases come through Mercy, but not enough to need those additional beds yet. 

They also said, unlike so many other metro hospitals, they do have enough protective equipment for their staff. 

“Currently we’re using masks, and when we need to, goggles and shields and gowns,” said Dr. Watson. 

The hospital system also unveiling new telemedicine visits. 

“If through evaluation we feel that they need to be evaluated in a hospital or clinic setting than we’ll be able to do that in the moment and tell them where to go,” said Dr. Jesse Campbell, Chief Administrative Officer of Mercy Clinics. 

Again, staff are trying to eliminate the number of patients inundating the emergency rooms. 

Mercy still putting plans in place to prepare for a possible sky-rocket in numbers. 

“We are working at this moment to determine which clinics we are going to use, as venues of care for patients that might have a respiratory complaint,” said Dr. Campbell. 

For the new virtual visits, pre-existing patients can still see their normal doctors. 

As for drive-thru testing, Mercy staff says they are working with the state agencies for further direction. 

If you are a new patient and think you need an online visit, call any Mercy doctor's office. 

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