CHI St. Vincent builds temporary emergency facility for influx of COVID-19 patients


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — Record numbers of COVID-19 cases were reported following the holidays. Now, those cases are trickling into hospitals. CHI St. Vincent built a temporary facility to treat the influx of patients.

As the holiday decorations are coming down, the coronavirus cases are on the rise in the Spa City with more than 800 active cases reported in Garland County.

“Unfortunately, a percentage of those are getting more sick and have to be in the hospital,” CHI St. Vincent-Hot Springs President Dr. Douglas Ross said. 

According to Ross, in the last couple of weeks the hospital is constantly full of patients.

“We’ve had sometimes where patients both COVID emergencies and non COVID emergencies have shown up all at the same time and we’ve actually had to implement part of our surg plan where we would treat patients in different locations in the hospital,” Dr. Ross said.

Now, they are taking that plan even further.

“I think the key with the COVID pandemic is to always be prepared. We really felt that if we could expand our square footage if we could get another area of care that we could turn on and off as needed,” Ross said. 

They built an extension to their emergency department where staff can start treating patients when their ER is full.

“It’s really an opportunity for us to get our first look at these patients, rapidly assess them and determine what portion of the emergency department patients need to go,” Ross said. 

Dr. Ross hopes the cases start to fall but if not, this is a way to continue providing the same level of care.

“Taking all the steps necessary to make sure that we can keep that front door open and meet the Community’s needs,” Ross said. 

The temporary emergency facility is located right next to the ER. They can activate it anytime the emergency department is full.

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