JASPER, Ala. (WIAT)– The Jasper Police Department is doing its part to help a local hospital stop the spread of COVID-19.
Officers recently set up several tents at the Walker Baptist Medical Center. When patients come to the emergency room, they’ll be stopped at the entrance and brought into triage tents to be checked for fever, cough, and other coronavirus symptoms.
Triaging patients before they enter the hospitals helps keep the spread of infectious disease to a minimum.
Lt. Matt Dozier said they were happy to help in some way in the fight against the virus.
“As the police department, we’re used to being able to do something to help the community,” Dozier said. “You almost feel helpless with this sort of thing because there’s not much you can do.”
In a statement from the hospital, they expressed their gratitude for the resources.
“We are very thankful for the tents donated by the Jasper Police Department, which have been set up outside of the Emergency Department and are being used for triaging patients who present to our emergency room with a fever, a cough and other indications of coronavirus. We evaluate these patients, segregate them from others and provide them a mask as needed. Walker Baptist Medical Center is committed to keeping our patients, our staff and our community safe. We are in regular contact with county public health officials, and we are updating our response plans as the coronavirus situation evolves.”Walker Baptist Medical System
The military-grade tents were obtained through a federal grant program. Dozier said the department has much larger tents ready to use if the city were to see a surge in COVID-19 cases.
“Thankfully we had the equipment to be able to do that, military equipment, tents. Stuff that we have on hand, and we always want to help out our local hospital,” he said.
Jasper Mayor David O’Mary commended the hospital’s precautionary measures. As of Thursday, Walker County had less than three dozen coronavirus cases.
“You need to keep those possible COVID cases separate, and that’s the way to do it,” O’Mary said.
O’Mary said he wanted to relay the following message to all Jasper healthcare providers: “Thank you. They do a great job, they really step into harm’s way.”
Jasper Police said the larger tents could fill the parking lot, but the hope is that those tents won’t need to be taken out of storage.
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