Advanced medical tents being set up

Dorchester Banner/Dave Ryan
The advanced medical tent at UM Shore Medical Center at Dorchester is being assembled in the parking lot across from the emergency entrance.

CAMBRIDGE — Advanced medical tents will replace the triage tents that had been installed earlier this month at UM Shore Medical Centers at Chestertown, Dorchester and Easton, hospital officials announced on Thursday.

Provided to hospitals across the state by the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and the Maryland Department of Health (MDH), the new advanced medical tents will be used to supplement UM Shore Regional Health’s surge capacity plans. The new tents have arrived at the Dorchester and Easton hospitals and are in the process of being assembled. The Chestertown tent was expected to arrive within a matter of days.

Once ready for use, the new tents will accommodate patients presenting for emergency care during a surge. Patients directed to the tents will be evaluated by UM Shore Medical Group providers. Care provided in the advanced medical tents does not include testing for COVID-19, as UM SRH hospitals are not designated as outpatient testing sites.

According to Beth Copp, regional manager, Emergency Preparedness for UM SRH, MEMA worked with a team of health care facility planners to determine the best type of structure and how to outfit it to be most useful. “The advanced medical tents are approximately 30 x 60 feet with hard walls and floors,” Ms. Copp said. “They are designed to function as a 10-bed unit, complete with a nurses’ station, bathroom, running water, heating and air conditioning, lighting, data drops, and a ramp for patient access.”

The advanced medical tents can be connected to the hospital’s electric power but also include a generator. A wastewater tank will be maintained by a sanitation company, and the hospitals’ vendor will supply oxygen and medical air.
“These tents will be a big improvement because in addition to the amenities they include, they are climate-controlled and much more weather- and wind-resistant,” Ms. Copp said.

Installation of the new tents should be completed within five to seven days after delivery. UM SRH nursing staff members participating in the hospitals’ surge planning are reviewing equipment needed for operationalization.
As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.