Jun 19 2020

Beginning next week, Mercer Health will begin taking down the medical surge tents located at Mercer County Community Hospital in Coldwater.  In March, Mercer Health erected the tents in preparation for an influx of COVID-19 patients.  Jenny Conn, Director of Emergency and Outpatient Services and Disaster Coordinator at Mercer Health, states, “Fortunately, our hospital has not been overwhelmed and if needed at a later date, the tents can be reconstructed should demand for additional space arise.” 

Dr. John Terpstra, Chief of Staff at Mercer Health cautioned that the tent removals should not be construed as recommendations for people to start ignoring social distancing.  “While we have not needed the tents to date, this in no way should be interpreted as an endorsement of relaxing our social distancing measures,” Terpstra said.  “The Stay at Home orders and the actions of the community have been hugely beneficial and quite honestly have probably saved lives.”

Lisa Klenke, CEO at Mercer Health, shares, “The directive back in March was to quickly double occupancy to adequately prepare to provide crisis care for the community.  A quick response was necessary to separate the sickest patients and prevent further spread.  We would rather error on the side of preparing for the worst, especially when we know the potential COVID patients were our own – our friends, family and neighbors.  We were not going to wait for regional or state assistance.  Locally we pride ourselves on taking initiative and using our local resources to provide healthcare services to our community.” 

Klenke continues, “The COVID situation has evolved and the systems of care, locally and regionally, have done so much to prepare for outbreaks.  Now, we have had time to develop plans and processes providing other alternatives to meet potential surges in the future.  We have had the opportunity to really get things set up to separate patients with COVID-like symptoms and those without within the hospital and other Mercer Health locations.  We are hopeful that our community will continue to follow social distancing protocols to stop the spread, however we now have comprehensive action plans to manage the situation and would really hope to use the tents only as a last resort.”

Klenke concludes, “We are so grateful for the ongoing support of our community.  The generosity of so many has not gone unnoticed.  We thank the City of Celina for lending and helping erect the tents and the Village of Coldwater for their assistance as well.  There are so many to thank, including community businesses and individuals that donated resources, food and other items.  And, last, and definitely far from least, we thank the community, for continuing to following the protocols to keep our community safe.”

For up-to-date COVID-19 information visit: www.mercer-health.com.