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News Feature

Blue Hill
Originally published in Castine Patriot, October 15, 2020 and Island Ad-Vantages, October 15, 2020 and The Weekly Packet, October 15, 2020
Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital changes campus
Providing safe, fast testing

Northern Light Primary Care staff have worked under a small pop-up tent for the past few months providing in-car curbside assessments and administering COVID-19 tests. Drawing upon established best practices, the hospital is making necessary changes to its facilities to underscore its commitment to accurate, safe, COVID-19 testing and patient treatment.

Testing activity has increased, as all pre-operative patients are tested prior to scheduled procedures, and the availability for state-supplied test options for those without symptoms has grown alongside the continued need to test symptomatic patients. As temperatures and weather become increasingly unpleasant and unpredictable, delivering outdoor services is challenging.

To prepare for flu season combined with an anticipated steadily growing need for testing and patient assessments, Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital is erecting a wooden drive-through structure to use for in-car safe, fast testing. In addition, the hospital is preparing several specially equipped respiratory clinic exam rooms in the Sussman Health Center.

“We need a safe place for symptomatic patients to be examined and treated, and this will serve our patients well,” VP Senior Physician Executive Mike Murnik, MD, said in a news release. “By creating these special rooms, symptomatic and asymptomatic patients will not mingle. With a dedicated entrance, skilled providers and staff, appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment), and properly ventilated rooms, we will be able to appropriately care for, diagnose, and treat those in our community experiencing illness.”

The temporary structure will have heating and air-conditioning, protecting staff, technology, and equipment from the elements. Use of the new drive-through structure and dedicated assessment/ respiratory care rooms in the Sussman Health Center are expected to start in early to mid-November.