Kittitas County, WA – 04/10/2020 – Kittitas Valley Healthcare (KVH) continues to prepare for a COVID-19 medical surge in our county. The most recent effort is a new triage tent facility that sits outside of the hospital. Initiation of the temporary triage facility will be based on the amount of patients entering the Emergency Department, amount of patients waiting for transport or admissions wait times, et cetera. Signage will notify anyone entering the Emergency Department when the triage tent is in operation.
The concept is to provide a secured and staffed location as a screening point before entering the facility in order to keep all patients and employees safe.  Patients will be triaged based on whether they have symptoms of COVID-19.  Patients will also be screened to see if the medical need can be addressed in a non-emergency location.

KVH Emergency Department and Facilities staff have worked closely with the Kittitas County Incident Management Team to get the resources necessary for triage, including the tent itself.    In addition to the temporary triage facility, it was necessary for a physical barrier to be constructed within the hospital in order to physically separate hospital spaces.  After being triaged based on symptoms, patients will be escorted through separate portions of the building.

KVH is always ready for a surge in medical needs and is well versed with using additional personnel and resources to respond accordingly.  Additional measures in place specific to COVID-19 preparation include adding security personnel and advanced planning, which includes using a cohort system where patients who are positive will be placed in the same location within the hospital.

“Versatility is crucial for our response,” states Emergency Services Director Dede Utley, RN.  “We are coordinating with everyone in our agency to use all of our resources and will continue to provide quality healthcare.”

On April 9, KVH was visited by Vice Admiral (ret.) Raquel Bono, Director of COVID-19 Health System Response Management in Washington State. The level of preparedness in Kittitas County and our healthcare system’s strong response and readiness capabilities were highlighted, specifically the hospital’s thoughtful planning and timely implementation of COVID-specific protocol. In addition to healthcare worker dedication and foresight, KVH cited crucial partnerships, like their partnership with the Kittitas County Public Health Department, and the outpouring of community support and donations of cloth masks and gowns, as contributing factors to the current level of preparedness at the hospital.

If you have questions about surge capacity, please visit the incident response page at and read Dr. Larson’s Q and A from March 26. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your healthcare provider or you can call the Temporary COVID Clinic at KVH at 509-933-8850. Please watch our county website along with our social media for more information or you can call the Emergency Operation Center at 509-933-8315 or 509-933-8305.