Why Has Wake Forest Baptist Opened Respiratory Symptom Clinics and Set Up Tents Outside Emergency Departments?

As part of our COVID-19 preparation and planning, Wake Forest Baptist Health has opened 10 respiratory symptom clinics throughout the region. People with respiratory illness symptoms should first call their primary care provider for telephone screening to determine whether they need to be seen in person at one of these clinics. If they do not have a primary care provider, they can call Wake Forest Baptist’s hotline at 336-70-COVID for telephone screening to determine if the symptoms can safely be managed at home or if the patient needs to be seen in person.

If the patient needs to be seen in person, the patient will be asked to come to one of the respiratory symptom clinics for further evaluation.  

In addition, we have set up triage assessment spaces (tents and existing office space) adjacent to our emergency departments. These triage assessment spaces provide separate waiting and care areas for patients who are experiencing respiratory symptoms as the alternative to seeking care in our emergency departments.  Emergency department staff are directing and evaluating patients to these dedicated spaces to limit exposure to staff and patients inside of the facility. 

These actions, in addition to our previous decision to postpone elective surgeries, have helped lower the census at our hospitals, opened up more beds on inpatient units and created greater capacity for staff who are ready to provide care. 

Wake Forest Baptist Health is carefully and expertly preparing to treat patients throughout the COVID-19 situation. The actions are all protective measures to keep our patients and staff safe as we meet the health care needs of the communities we serve.