Palmetto Health hospital deploys temporary mobile unit due to influx of flu patients

Due to a sharp increase in patient volume as the flu season rages on, Columbia, S.C.-based Palmetto Health Richland opened a mobile unit Thursday to help with the influx of flu-related cases, according to The State.

The hospital will use a temporary mobile medical unit, provided by the Department of Health and Environmental Control's Midlands Public Health Coalition, to expedite the discharge of patients. Providers will not give medical treatment in the unit. It will be used for patients who are well enough to go home and are awaiting discharge — effectively freeing up beds sooner.

"As part of our response, we have initiated visitor restrictions, changed the flow of patients with cold or flu-like symptoms and created additional capacity throughout our hospital system," the hospital said in a statement, according to The State.

Palmetto Health Richland is not the only hospital in the nation increasing capacity to aid with the influx of flu patients. In the past two weeks, Atlanta-based Grady Memorial Hospital set up a mobile emergency department to manage an overflow of patients and Allentown, Pa.-based Lehigh Valley Health Network hospitals in Salisbury Township, Pa. and Bethlehem, Pa., added temporary surge tents to handle influxes of flu cases.

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