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Provident Hospital Emergency Room To Reopen Monday After Changes To Improve Social Distancing

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Provident Hosptial will reopen its emergency room on Monday, following two weeks of renovations to allow for necessary social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Operations were suspended in the emergency room on April 3 after a staffer tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The emergency room was closed entirely three days later, after public health officials determined it was impossible to maintain proper social distancing with the existing configuration.

While the emergency room has been closed the rest of the hospital has remained open, and treated approximately 1,000 patients, according to Cook County Health. Arriving patients with emergency needs have been triaged, and either directed to a nearby hospital, to Stroger Hospital, or treated by a doctor at Provident.

Cook County Health officials said the emergency room has been reconfigured with new seating, including a designated area for patients suspected of having COVID-19.

The Bronzeville hospital also has created mobile registration units to reduce crowding, and reconfigured nurses' workstations to meet social distancing guidelines. Officials also have designated new triage, exam, and isolation areas for COVID-19 patients, created separate workrooms for doctors and staff, and installed a new communication system to allow safe interactions between patients and staff.

The county said emergency room services would resume at Provident Hospital at 7 a.m. on Monday.

Nurses at the hospital have protested the decision to close the ER, calling it dangerous, and saying the move was made without sufficient notice or consultation.

Earlier this year, plans to build an entirely new $240 million eight-story facility for Provident Hospital were put on hold while Cook County Health looks for a new CEO.

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