UNC REX setting up surge tents as COVID-19 cases rise

Surge tent outside of UNC REX.

RALEIGH, N.C. — Surge tents are going back up outside of UNC REX as the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise.


What You Need To Know

According to UNC REX, 45 people are currently hospitalized there for COVID-19

Surge tents are being set up outside of the emergency department for extra waiting room space

UNC REX did not end up using the tents last year, but they want to always be prepared


UNC started setting up the tents outside the emergency department Monday, and they should be ready to use by the end of the week. The tents, which have air conditioning, create more space for safe waiting areas. UNC is not planning to put beds in them or use it as a treatment area. The tents were up at UNC REX last year, from late spring to early October, but they didn’t end up using them.

“Part of the reason for that is because as COVID really came on strong, a lot of people didn’t come to the hospital, out of fear for whatever reason, they were holding off on getting medical care. With this surge, we’re not really seeing that. People who were maybe overdue to take care of something are coming into the hospital. Certainly the COVID curve going up so steeply as it has in the recent weeks has ended up with an awful lot of people in the hospital,” Jeffrey Hammerstein, the emergency preparedness coordinator for UNC REX, said.

“It’s discouraging to see that we’re having to go to measures like this again where we’re putting tents back up. We would’ve hoped that we would have been through this and it seemed that maybe that was so in the earlier part of the summer. But as we get later in the year, we’re seeing those numbers back up,” Hammerstein said. “We don’t necessarily know that we’re going to end up having to use these, but we want to be prepared so we can expand and take care of the community the way we need to.”

Hammerstein says there may be longer wait times at the hospital, so UNC is asking people to be patient when they go in for care. There are currently 45 people hospitalized for COVID-19 at UNC REX.

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