Prince George’s County has been Maryland’s hardest-hit county in the pandemic, with more than 78,000 coronavirus cases reported. And now, new hospital resources are on the way to help care for more patients in a more efficient way.
A new emergency department is opening soon at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center in Clinton.
“The new space adds 18,000 square feet to our emergency care environment,” said Dr. Chile Ahaghotu, the hospital’s vice president of medical affairs. “We’re really excited about it.”
The facility has been under construction since 2019, before the pandemic started.
It is officially scheduled to open Thursday, April 8.
“We have gone through this major renovation during the height of the pandemic,” Ahaghotu noted. “It’ll definitely allow us to manage COVID more effectively.”
The pandemic prompted the hospital to make changes to its construction plans while the project was underway, adding more “negative pressure rooms” that are specifically designed to contain infectious particles.
Before the pandemic, the plan was to have four of those rooms. Instead, there will now be 27.
Kristin Quade, the hospital’s emergency department nurse director, said the new facility is like a beacon of light for her team.
“Being able to have them move to a new space is going to be a huge morale boost for them,” Quade said.
The new space includes a dedicated area to treat behavioral health patients, designated safe spaces for treating victims of sexual assault and two rooms to treat serious trauma patients.
A new specialized area to diagnose and treat patients exposed to dangerous pathogens, such as Ebola, will open this summer.
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