UCH preparing for solar eclipse
With as many as 200,000 additional people expected to be in Southern Illinois during the solar eclipse weekend, emergency management agencies and local authorities throughout the area have been meeting to insure plans are in place to address any problems that may arise.
Union County Hospital in Anna is no exception.
“The hospital is taking a pro-active approach to the upcoming solar eclipse event. We want to be ready to serve not only our community, but the anticipated large influx of visitors, as well,” Union County Hospital CEO Jim Farris said in a news release.
“Our team has been working over the past couple of months to have backup plans in place in the event of a crisis,” Farris said.
“When this many people converge into such a small geographic area there is greater potential for a medical, environmental or even human triggered disaster to occur.
“We want the community to be assured UCH is taking the steps necessary to be prepared in the event they need health care services.”
Union County Hospital, in partnership with the Union County Ambulance Service, will assist in providing staff for first aid tents during the four-day event from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
A tent will be located in downtown Alto Pass and another one in the northeastern part of Union County near Blue Sky Vineyard.
Southern Seven Health Department is assisting with a first aid tent at the Cross of Peace on Bald Knob Mountain near Alto Pass, as well.
“I am sure most local residents have already seen the tips on being prepared for the solar eclipse weekend,” Farris said.
“The hospital reiterates the importance of checking and, if necessary, filling any medications prior to August 18.
To safely view the solar eclipse, it is a priority to obtain the special-purpose solar filter eye protection from a reputable source. Regular sunglasses will not provide proper protection.
“We want to encourage anyone needing routine medical services, such as lab draws, to get those done before or after the four day event. This will help with any congestion in the event of an emergency.”
Beginning on Friday, Aug. 18, and continuing through Monday, Aug. 21, the hospital will have signs outside of the facility directing any patients needing out-patient services, such as lab draws or radiology services, as well as visitors, to enter at the Convenient Care Clinic, CCC, entrance by the flagpole.
Registration staff will be located in the lobby outside of the CCC to assist those patients and visitors.
Patients needing to access the Convenient Care Clinic will be able to do so using the same designated entrance by the flagpole.
Patients needing emergency room services will need to report to the ER entrance on the northeast side of the hospital at the top of the hill.
Union County Hospital reminds everyone that the hospital parking lots are reserved for hospital business only and not for thru-traffic, eclipse parking or viewing.
The hospital emphasizes that it is important for patients and ambulances to be able to readily access the hospital in a safe and quick manner.
Should an emergency crisis happen, Union County Hospital will share relevant information with the community through its website at UnionCountyHospital.com and the hospital Facebook page, as well as through local media.