ST. GEORGE — Volunteers from multiple agencies, including the St. George Fire Department, Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare, gathered on Sunday to tear down the latter’s BLU-MED tents at St. George Regional Hospital.
The tents were erected in the heart of the hospital campus more than a year ago to help Intermountain Healthcare manage potential crises – namely, running out of intensive care unit beds as the result of surges in COVID-19 cases.
“They were there in case of overflow,” said St. George Fire Department Battalion Chief Brad Esplin. “They were also used for mass vaccinations.”
The tents were ultimately never used for COVID-19 overflow as the hospital opted to use other floors of the main building when the ICU and the hospital itself ultimately did fill beyond capacity in December. The tents did serve a purpose as the COVID-19 vaccination site for hospital staff as well as members of the public.
Utah Department of Health’s director of specialty systems of care and education, Brett Cross, helped take down the tents as well. They were bought by the Utah Department of Health in 2008, Cross said.