MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — Mercy Health Muskegon is removing the temporary tent that is set up outside the Emergency Department. It was used as a waiting room for roughly the last three weeks.

The climate-controlled, nurse-staffed tent was set up at the beginning of December as a waiting room when COVID-19 cases were surging, but hospital officials said they were hoping they wouldn’t need to use it. On Jan. 7, it was put into use.

Twenty days later, the hospital will stop using it because the volume of patients has decreased, Mercy Health said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is unfortunately not over yet, so we are still looking to community members to continue doing their part to help slow the spread,” Justin Grill, chief medical officer of Mercy Health Muskegon, said. “However, these efforts are making a difference. We’ve seen enough of a decrease in our volumes coming into the Emergency Department that we are able to remove the tent and return to using our original waiting room.” 

Mercy Health Muskegon said it is continuing to see an elevated volume of non-urgent and non-emergent care in the Emergency Department, as well as people looking for a COVID-19 test. Hospital officials are asking patients to first call their primary care physician and, if they are not available, to use urgent care for more straightforward medical concerns.