At a time when staff say patient numbers in the ER are at an all-time high, Community Memorial Hospital is unveiling its new and improved Emergency Department.

“The space is just, it’s amazing compared to the dingy hole we were in before,” said Bernie Casscles, director of emergency services.

Casscles' has been working at the hospital since 2005. She says the bigger space is making it easier to social distance in the waiting room and move around throughout the entire department.

The trauma room has some new tools and is much larger.

“This is about twice the size we had originally in the old Emergency Department to take care of somebody who is severely ill. We also have a lift for somebody who is bariatric weight,” Casscles said.

The renovations also include a redesigned parking area for ambulances.

“It was circular so it was very difficult. This allows for them to pull forward and back straight into position,” Casscles said.

And security improvements, important for staff especially as patient numbers rise.

“With ongoing training and ongoing situational awareness we can provide a safer environment for our patients and our staff,” said Chief Medical Officer Michael Walsh.

Another new feature is a decontamination room.

“It’s one of those things that they don’t think about when they spill pool chemicals or any kind of acid and it splashes up on their skin. It should be washed off as quickly and with as much water as possible, and this allows to do that,” said Casscles.

Some staff say they didn’t know this day was going to come, but here it is and it couldn’t have come at a more needed time. The hospital’s CEO and President is thankful for the staff’s hard work while getting to this point.

“I want to take a moment to thank our staff and providers for continuing to move through this construction project with us,” said Community Memorial Hospital President and CEO Jeff Coakley. “Now that we’re in this space we’re welcoming community members. We’re thankful for everything that our providers and staff continue to do to support our community during this pandemic.”

The work being done at Community Memorial is part of a $31 million project. The hospital unveiled a new med surge unit earlier this year. Staff say they’ll be adding new radiology, laboratory, and physical therapy spaces.