Hospitals get ready for influx of people during the eclipse

Posted at 10:11 PM, Jul 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-11 12:28:00-04

Weiser is getting ready for a flood of tourists from around the globe. All coming to watch the total solar eclipse on August 21st. 6o to 70 thousand people are expected to crowd the tiny streets, Chuck Lamm hopes to make some cash with his custom made t-shirts.

"I ordered 288 of them and I hope I don't have enough," said Lamm.

With so many visitors, Chuck and others are fearing for the worst and hoping for the best. Local hospital officials have been meeting once a month to plan and prepare. Starting the weekend before the eclipse, Saint Alphonsus Ontario say they'll be bringing in extra supplies and staff into the hospital and at their Fruitland urgent care center. They are also canceling all elective procedures to focus on emergency care. Doctors and staff will also be staying at the hospital overnight so they can be on hand at a moments notice. They fear heavy traffic could grind things to a halt.

"Wanting to make sure we got enough staff here so we may have to stabilize and keep patients here longer than normal because of the freeway being too congested," said Ken Hart of Saint Alphonsus Ontario. 

One life-saving medicine they're making sure is on hand is anti-venom for snake bikes. When it comes to rattlesnakes, minutes can be the difference between life and death. Saint Alphonsus Ontario normally carries two antidotes on hand, but during the eclipse, they will have ten.

"We have snakes in this area so if were not prepared for something like that, we want to be over prepared and make sure that we're  extra cautious," said Hart.

Health officials are asking the public traveling to Weiser to come early, bring extra food and water and use safety glasses while viewing the eclipse.

"I just hope that everything goes safe and sane and everything we'll be all right and we'll make it through without too many problems," said Lamm.

You can pick up a pair of eclipse glasses for free. Libraries across the Treasure Valley are handing them out in preparation for the big day. The total eclipse will be visible in Weiser at 11:25 am and will last just over two minutes.