Hospitals are on the frontline at a historic time for the world. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic ravages thousands of people from nearly every continent. As a result, governments have issued shelter-in-place warnings, restricted social gatherings, encouraged frequent handwashing and social distancing – even mandated reductions to in-person employment. Although the world seemingly pauses to “flatten the curve,” hospital systems are expanding cleanrooms to handle the influx of COVID-19 patients.
On March 24, 2020, the live map of COVID-19-positive cases by Johns Hopkins University and Medicine documented 410,000 cases of COVID-19 globally and 18,300 related deaths.
In early March, USA Today analyzed data. It found that America’s coronavirus trajectory was trending towards similar numbers to the dire state of Italy. Italy has had nearly 70,000 recorded coronavirus cases and 6,800 deaths. One projection estimated that as many as 214 million people in the United States could be infected. With up to 20 million requiring hospitalizations throughout the epidemic. According to the American Hospital Association, the United States has 924,000 hospital beds, with less than 11% (98,000) available for intensive care. Anticipated demand is expected to exceed available beds, creating a gap in cleanroom solutions.
New York has more than 25,500 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of March 24. That is higher than any other state in the country. As a result, Governor Andrew Cuomo has mandated hospitals increase their bed capacity by 50%, intending to order 100% bed capacity at all facilities. He has also called on the National Guard and building developers to convert existing facilities – dormitories and former nursing homes, for example – into makeshift hospitals to add 9,000 beds for future patients with COVID-19.
What Is Needed to Convert Buildings for Hospital Use?
When converting buildings into isolation rooms to help stage patients, one must consider many aspects, including air supply, exhaust systems, pressurization and controls, power generation, and filtration.
To ensure steady air flow, patient comfort, and adequate ventilation filtration systems that prevent infected airborne particles from spreading. Even through the ventilation systems to other rooms and parts of the building. Experts must check, upgrade, and commission proper heating and cooling units.
Facilities designate entire units for COVID-19 patients to limit exposure to other floor units. The number of air changes per hour depending on the treatment type. For example, a standard patient room has six air changes per hour to circulate the air. However, the isolation room demands 12 air changes per hour. Therefore, high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters must filter the air in these rooms to prevent airborne spread.
The Centers for Disease Control does not require automatic placement in an AIIR room. Still, healthcare providers should house COVID-19 patients in the same room for the hospital stay with limited exposure outside their room.
However, healthcare providers should use AIIR rooms for patients undergoing aerosol-generating procedures.
Stark Tech’s Cleanroom Solutions Group
We provide a wide range of cleanroom technologies to support temporary hospital units. We are prepared to meet the increasing demand for hospital bed capacity at operational facilities over the coming months.
Healthway offers a product line called Disinfecting Filtration System (DFS) that removes germs from the air beyond typical HEPA-rated filters. The product line can retrofit with any HVAC system to achieve 99.99% filtration efficiency down to 0.007 microns. It surpasses the ability to filter out the coronavirus, which passes through filters at 0.0902 microns.
Hospitals plan to have small-scale and large-scale surges in bed demand, including converting rooms to unfavorable pressure rooms that can support patients on mechanical ventilation machines as a lifesaving procedure. Moreover, negative-pressure ventilation reduces incidences of severe complications. Stark Tech’s Intelligent Building Solutions can program controls to accommodate the switch from positive to negative pressurization in the facility.
Integration teams and equipment distributors will be crucial in quickly implementing these changes.
For more information or support in converting buildings to temporary hospitals and cleanrooms, please call us at 716.693.4490.