Hospitals prepare ‘negative-pressure rooms’ for COVID-19 patients

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization will be placed in isolation in “negative-pressure rooms.”

Hospitals in central Ohio have been preparing for the arrival of those patients for weeks.

Negative-pressure rooms are specifically designed for patients with contagious diseases. The rooms look similar to regular rooms, but any air circulating in the room is contained and not released into any other part of the hospital.

Jo Henman, director of infection prevention at OhioHealth, said a negative-pressure room is kept airtight.

“It has its own dedicated exhaust system and it is exhausted at the top of the building, but only after it goes through a special filter that filters out 99.97 percent of anything in the air,” Henman said.

Henman said Ohio Health has 85 inpatient negative-pressure rooms available and the ability to create more if needed.

“You can use portable HEPA filters which are high-efficiency particulate airflow filters that will allow you to put it in a regular room and create the same negative airflow,” Henman said.

Henman said staff members will wear a gown, mask, face shield and gloves every time they enter the room.

“Our plan for COVID-19 patients is to have dedicated cohort staff, so if we have one patient, then we have one nurse that would care for that patient and they would not care for any other patients for that shift,” Henman said.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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