CMH in Williams Lake has a new ‘negative pressure’ respiratory unit that will be used for patients with suspect or confirmed COVID-19. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Flood repairs result in new COVID-19 respiratory unit at Cariboo Memorial Hospital

Unit will be used for suspect and confirmed cases of COVID-19 required to be admitted

If a patient has to be admitted for COVID-19 at Cariboo Memorial Hospital there is now a brand new ‘negative pressure’ respiratory unit in place.

Back in January of this year a pipe burst in the hospital during a cold snap, which caused flooding and the ultimate closure of the emergency and main entrances to the hospital.

Read more: CMH main entrance reopens, boil water advisory in place due to extreme cold troubles

“After the flood, the ambulatory care unit, along with cardiology, and daycare surgery were hoarded off for repairs,” said Susan Duncan, communications for the Interior Health Authority.

Once the repairs were completed in early March, and with the temporary construction barricades still in place, a decision was made to create a COVID-19 respiratory unit in that area on the main floor, in preparation for all suspect and confirmed cases of COVID-19 patients who are required to be admitted, Duncan said.

“Air handling units that create negative pressure were already in place in that area to remove any construction dust and protect the workers,” she explained, noting negative pressure, which pulls out the air with any viruses in it through high-efficiency particulate air filters, is also required for a respiratory unit.

“That whole area is now a negative pressure unit, which means the rest of the hospital will be used for non-COVID-19 patients. This makes it much safer for all our staff and physicians and our patients presenting to the hospital.”

Those who are not required to be admitted are assessed and sent home to self-isolate, Duncan said.

Last weekend a tent, which is now in use, was erected outside the hospital to assess people who have respiratory symptoms.

Referrals from health care providers are needed to access tent. The public is otherwise asked not to approach.

Read more: COVID-19: Triage tent going up outside of Cariboo Memorial Hospital

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