COVID-19 News

USACE, ERDC create prototype hospital rooms to ease COVID-19 crowding

The US Army Corps of Engineers has had to be creative in looking for ways to accommodate COVID-19 patients while many medical facilities are reaching capacity.

In recent weeks, the Corps has converted hotels into temporary hospitals and large convention centers into facilities that can house hundreds of patients. The third and fourth options the Corps is exploring involve a team from the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

On Monday, Commanding General of the USACE Lt. Gen Todd Semonite called on ERDC and its Directorate of Public Works to build two prototypes of hospital rooms that could be quickly deployed throughout the country. The two prototypes were designed by the US Army Engineering and Support Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and sent to the ERDC for construction and testing—to be completed within 24 hours.

One prototype is built from scratch using metal-frame construction; the other involves converting an existing POD storage unit. Each prototype is designed to accommodate one patient and can be used for COVID and non-COVID patients. Each room has a ventilation system to provide negative pressure, a necessity when dealing with an airborne virus. Both have plexiglass doors, and viewing areas near the door for medical personnel to observe patients.

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