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U of U hospital sets up negative pressure tents in case of coronavirus

Posted at 8:34 PM, Mar 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-12 21:57:14-04

SALT LAKE CITY — University of Utah Health has built negative pressure tents outside University Hospital to be prepared if patients with suspected COVID-19 come to the hospital.

The purpose of these structures is so patients can be screened without the risk of spreading the virus to others in the hospital.

The tents themselves are called BLU-MED tents and are completely self-sustaining.

They can run completely autonomous to the hospital itself and are built to withstand any weather conditions including 100 mph winds.

The air inside them is cleaned through HEPA filters and recycled 15-17 times per hour which is well above industry standards.

"In about 30 minutes and we're operational, we are ready to manage patient care in here," said Phillip Chaffe the Senior Director of Emergency Management for University of Utah Health. "The tent is unique that it is very safe... it is a very physically sound structure."

This all seems potentially scary, but University Health feels quite the opposite.

"For us it provides an extra level of comfort and peace of mind," Allison Flynn Gaffney with University of Utah Health said. "We know that we are positioned and able to surge and manage whatever does come our way."

Of the university's five tents, they have only built 1 1/2 tents and say they can build more at a moment's notice if they become needed.