Collaboration offers solutions to curbing the spread of the Coronavirus
The world-wide spread of the coronavirus was certainly a wake-up call for most of us. We acknowledged the concerns that would soon follow – stopping the spread of the virus, managing and treating those with the virus, and keeping medical staff safe and protected. Along with social distancing, all would play a major part in keeping the virus at bay. The key question became, how could our healthcare facilities prepare to manage an influx of COVID-19 patients and segregate the healthy from those with symptoms? And, do this as quickly as possible.

Rapid response: an early exchange of ideas
Early collaboration was needed to share concerns, ideas, and ultimately find solutions. Aurora Advocate Health and The Boldt Company, led by its Central Operations group, took a team approach and began what would be the first of many virtual conversations to move the project from concept to construction. When in-person meetings were no longer an option, technology took over.  Virtual meetings, often with 100 or more in attendance, provided the platform where knowledge and ideas could be shared. And ultimately, a solution would be found.

Within days, the teams delivered and set up 26 fully-outfitted emergency department overflow surge tents to Aurora Advocate Health locations across Illinois and Wisconsin. Composed of aluminum tube frames with heavy and fire-retardant treated vinyl fabric, the tents are designed to withstand up to 100 mph winds.

Looks like a tent, but functions like a clinic
Unassuming on the outside, a triage clinic on the inside. Inside they are equipped with power, telecommunications, temperature controls, water, and mechanical and electrical systems designed to ensure patients with emergencies that are unrelated to COVID-19 are triaged to the emergency department, while those that show signs of the virus remained separated from regular hospital traffic. From patient registration, to waiting room space and examination bays, the traffic flow was designed to help streamline activities and increase efficiency, while decreasing the potential of exposure to the virus.
On the inside, curtain-like partitions can be easily adjusted or moved to accommodate changing surge needs. Personal Protection Equipment Stations are located throughout the tent—near the entrance, in the center and another at the exit. Mobile workstations are available for each of the exam pods with an additional workstation near the exit for physicians. Healthcare workers have the tools they need readily available to protect themselves while assisting others.

Problem solved
Collaboration between expert teams, all well-versed in healthcare design and construction, proved to be instrumental in finding a temporary solution to managing an influx of COVID-19 patients and identifying and segregating the healthy from those with symptoms.