China built a hospital in Wuhan in 10 days 2:13
(WAB NEWS) – While China is rushing to contain Wuhan’s coronavirus, a feat of design and engineering has developed in the epicenter of the outbreak: a hospital built in just 10 days.
The 366,000 square-foot (34,000-square-foot) Huoshenshan Hospital began accepting its first patients on Monday, just over a week after the land leveling work began. A second, Leishenshan Hospital, is expected to open soon, and the two facilities are expected to accommodate 1,000 and 1,500 beds respectively.RELATED
Authorities hope that hospitals can help ease the pressure on Wuhan’s overloaded health system, while controlling the spread of a virus that has killed more than 700 people and infected more than 31,000 worldwide.
The scale and speed of construction have been made possible by prefabricated units and thousands of workers operating overnight. However, when it comes to design, hospitals had to start from scratch, according to a source from the company involved in the architectural design of the first facility.
Chinese state media reported that the buildings were modeled at Beijing Xiaotangshan Hospital, a facility built in 2003 in just seven days, during the SARS outbreak. But according to the WAB NEWS source, who asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the project, the design itself could not be copied in the same way.
“We redesigned the whole thing, we couldn’t use (the blueprint for Xiaotangshan) directly,” he said by phone from the construction site in Wuhan, adding that “the terrain and design conditions are all different.”
The Wuhan government has published information on what they claim are a number of design features of Huoshenshan Hospital, such as the use of negative air pressure to ensure that ventilated air flows to, but does not come out, of isolated rooms.
At present, the effectiveness of the new hospitals remains largely unproven, and some observers have raised questions about their functionality and safety in general.
On Monday, the state-run Changjiang Daily newspaper reported that Wuhan authorities were building three other field hospitals in existing spaces, including a stadium and an exhibition hall, all of which may require their own individual plans.
So how do you create, in a matter of days, a large-scale field hospital that, in theory, can prevent the virus from spreading beyond and within its walls?
Emergency medicine doctor Dr. Solomon Kuah helped the International Rescue Committee coordinate the construction of emergency hospitals during an Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014. Although the resources available to him at that time meant that field hospitals 100 to 200 beds in rural Africa would take a month or more to build, many of the underlying design principles for building makeshift hospitals will be very similar, he told WAB NEWS in a telephone interview.
Perhaps the most important among them is the “cohort” or zoning of patients, grouping people according to the level of risk they pose, said Kuah, who had been watching the construction of Huoshenshan Hospital through an official live broadcast.
“You may have a wing where people need to confirm if they have (the virus) and another where everyone has tested positive,” he said. “Then, within the facility, people are‘ grouped ’based on how suspicious they are. Then, you can subcohort, for example, pregnant women or people waiting for the test results, or those who wait for it to end (a quarantine period). ”
So, although the Wuhan government has said that only confirmed patients who have contracted the virus will be admitted to Huoshenshan Hospital, patients can still be divided according to the risk they pose. The aerial photos of the installation, taken during construction, show long rectangular rooms that extend from a central axis and, otherwise, completely separated from each other. A second smaller group of structures seems to be completely disconnected from most of the hospital.
This design could reflect that the wings of different levels of contagion, for example, are being isolated from each other to avoid cross infection. Ideally, they would also be divided from central areas by disinfection facilities, Kuah said, especially if doctors work in different groups of patients.
These disinfection zones can also be used to separate the rooms from the operational command center, from which medical personnel will likely coordinate care. Perhaps against intuition, this type of operating center would probably not be in the center of the building, Kuah said.
“You want your command center to have the least possible risk. Therefore, he does not want me to be at the center of things, and he will not be close to the exit of the ‘confirmed patients’ ward,” he explained. “For the operations center, you want the (health care) providers to be completely out of your personal protective equipment, because they are very uncomfortable to use.”