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By Bev Odom/The Red River Sun—
WELLINGTON — Collingsworth General Hospital recently installed air scrubber ventilation systems in the temporary COVID wing of the hospital.
“During this pandemic, Texas Tech has provided face shields, ear savers and now this innovative device to take care of our community,” said Candy Powell, administrator. “We want to say a huge thank you to the Texas Tech College of Engineering for its design and development of the devices that assist in providing a negative pressure reverse isolation for several of our patient rooms.”
Powell added that CGH has cared for COVID patients now for a couple of months, and the TTU staff installed the new system Dec. 11.
“Collingsworth General was always able to take care of COVID patients, but the installed system enhanced its setup,” said Jnev Biros, MD, MPH and Research Associate, TTU Edward E.
Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering. “We understand the heavy toll that the pandemic and the recent surge of cases have put on our healthcare community in the rural area hospitals. As Texas Tech College of Engineering, we are always seeking ways to help in any way that we can to make our frontline heroes feel safer in their work environment.”
The value of this project, at the very core, is that a group of undergraduate mechanical engineering students led by faculty, designed the setup.
“This, of course, provided our students a real-world experience and the opportunity of engagement with their community,” Biros said. “And this would not have been possible if it wasn’t for our dean, Al Sacco, Jr. and our valued alumni – most of them being from West Texas – are always ready to give back to the community.”
Biros explained that the cooperation of the CGH staff and administration enabled TTU to plan and build the ventilation system in a very short period of time.
The negative pressure system creates an air pressure inside the room lower than the air pressure outside the room. This means that when the door is opened, potentially contaminated air or other dangerous particles from inside the room will not flow outside into non-contaminated areas.
Instead, non-contaminated filtered air will flow into the negative pressure room. Contaminated air is sucked out of the room with the newly installed exhaust systems, which are built with filters that clean the air before it is pumped outside of and away from CGH.