Kaweah Delta finishes airflow project to isolate more COVID-19 patients

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Kaweah Delta Medical Center says they're caring for more COVID-19 positive patients than ever.

The number surpassed 40 earlier this week.

But hospital officials say they're managing the increases, and thanks to a newly finished airflow project, they're able to isolate many more positive patients than before.

More than 70 rooms were modified to function as negative air pressure rooms.

"When you're inside a room, all of the air is drawn out of the room and blown through a set of filters where that air can be cleaned," Kaweah Delta Critical Care Services Director Jon Knudsen said. "And what that effectively does is it makes all the air in the room leave within just a couple of minutes."

As local businesses have started to reopen over the last few weeks, Knudsen says the hospital has admitted more COVID patients.

"We don't anticipate that's going to slow down anytime soon," he said. "So with these negative pressure rooms, we're able to accommodate these patients and ensure that the air flow where they're going to be staying will help us to make those rooms as clean as possible."

The negative pressure rooms will also protect staff and any visitors, he says, and prevent the spread of the virus.

But he says everyone can help stop the spread this summer by wearing masks, washing hands, and staying six feet apart.

"Let's say you're around somebody who has the virus," Knudsen said. "The longer you're around them, the closer you're around them, and if you don't have a mask on, and they don't have a mask on, and you're not washing your hands...the greater likelihood it is that you could catch that virus."

For more news coverage on the coronavirus and COVID-19 go to ABC30.com/coronavirus
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