Denver Health Medical Center completes biocontainment unit renovations

In 2015, HHS chose Denver Health Medical Center as one of its 10 regional treatment centers for patients with Ebola or other severe, highly infectious diseases. Now, DHMC has completed the renovations necessary to serve this function, according to CBS Denver.

The hospital's biocontainment unit now boasts a High Risk Infection Team trained to treat patients with Ebola as well as measles, severe acute respiratory syndrome, Middle East respiratory syndrome or another infectious disease.

Team members are equipped with specialized suits with helmets and face shields to protect them while treating infectious patients. DHMC also updated its ventilation system and bought mannequins for training staff. Additionally, the unit has its own lab and waste management system.

"There's nothing else like it in the region," Connie Price, MD, DHMC's CMO, told CBS Denver.

The hospital's renovation was made possible by a $2.9 million grant from the government.

To be one of the nation's regional treatment centers for infectious diseases, hospitals have to be able to do the following:

  • Accept patients within eight hours of notification
  • Be able to treat at least two Ebola patients simultaneously
  • Have respiratory infectious disease isolation capacity or negative pressure rooms for at least 10 patients
  • Conduct trainings and exercises each quarter
  • Be able to treat pediatric patients with Ebola or another highly infectious disease or partner with a nearby facility to do so
  • Be able to handle waste from such patients
  • Receive annual readiness assessment from the National Ebola Training and Education Center

DHMC's biocontainment unit will serve the area including Colorado, Utah, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

The nation's nine other regional units are:

  • Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston)
  • New York City Health and Hospitals Corp./HHC Bellevue Hospital Center (New York City)
  • Johns Hopkins Hospital (Baltimore)
  • Emory University Hospital and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta/Egleston Children's Hospital (Atlanta)
  • University of Minnesota Medical Center (Minneapolis)
  • University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
  • Nebraska Medicine-Nebraska Medical Center (Omaha)
  • Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Children's Hospital (Spokane, Wash.)
  • Cedars Sinai Medical Center (Los Angeles)

More articles on infectious diseases:
Is the world ready for the next major disease outbreak? These researchers don't think so
Rare rat virus infects humans in Wisconsin, Illinois: 7 things to know
CDC: Flu hospitalizations, outpatient visits continue to rise

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