[Coronavirus] Military hospitals to test smart negative pressure ward for COVID-19

By Park Sae-jin Posted : March 30, 2020, 11:06 Updated : March 30, 2020, 11:06

[Courtesy of the Public Procurement Service]

SEOUL -- Provisional smart wards installed with negative-pressure equipment will be introduced at South Korean military hospitals for the quick verification of utility for the screening and treatment of infectious diseases such as a new coronavirus. Internet of things (IoT) data communication is possible between medical devices.

The Public Procurement Service, a state-run procurement agency, said in a statement on Monday that it would carry out an emergency purchase program to set up smart negative-pressure wards at COVID-19 screening centers run by six military hospitals in April. If the pilot project is effective, government subsidies will be given for commercial production.

The smart ward is modular so that it can be operated as a single unit or as a block that consists of multiple wards. Because of its tent-like structure, the smart ward with separate booths will be set up with ease. It has three air purifiers that provide and suck out air into the ward and a clean-room-grade air-purifier.

Negative-pressure ward facilities play a vital part in COVID-19 screening and treatment as it prevents cross-contamination inside an enclosed space by creating a constant flow of purified air through special filters.

There are about 110 COVID-19 screening centers across the country but not all of them are equipped with proper negative-pressure wards because they are expensive and hard to set up. To tackle the shortage of negative-pressure wards and protect medical staff, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) has adopted an innovative drive-thru testing method.

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