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Utah company building 'mobile triage' to treat COVID-19 patients

Mobile Triage Unit (IMAGE: HHI Corporation)
Mobile Triage Unit (IMAGE: HHI Corporation)
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(KUTV) – Long before the pandemic hit the United States, a company in Weber County had been looking at manufacturing portable facilities to treat infectious diseases.

“We’ve been thinking about it for the past five years and proposing it to people but nobody had interest,” said Cliff Hokanson, owner of HHI Corporation in Harrisville.

But now, Hokanson says there is interest - a lot of it.

HHI manufactures bio-containment equipment for the U.S. government and hospitals. The company has been rapidly turning its attention to how it could help with the pandemic.

“We put together a team, two weeks ago, and said we’re going to build a mobile triage,” Hokanson said.

They came up with two designs for portable facilities that could assist with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first is a Mobile Triage Unit which is made of prefabricated materials and contains isolated treatment rooms and hospital-grade air filtration.

“The layout of the Mobile Triage Units includes four patient rooms with three beds each, nurses stations and support equipment. Systems for the units include electrical systems powered by diesel generators or shore connections, ventilation systems with HEPA filtration, and potable water/waste connections. Using six heavily modified shipping containers and one fabricated equipment skid, this system will be shipped in pieces and then assembled on-site,” HHI said in a statement.

The second facility designed by HHI is a Portable Test Lab which provides protection for medical staff while allowing them to test patients for COVID-19.

The units are designed to run off the grid or connect to local utility lines, if available.

“This will be basically like the infectious disease wing of a hospital,” Hokanson said.

HHI anticipates the units could fill a critical gap where hospital facilities are overrun with patients or in rural communities that may not have medical facilities to treat infectious diseases.

“We’ve got to keep the nurses and medical professionals from getting sick,” Hokanson said.

HHI is planning to donate its first Mobile Triage Unit to a federal, state, or local organization with an immediate need. The company says it will announce the recipient later this month.

Initially, the company plans to build ten Mobile Triage Units, with the option to build additional units if needed.

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