Booth for safer Covid-19 tests


  • Metro News
  • Wednesday, 22 Apr 2020

Lower risk: Dr Ang (left) demonstrating how a Covid-19 test is done from inside the positive pressure booth which will be placed at the Penang Hospital’s emergency department. — ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

FRONTLINERS at the Penang Hospital, who put their health on the line to test suspected Covid-19 patients, now have an extra safety net — a Covid Test Booth.

Fixed with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, the all-aluminium booth is designed to trap very fine particles effectively, as well as positive pressure, LED lighting and an intercom phone system.

The test booth will be placed outside the hospital’s emergency department where patients experiencing Covid-19 symptoms are checked.

In the sealed booth, a doctor, while standing, will perform the oral and nasal swabbing test on a patient using rubber gloves attached to the booth.

This offers safety to the frontliner who does not need to be dressed in full personal protective equipment (PPE) each time he or she performs a checkup.

This protects frontliners when conducting the test as a nasal swab usually causes a patient to cough.

The booth was donated by a healthcare company, whose expertise includes producing humidifiers and inhaler spacers, as its way of thanking frontliners for their hard work and courage.

The company’s operations manager Jason Ng said it took them a few weeks to conceptualise the test booth as they were working with the doctors to see their specific requirements.

“We discussed with them for a few weeks and then assembled it within days.

“It is a fully isolated room for the doctor, with a PA system to communicate with the patient.

“The HEPA filter built on top of the booth is to filter out micro- organisms and create positive pressure, which means the pressure is higher inside the booth to protect the frontliner.

“There is a fitted meter so the frontliner can check the pressure. There is also an adjustable table and stand. As we built it on our own in our factory, it only cost us RM5,000,” he said.

Ng said they planned on making more booths for public hospitals.

“We will wait for the feedback on this booth and see where we can improve.

“This will not be for sale purposes as we just want to give back and help the frontliners,” he said, adding that the company also donated disinfectant, inhaler spacers, hand sanitisers and surgical masks.

Dr Ang Choon Seong, who is from Penang Hospital’s clinical research centre, said they were grateful for the company’s support.

“We needed their expertise to come up with the booth.

“They have ideas and working with them on what works for us in terms of layout has been great.

“Them providing us with the hand sanitisers and other equipment will also come in handy,” said Dr Ang, who worked with the donor company to design the booth.

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