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Oaklawn adds negative air pressure units to safely care for COVID patients with help from Allied Mechanical, Applegate and Gordon Martin Builders

Thanks to the generosity of Allied Mechanical, Applegate and Gordon Martin Builders, Oaklawn has been able to safely care for COVID patients in negative air pressure rooms that are required to stop the spread of infectious disease. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Oaklawn had seven negative air pressure rooms, which under normal circumstances is more than sufficient. However, when the first COVID wave hit back in March, Oaklawn knew that they immediately needed to create more negative pressure rooms in order to prepare for a surge of local cases.

“We acted quickly to get the negative air pressure units that we needed, but we were notified that they were backordered until July,” explained Joanna Tarkiewicz, Oaklawn Assistant Director of Plant Operations. “This would have put Oaklawn and our patients in a really difficult position if not for the generosity of Allied Mechanical, Applegate and Gordon Martin Builders.”

A negative air pressure room helps contain airborne infectious diseases by relying on air pressure to control the flow of air particles. The air pressure inside the room is lower than the air pressure outside the room. When a door is opened, the contaminated air doesn’t flow out into uncontaminated areas and instead remains within the room. The negative air pressure unit filters the contaminated air to ensure that it is purified before it is pumped outside and away from the hospital. It takes one unit to create a negative pressure room to safely house a COVID patient.

Allied Mechanical, Applegate and Gordon Martin Builders use negative air pressure units when working on healthcare construction jobsites. When they were notified of the shortage of negative air pressure units available, they offered to loan Oaklawn their units from March – June, free of charge, until the new units arrived. Oaklawn has been fortunate enough to use the units donated by Gordon Martin Builders continuously since March. Although cases decreased for a short amount of time, when the second wave hit in October, Oaklawn needed even more rooms for COVID patients. They were once again able to rely on their partners.

“The fact that these three companies stepped up to help us during a time of great need, with nothing to gain financially, is a perfect example of the good that exists in our community,” said Jenna Ellis, Oaklawn Development Manager. “We’re here to take care of people, but sometimes we need a little help too. It’s comforting to know that when in the midst of a global pandemic and facing a national shortage of equipment needed to provide safe care, we can rely on the generosity of our neighbors.”