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Orlando VA Hospital Has Mobile ICU Unit Ready in the Event of a Second Surge of Coronavirus Cases

ICU hospital beds. Photo: Danielle Prieur
ICU hospital beds. Photo: Danielle Prieur

The Orlando VA Hospital has a new mobile ICU unit that would help it quickly deploy emergency staff in the event of a second surge in coronavirus cases. 

The 4,800 square foot unit contains enough beds and medical supplies to treat 30 COVID-19 patients. 

VHA Executive Director of Emergency Management Paul Kim said it can be loaded onto a tractor trailer and deployed if there’s a second surge in cases. 

Or it can stay outside the VA's emergency room where it's parked now.

But Kim says based on recent predictions, he expects units like this one will be popping up across the United States in areas like Central Florida.

“Everything that I’ve been seeing as far as the data is concerned is predicting that. So I hope not but we have to be ready for it.”

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Kim said there is no difference between the mobile unit and a brick and mortar facility.

Inside, plastic covered beds can tilt a patient's head back or rock them side to side to make it easier for them to breath if they have some of the more severe symptoms.

The unit can also filter and make its own oxygen for patients who need it.

“We have ventilators, we have suction. We have all of those things that you would normally treat a COVID patient. But we also because it’s a field hospital we can make our own water, we generate our own power.”

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Kim says the units can be connected to mobile pharmacies and labs.

Plus, it could help take some of the burden off already strapped hospital systems during hurricane season as units can be used to treat trauma patients in winds as high as 170 mph.
If you'd like to listen to the story, click on the clips above.

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.