Modification Guidelines for the Creation of a COVID-19/Infectious Disease Unit in an Existing Long Term Care Facility


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May 4, 2020



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This session will walk participants through effective strategies for advocating and planning a COVID-19/infectious disease unit within a long term care facility. Relevant and current guidelines from the State of Minnesota’s progressive work with more than 50 long term care operators will be shared. Participants will gain knowledge of tools to empower discussions with their state officials.

Learning Objectives

  • Guidelines on converting individual bedrooms to temporary airborne infection isolation rooms. Considerations and design strategies to get a bedroom under negative pressure.
  • Guidelines on converting a wing or unit to a temporary airborne infection isolation unit. Considerations and design strategies to get a unit under negative pressure.
  • Presenters will share mechanical system enhancements to effectively create a negative air pressure unit for virus containment, taking into account the age and current capabilities of the facility. The presenters will also discuss other considerations facilities must discuss in their risk assessments, including electrical, mechanical and med-gas.
  • In the creation of a COVID-19 unit, physical barriers such as temporary walls will raise concerns on Life Safety Code. Presenters will share exiting and evacuation strategies that the State of Minnesota has reviewed with many long term care facilities in the state.

Presented by

Bob Dehler, P.E. – Engineering Program Manager | Engineering Services, Minnesota Department of Health

Scott D. Thomas, P.E., LEED AP, BD+C – Principal Mechanical/Fire Protection Engineer, Cain Thomas Associates, Inc.  (St. Paul, Minnesota)

Jill Schroeder, CID – Senior Planner/Senior Designer, Pope Architects (St. Paul, Minnesota)