ME Helps Design COVID-19 Testing Booth, Allowing for Twice as Many Tests Per Day

The Hogan Lab research team, along with ME staff members, built game-changing booths with positive pressure HEPA filtered air to allow healthcare workers to safely test COVID-19 patients without the need for PPE. ME Research Engineer Ian Marabella designed the first HEPA filtered booth, and ME Facilities Supervisor Nistar "Richard" Maharaj built the first prototype before handing it off to the CSE Shop for machining work.

The booths allow healthcare workers to solve the problem of PPE shortage by creating an environment where PPE is not required. Typically, healthcare providers would need to change their mask, gown, and gloves between each test. With a booth, this is no longer necessary — so providers can test twice as many people per day. Instead of switching PPE between tests, the only sanitizing that needs to happen is on the easy-to-clean exterior of the booth. "It's unreal how much PPE we're saving," said Dana Seeker, a medical assistant at M Health Fairview Clinic - Oxboro. 

The booth also has a fan and HEPA filter that creates a positive-pressure environment that repels outside particulates, keeping the healthcare provider in the booth safe. The booth allows M Health Fairview to ramp up testing while simultaneously reserving PPE for the people in hospitals who need it most.

M Health Fairview will implement 12 booths at five drive-up diagnostic testing sites across the Twin Cities metro, with more on the horizon.

ME Health Fairview workers demonstrate COVID-19 testing using the ME-designed booth