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Lassoing the Moon

Lassoing the Moon

doorTuesday’s update included comments from Beth Goodall, DCH’s director of epidemiology. One of her thoughts was, “I will never forget saying early on, ‘I think if I asked for the moon, someone would help me lasso it!’” As it turns out, DCH has a team that has become pretty adept at moon lassoing.

Normally, DCH’s Facilities Engineering Department is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the buildings and grounds. That means the department is made up of individuals who are skilled at plumbing, electrical, construction and generally fixing or building just about anything. It also means they are exceptionally well suited to adapting to the needs of a crisis.

You need a parking lot restriped and a tent erected? No problem. You now need cars to be able to drive into the tent? On it. Signs? We will have them by tomorrow morning.

“They are all very talented and have big hearts,” said David Roberts, corporate director of construction and engineering at DCH, when talking of his team.

“To be in this type of work you need to be good at problem solving, have a great work ethic and a desire to help others,” said Brad Castleberry, director of construction and engineering at DCH Regional Medical Center. “Even before COVID, their jobs entailed fixing, installing and generally doing whatever was needed.”

DCH normally has about a dozen negative pressure isolation rooms (the room’s airflow is independent of the mail hospital’s airflow). Early on, when the DCH COVID Response Team identified the need to quickly expand that capacity to safely isolate and care for large numbers of suspected or positive COVID-19 patients, they turned to Facilities Engineering.

Before long, the team had a solution. They reached out to their vendor partners and ordered about 80 portable HEPA filtration systems that are normally used for construction. While they waited for the air scrubbers to arrive, they removed windows and in their place installed exhaust ducting. They also cut holes in the doors and installed Plexiglas so that providers could check in without entering. In all, they converted about 45 rooms and have the materials to nearly double that if needed.

“Once we came up with a plan, we converted about a dozen rooms in less than 24 hours,” said Jason Abernathy, engineering compliance manager.

We were able to get Abernathy (right in the photo) and Jeff Oswalt (left), facility manager, (both were part of the isolation room project) to slow down long enough to have their picture taken next to one of the temporary setups. However, soon after they quietly slipped away to handle the next project.

Thank you to the entire Facilities Engineering team for continually finding ways to lasso the moon for DCH.