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COVID-19 Special Edition Building Healthcare Newsletter

Construction during COVID-19: Sharing Concerns and Insights

The Christman Way
Across the nation we are facing an unparalleled crisis. The coronavirus creates an unprecedented situation that requires even greater levels of communication, team work and compassion. Christman is committed to remaining your partner in these difficult and uncertain times. As healthcare facilities manage the ever changing conditions in your region, know that we are diligently committed to being your partner. Please contact us so we can assist in providing solutions to help your facility meet patient care demands during these unpredictable events. Above all, please stay safe. 

This is a special edition of Building Healthcare that outlines conversations I’ve had with health systems across the region. As it has been, from our beginning, the Christman Way unites great people in great achievement. Please contact us if there is any way we can assist.

In closing, let me express my gratitude to those who continue to work on the frontlines of this health crisis. Your everyday sacrifices for the wellbeing of all of us does not go unnoticed.

In health,

John O’Toole 
Vice President, Healthcare Services

Addressing Coronavirus in Healthcare Construction Settings
Healthcare and human services face uncertainty and enormous challenges as we battle the outbreak and spread of the novel coronavirus. As public concern grows, health systems and its brave workers are fulfilling a shared commitment to caring for the victims of this global pandemic.

At Christman, our first concern is also with the health and safety of workers and patients, and for our staff and subcontractors. This focus is made all the more critical on active sites at your occupied locations.

We want to assure our clients and team members that we are committed to being as responsive and productive as possible during this difficult time. To the extent we are permitted to continue work, we will strive to maintain, as best we can in this situation, project schedules, commitments and client deliverables.

To ensure we are doing our part, we are following all current CDC guidelines for the safety of our clients, staff, partners and visitors. 

Healthcare Facilities Managers Prediction for Immediate Response:
After communicating with healthcare partners across the country to gain an understanding of current and projected needs, we have assembled this list of immediate concerns: 

  • A critical need for N95 masks and Tyvek suits for healthcare employees. Christman has shared its available stock of these supplies, to help in alleviating shortages.
  • Anticipated patient surge and the concerns for providing isolation at a higher than normal scale. 
  • Potential for modifications to existing medical and surgical rooms and/or complete floors to provide temporary isolation wards. 
  • Possible housing alternates include local health clinics, hotels and college dormitories as back–up options should the numbers of critically ill patients be higher than expected.
  • Discussions for temporary (or semi-permanent) facilities allowing for isolation spaces with required ventilation and filtration. 
    • These temporary structures would also allow for patient triage areas before entering emergency departments or to separate patients suspected of carrying the coronavirus from those in other areas of the facility. 
    • Testing and screening of the local community taking place in temporary tents. 
  • Future need of HEPA filter air scrubbers used in temporary isolation rooms. Several facilities and infection control personnel predict not being able to achieve the code–required 12 ACH (air change rates per hour) for isolation rooms. Healthcare facilities are focusing their efforts to ensure the negative air pressure relationship is maintained as a minimum.

As outlined above, alternate housing solutions may be necessary; Christman can assist in collectively problem-solving options as these needs emerge. The partnership we have with various industry sectors may allow us to quickly connect health systems with local organizations that can offer temporary accommodations. We are here to listen to your needs, partner in delivering options and coordinate to quickly implement solutions.

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Ask a Healthcare Construction Expert

Brian C. Crissman, LEED AP, AVS
As vice president in Christman's West Michigan region, Brian is known for the energetic leadership he brings to the projects he directs - particularly large, complex ones, such as the Western Michigan University College of Engineering, Michigan Street Development, Spectrum Health Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion, and the Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital expansion.  Read more...