Kingston Whig-Standard: Local company wants to battle COVID-19 by building medical pods

Ian MacAlpine, Kingston Whig-Standard

Originally published: April 21, 2020

A Kingston manufacturer of office pods is currently changing its manufacturing processes to build pods for medical use to test for and treat COVID-19.

SnapCab manufactures office pods at its Railway Street facility while its plant near Philadelphia makes elevator interior panels.

With the coronavirus pandemic overwhelming hospitals in the United States and parts of Canada, the pods could help alleviate pressure when it comes to testing for the virus or can be added as secure and sterile portable hospital rooms and operating rooms, SnapCab CEO Glenn Bostock said.

The office pods, which come in three sizes, are mobile — on casters that lock into place — feature a sound-suppression system, a power bar to enable the use of a computer, and a whiteboard wall for writing on.

One of the medical pods being tested features a secure structure that looks similar to a phone booth. The pod has a pair of holes in its acrylic glass, through which a medical professional can put their arms to test patients for the coronavirus. The patient does not come into direct contact with the medical professional, whose hands and arms are covered with arm-length gloves similar to those used by veterinarians or cattle farmers assisting in bovine births.

Because the tester is closed inside the pod rather than having the patient inside a pod, there is no need to constantly decontaminate the inside of the structure after every test.

SnapCab also is currently using a standard hospital bed to size a larger pod for the construction of a secure hospital room.

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