Christine McCormick 1/15/21 10:05 AM 8 min read

Negative Pressure can Reduce Spread of Infectious Aerosols Like COVID-19

Infectious diseases like COVID-19 spread rapidly throughout the United States because they can be transmitted through tiny particles that travel in the air.

When someone with COVID sneezes, coughs, or even speaks, they can spread the virus to others through tiny droplets that are expelled a few feet and then fall to a surface. Because these droplets are able to aerosolize into even smaller particulates, they can also remain suspended in the air, making them more difficult to contain and highly contagious. 

Without PPE and other infection prevention tools to protect against COVID spreading droplets and aerosols, healthcare workers are at an incredibly high risk for COVID-19.

In order to protect these healthcare professionals and help prevent COVID from spreading throughout their facilities, hospitals need solutions like negative pressure environments that can clear infectious aerosols from the air.

What is negative pressure?

Negative pressure refers to the difference between the pressure within a particular environment or chamber and the air pressure surrounding the room. When the pressure within the room is lower than the pressure outside of the room, it is considered negative.

What are the benefits of negative pressure?

While the difference in pressure between two environments might not seem significant, it can have a major influence when it comes to combating COVID in hospitals. Because of the pressure imbalance, negative pressure environments prevent the air from inside the chamber from escaping, even when a door is opened. Instead, air from outside of the chamber will enter the room. 

Negative pressure environments will keep infectious particles from leaving a room and only allow air from outside the room to enter. Because COVID-19 is transmitted through infectious droplets and aerosols, using negative pressure is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in hospitals and healthcare facilities. 

Resources like negative pressure rooms use HEPA filtration systems to remove contaminated air from a room and replace it with non-contaminated air, all while preventing the contaminated air from leaving the room. When COVID patients are able to be isolated in negative pressure rooms, the air that is contaminated when they cough, sneeze, and talk is cleared, preventing it from escaping and potentially infecting other patients or healthcare workers.

Negative pressure environments, like negative pressure rooms, are the most effective way to help stop infected patients from spreading COVID to healthcare workers, patients, and other individuals when they receive treatment.

Even though negative pressure rooms are an effective way to clear the air of infectious particles, they are sometimes not the best or most feasible option for mitigating the current COVID-19 crisis.

Is converting hospital rooms to negative pressure rooms reasonable?  

With hospitals and healthcare facilities already experiencing massive revenue losses due to COVID-19, many do not have the budget to undergo significant conversions. Retrofitting existing rooms for negative pressure can cost $150,000-$200,000, which many hospitals just do not have. 

Between purchasing PPE, ventilators, and other resources to treat COVID patients, and then losing money as government officials postponed elective surgeries and procedures, healthcare facilities do not have the capital to create enough negative pressure rooms to house every incoming COVID patient.

How much time does it take to clear infectious particles within a negative pressure room?

Standard negative pressure rooms must produce 12+ air changes per hour, which means that it can take anywhere from 35 to 80 minutes to clear infectious particles from a negative pressure room depending on the ventilation and filtration system. During his time, the room must say completely sealed and cannot be used for anything else. This can provide a logistical challenge for hospitals that are already struggling to handle the growing number of COVID cases facing the United States right now.

Not only can it take a lot of time to clear aerosols and droplets in negative pressure rooms, but it also takes time to prepare the room and get the negative pressure back up for the next COVID patient. This creates a backlog of patients, contributing to the often unmanageable workloads for healthcare workers during this pandemic.

Creating Enough Negative Pressure Rooms to House Every COVID Patient is Impossible.

Converting hospital rooms into negative pressure rooms is complicated. Even when hospitals can afford to convert some of their hospital rooms into negative pressure rooms, there is simply not enough space and resources for hospitals to create enough negative pressure rooms to house the influx of COVID patients they are receiving.

Hospital ventilation systems are only designed to handle so many rooms, and many hospitals do not have space for hundreds of negative pressure rooms they need. While negative pressure rooms can help stop the spread of COVID-19 in hospitals, they are not the most efficient solution for hospitals that are flooded with hundreds or even thousands of COVID patients right now.

HOW THE SCONE™ CAN HELP

Although creating several new negative pressure rooms might not be the best option for hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic, that does not mean that they cannot use negative pressure to help fight the spread of COVID.

The SCONE™ is a single-use, cost-effective medical device that provides all of the benefits of a negative pressure room without the hassle or expense.

Unlike negative pressure rooms which take time to convert, set up, and clear the air, the SCONE™ uses negative pressure technology to clear infectious aerosols and droplets from within its chamber in less than five minutes and can be set up and disposed of with no assembly and no time wasted. 

The SCONE™ is simple to use and can be transported easily, allowing hospitals to bring the power of negative pressure to their existing hospital rooms and treatment areas.

With this negative pressure device, hospitals and healthcare facilities can help slow the spread of COVID, protecting their healthcare workers and providing optimal care for their COVID patients during this pandemic.

The SCONE™ has been authorized by the FDA for Emergency Use. Connect with us and learn how to bring SCONE™ protection into your healthcare facility.

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Christine McCormick

Christine McCormick is an Operations and Marketing Manager with 10 years of experience working alongside and supporting leadership teams from various industries. She is new to the medical device space but brings a wealth of organizational, financial, and marketing expertise to SCONE in her current role. She was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona and graduated with a Bachelors from Northern Arizona University and currently lives with her high school sweetheart and their 3 children, ages 6-12 years old. She enjoys spending time with her family, going to the beach and Disneyland (when it's open), and watching Grey's Anatomy on repeat.