Respiratory Care Unit opens specifically for COVID-19 patients at UW Health

MADISON -- A new "Respiratory Care Unit" opened Friday, March 27 at UW Health in Madison -- specifically for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients.

According to a news release from UW Health officials, in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19, UW Health’s Emergency Department uses negative air pressure rooms to limit the risk of exposure. Negative pressure rooms ensure that air from rooms with potential COVID-19 patients is not recirculated into other areas of the hospital, keeping health care workers and other patients in the ER safe.

Originally, the main ER at University Hospital had five negative air pressure rooms, but facilities crews worked last week to convert 10 additional rooms.

"We have like, 15 negative pressure rooms that we're using to evaluate people who we think might have COVID-19 or who we know have COVID-19, and that's a real win for our staff because now, they feel much more comfortable, much safer," said Jeff Pothof, UW Health chief quality officer.

Health officials noted people should still call ahead before coming in so doctors can have tests ready and follow procedures to safely admit patients.