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M Health Fairview finds creative way to conserve PPE: A glass testing booth for COVID-19

Health care providers swab patients from behind a glass barrier.
M Health Fairview plans to soon use 12 booths across eight testing sites. 

M Health Fairview plans to soon use 12 booths across eight testing sites. 

To conserve personal protective equipment amid a global shortage, M Health Fairview has come up with an innovative way of testing positive COVID-19 cases: a glass testing booth. 

Instead of donning gowns and masks, health care workers at M Health Fairview's Oxboro clinic in Bloomington stand inside the glass box, which resembles a phone booth. Gloves extend from two armholes, allowing the providers to swab patients for the coronavirus.

A fan pushes air through a HEPA filter into the booth, preventing outside particulates from entering. The outside of the booth is cleaned between each patient.

"It’s unreal how much PPE we’re saving," M Health Fairview medical assistant Dana Seeker said in a press release. "In the past, if I saw 90 patients in a day, that’d be 90 gowns and 180 gloves."

M Health Fairview partnered with the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering to produce the booth. It plans to soon use 12 booths across its eight testing sites, the health provider says.

“Once you’re in there and can work without all of the gear on, it’s pretty awesome,” Seeker said. “It’s going to make testing so much easier going forward. It’s safe for us medical assistants who are swabbing, it’s safe for the patients, and it’s saving so much with the equipment."

There have also been reports of similar booths in Israel and South Korea in recent weeks. 

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