Media Contacts

Suzanne Winchester

Associate Director, Public Relations, University of Utah Health
Email: suzanne.winchester@hsc.utah.edu
Phone: 801-581-3102

May 29, 2020 10:00 AM

University of Utah Health today announced that it has opened the B-50 COVID-19 Unit, a mixed acuity unit within University Hospital to treat COVID-19 confirmed positive patients only. The unit, also referred to as a ‘hospital within a hospital’ is completely isolated from non-COVID-19 patients, reducing risk to both staff and other patients, and will treat both ICU and acute patients in a single-setting cohort. The B-50 COVID-19 Unit provides capacity for 12 ICU beds and 10 acute care beds, thus reducing the burden on clinical staff that has been caring for COVID-19 positive patients on other units within the hospital.

The B-50 COVID-19 Unit was built out and retrofitted from a previous surgical unit that did not have proper air flow for infection prevention. Now, the unit has a clear infection prevention path. Barriers have been put in place for physical limiting. There is also an anteroom as staff comes into the clean area, which creates a transition area to prevent mixing of clean air.

Access to the unit for patients and staff alike is highly controlled in order to ensure patient and staff safety. Additionally, all health care workers entering the area will be required to utilize high-level respiratory protection. All staff entering the area will be wearing high-level PPE, including N95 masks or PAPRs, at all times.

“One of the challenges with COVID-19 is that the virus has its own timeline; it creates unpredictability for health systems to be able to safely manage a cohort of COVID-19 patients while at the same time safely caring for other patients,” said Robert Pendleton, MD, chief medical quality officer for University of Utah Health. “By building a unit like this - with state of the art infection prevention controls along with a dedicated, trained group of professionals – it gives us maximum flexibility to treat all patients that need our care, those with COVID-19 and those without.”