These life-saving hospital rooms can be shipped in fast.

No zoning permits or construction delays. No consultant reports. No lengthy planning process.

Yes, they may have one time hauled goods around the world, but these shipping containers are now delivering life-saving innovation. One good thing about the global pandemic is it has spawned new ideas.

It forces out-of-the-box thinking — especially in the area of saving lives.

This is happening right here in Ontario.

With this setup, you don’t have to go to the hospital. One can come to you. These portable intensive care rooms can be dropped off anywhere.

A group of Ontario medical architects, engineers and doctors are working with the GTA’s IDP Group Inc. to transform old shipping containers into fully-functional and well equipped hospital-style emergency units.

It’s a neat, unique concept that is environmentally friendly.

“It is a complete mobile hospital solution with ICU units, acute care and patient isolation rooms,” said Sabrina Fiorellino, who is part of a group of medical architects working on the project.

“All you need to do is plug it in, turn it on and like a computer, it’s ready to go.”

Hauled to desired locations on trucks and trains, these units can be placed in any parking lot, field or driveway if we reach a point where hospitals are overflowing with patients.

“There are so many things they can be used for,” Fiorellino said of the $200,000 units which are built here in Ontario. “We are trying to keep all components 100% Canadian made.”

Something similar has been used in Italy where there have been around 200,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The hospitals there were overflowing and originally tents were being set up outside hospitals to handle the overflow.

“But tents can’t guarantee a sanitary environment that these containers can,” said Fiorellino.

They are clean, sterile and secure. Their metal exterior is hard to penetrate.

“The pods are fully prefabricated and built with all the necessary health-care equipment and supplies set up inside so they are ready to operate when deployed,” she said, adding they “contain a design that can reduce the viral load within their walls 24/7.”

Such a good idea.

So far, Canada has not seen the kind of mayhem Italy experienced. But should that change, the emergency room units will soon be ready for delivery.

If you need to move them to a new city, there’s no need to tear anything down. Just move the modified container to its next destination.

And the pods have possible uses beyond a medical crisis.

“They could be used as high-security isolation units for correctional facilities,” said Fiorellino. “They can be used as mobile labs to service remote communities, for natural disasters or by humanitarian organizations or as onsite medical support for the Olympics and other sporting events.”

Hopefully, Ontario will never need to treat large numbers of people outside of hospitals. But if the province ever faces such a challenge, this invention could save lives.

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