A look inside the Spokane facility that will soon house five coronavirus patients

Editor’s Note: The above video shows images from Sacred Heart’s pathogen unit during Ebola training in 2017. Patients with coronavirus are not treated in the isopod or by full-suited caregivers. 

SPOKANE, Wash. — There are 15 confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States and soon, Sacred Heart Medical Center will house one-third of them. 

The Spokane Regional Health District announced Wednesday that five patients will be transferred to Spokane within the next five days. 

Sacred Heart is one of 10 hospitals in the country equipped with airborne infection isolation rooms. 

The 14,000 square foot unit has 12 patient rooms including two critical care areas. There’s also a built-in lab so that blood from sick patients never leaves the floor. 

Rooms also have video chat capabilities to limit contact. 

Sacred Heart was awarded $2.1 million to build the unit, train staff, and run ongoing drills- now it’s no longer a simulation. 

Spokane Regional Health says the risk to the public from the coronavirus remains low. 

The Washington State Department of Health released a statement, saying in part, “We have the highest confidence in the medical professionals assisting with the care and transportation for these people and we remain committed to assisting our partners in Spokane as needed.” 

For some perspective, the coronavirus has killed roughly 2,000 people, the majority of them in China. The flu has killed 14,000 Americans this season alone.