Airborne particulate protection works underway at Toowoomba Hospital

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Works are currently underway at Toowoomba Hospital to provide an uplift in mechanical capability when managing airborne particulates and potential exposure to staff, patients and visitors.

Executive Director Infrastructure, Dr Paul Clayton said that capability assessments were critical in identifying where Darling Downs Health could enhance what they were already doing.

“As part of the response to COVID-19, we undertook assessments of what our facilities were capable of managing and to what standard could we increase that capability to.

“While we had the capability in managing airborne particulates like COVID-19, the upgrades currently underway at Toowoomba Hospital will provide an uplift in capability, allowing us to reach additional standards in operation.

“We effectively managed COVID-19 in various wards at the Toowoomba Hospital since 2020, and through these upgrades, we will have an incredibly sophisticated air-conditioning, extraction and airflow system,” Dr Clayton said.

Toowoomba Hospital Executive Director, Shirley-Anne Gardiner, said that Toowoomba Hospital had played an important role in the region’s response to COVID-19 and these improvements would increase the capability of the existing facility.

“Toowoomba Hospital has been front and centre of Darling Downs Health’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the response, we’ve identified opportunities to improve infrastructure within the facility to better combat airborne particulates.

“These changes to our air-conditioning, extraction and airflow systems might seem straightforward but are actually incredibly complex and a lot of consideration into how it all works together has happened

“I’m really thankful for our infrastructure team who are making this happen and providing additional capability to the Toowoomba Hospital,” Ms. Gardiner said.

Some of the improvements already underway include:

  • The implementation of additional air filtering functions to be utilised in a pandemic or highly contagious setting
  • Emergency Department, Critical Care and Intensive Care wards utilising 100% outside air
  • Lowering static pressure in ED, the ED waiting room and ICU
  • Upgrades to isolation rooms in Critical Care and Intensive Care wards to achieve Class N – Negative Pressure Room and Class P – Positive Pressure Room to improve scalability in response

Additional works are also planned in other wards and isolation rooms.

Works commenced earlier this year and are expected to be completed by December 2022.