Managing the Omicron Virus Outbreak in the NHS

Since originating in South Africa just about a month ago, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has swept the world. It is now estimated that approximately 9 out of 10 cases of COVID-19 in England are Omicron.

The spike in new cases is unlike any previous wave the United Kingdom has seen, with daily cases making past surges seem like little more than blips on the graph. Though Omicron appears to result in symptoms that are milder than Delta, it is still essential that protective measures are taken.

What makes Omicron different?

Although data are still emerging, preliminary data suggest that the Omicron variant is different from past COVID-19 variants (including Delta) in the following ways:

  • Transmissibility. The speed at which Omicron has spread and become the dominant variant internationally is unlike anything we’ve seen during the pandemic so far. Greater transmissibility means more infections at the same time, which can impact healthcare capacity and staffing.
  • Symptoms. Omicron symptoms appear to be, on the whole, milder than those of Delta. However, this is not true for all groups; the elderly and immunocompromised are still more vulnerable.
  • Vaccine efficacy. More breakthrough infections are occurring in individuals who are double vaccinated, making booster jabs essential.

Though Omicron may appear to present fewer risks in terms of mortality, it still poses risks to the economy through staffing shortages, long-term effects of COVID-19 infection, and increased chance of mutations that could render vaccines ineffective. It is still unknown what the risk of COVID-19 will be in our short- and long-term future, making prevention and mitigation strategies a pressing concern. One such solution to preventing the spread of Omicron and future infectious diseases is the use of isolation pods by the NHS.

Using isolation pods to battle Omicron

Isolation pods, also known as nursing pods and surge pods, are prefabricated healthcare structures that can be rapidly assembled and disassembled. In the case of sudden onset of healthcare incapacity, these pods can be used to increase capacity on demand. They can be added to existing hospitals and buildings, or act as standalone facilities where required.

Isolation pods also protect nurses and healthcare workers through their advanced air filtration systems and antimicrobial surfaces. This protection is crucial to ensuring staffing requirements are maintained during peak infection times.

How isolation pods work

One of the biggest benefits of isolation pods is their ability to be completely customisable according to emergency needs. All pods include an air management and filtration system, sealed glass walls, and privacy options for patients.

UK company Architectural Wallsz can deploy up to 500 units within just 30 days and offers the following configurations:

  • Four-Wall Segregation Pod. This isolation pod can be set up within existing healthcare facilities or as a standalone pod. Clean air flows into the pod while outward air is heavily filtered to reduce the spread of pathogens.
  • Three-Wall Segregation Pod. This pod can be used with an existing wall or window within a hospital or clinic. It can also be joined to a four-wall segregation pod.
  • Two-Wall Segregation Pod. Like the three-wall pod, this pod can be combined with two existing walls. This is a great option if available space is limited.
  • Double Segregation Pod with Nurse Station. This large nursing pod contains a large central space for nursing staff and two segregated pods for patients. Segregated rooms are fitted with large windows that allow staff to easily check on their patients without entering the rooms, as well as reduce feelings of isolation in patients.
  • Isolation Pod. For a more permanent, long-term option, the isolation pod is the perfect choice. It contains three rooms: a lobby, bedroom, and ensuite bathroom. Though this pod uses higher quality materials for long-duration needs, it can easily be disassembled and reconfigured to respond to changing healthcare needs.

Pods may also be fitted with or without power, depending on whether they’re intended to be used as overflow areas or treatment spaces. Five-room isolation units may also be ordered to fit into spaces such as assembly halls and gymnasiums.

Contact Architectural Wallsz today

The Omicron outbreak and fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic have made the need for innovative healthcare solutions more pressing than ever before. Support the NHS and its valuable healthcare workers by contacting Architectural Wallsz about nursing pods and isolation pods today.

If you’re considering prefabricated nursing and healthcare pods for your healthcare facility, get in touch with us to learn more about what we can do for you today.

Simply fill out the online form to request a quote or call to address any inquiries you may have with a member of their talented and professional team. Whether you’re looking for a pop-up clinic or expansion options for an existing facility, Architectural Wallsz has a solution for you.

Posted by Virginia K. Stockstill

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