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Engineers offer gov’t task force solutions for additional hospitals

The College of Engineers and Surveyors of Puerto Rico offered the government Task Force assistance to treat and contain the effects of COVID-19 by helping to provide medical facilities quickly to meet the expected increased demand for hospital services, which has been the global challenge to deal with the virus.

“It’s evident that the countries with greater purchasing power are doing the same [giving] priority over their own people. Under this scenario, we must be self-sufficient and provide ourselves, with our resources and talents, the facilities we need,” said Juan F. Alicea-Flores, president of the trade group known as the CIAPR in Spanish. 

“For example, countries like Uruguay, Costa Rica, and El Salvador, among others, are summoning all local resources with the capacity to carry out some activity in the service chain necessary to control this pandemic, and that’s where we should be headed,” he said.

In a letter sent to Segundo Rodríguez-Quilichini, Rector of the University of Puerto Rico’s Medical Sciences Campus and Coordinator of the Task Force against COVID -19, Alicea-Flores said “Hospital infrastructure and medical equipment are essential tools for our team of health professionals can perform the actions required to control the spread and treat those who contract the virus.”

“Given that engineering professionals design, build and maintain these tools, the CIAPR offers its expertise in this area to the medical team,” he said.

He added that the CIAPR has members with experience in the design, construction, operation and maintenance of hospitals, including their air conditioning systems and isolation units, and specialists in the design and construction of clean rooms, among others. 

The trade group has already identified a series of specific actions that can be effective in the control and treatment of patients infected with the quick-spreading virus:

  • Build mass care rooms to serve patients infected by this virus;
  • Identify existing structures that can be quickly converted for medical care use;
  • Rehabilitate equipment with existing defects in hospitals that are currently in operation, so that their use can be maximized;
  • Identify available areas in hospitals that can be converted into isolation units to be specifically used for the care required by the virus;
  • Run an inventory of technical personnel, equipment and materials that can be used in any part of the treatment and medical care chain to control this pandemic; and,
  • Run an inventory of facilities capable of locally manufacturing equipment that works to control the virus.

Author Details
Business reporter with 25 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other areas of the economy.

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