College of Engineering Building
The booth will allow medical personnel to test patients for COVID19 without wearing any additional personal protection equipment

The University of Texas Permian Basin College of Engineering continues to take steps to protect our community from the spread of COVID-19. On Thursday, April 23, a device designed and created by the College of Engineering was given to Odessa Regional Medical Center.

covid-testing-booth.jpgThe stand alone, clear, plexi-glass, box will allow medical personnel to test patients for COVID19 without wearing any additional personal protection equipment (PPE) besides medical grade heavy-duty nitrile gloves.

“It’s a rectangular, air tight, enclosure. There will be a medical worker inside with medical gloves. An individual can then walk up and get tested for COVID-19. This unit will help us in preserving personal protection equipment,” said UT Permian Basin Dean of Engineering Dr. George Nnanna.

“This testing booth provides a physical barrier between the health care worker that is collecting the specimen and the patient. It’s covered on all sides except the back; even the top is covered. It’s 8ft tall, 3ft wide and 3ft deep. Just enough space for one person to be in the safety of this 400lb stainless steel, plexiglass box,” explained Rohith Saravanan, ORMC Chief Medical Officer, “The medical grade heavy-duty nitrile glove is the only thing that touches the patient, and it can be wiped down after each collection.”

Nnanna said this project was truly a community effort involving members of the West Texas 3D COVID 19 Relief Consortium and others. The materials for this test booth were paid for by Deliron, Westech Seal and Odessa Development Corporation (ODC). He also added this is exactly what UTPB prepares future engineers to do.

“I think it proves the quality of our program at UT Permian Basin and it speaks a lot about our students. For them to step in at a moment’s notice and be able to transfer what they learned in the classroom into reality, engineering a system that will help our community, is incredible.”

Other surrounding hospitals have requested similar devices from UTPB. The College of Engineering hopes to be able to build more soon once more supplies can be found and purchased.

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