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A look at Sacred Heart Hospital's COVID-19 ward, three years after the pandemic

The treatment center is used for patients that have highly infectious diseases who need high level of care.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Providence Sacred Heart Hospital have opened up their special pathogens unit for the first time in three years.

Program manager Christa Arguinchona says the state of the art isolation unit helped save lives.

“Having those experts in our hospital, to be able to prepare everybody else in the hospital and then other hospitals throughout our region is really essential," said Arguinchona.

The treatment center is used for patients that have highly infectious diseases who need high level of care. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, COVID-19 patients were brought into the center.

“I think the isolation from away from the from the rest of the hospital is so beneficial. We can focus and we can keep the pathogens in a very secured location,” said Brooke Henriksen, a program training coordinator.

Henriksen said even when they don’t have patients, they train in the patient care rooms every three months. Doctors learned how to take care of patients and eliminate waste, while keeping themselves safe.

“All of the things that we do in the special pathogens unit are very methodical and we want our caregivers to slow down and they practice that so that they are keeping each other safe,” said Henriksen.

The special pathogens unit has 12 ICU level care rooms, a biosafety lab, and an SAN-I-PAK which helps incinerates bio waste. The SAN-I-PAK is the only biowaste incinerator in the region.

“We are able to serve our community as well as our four state region to care for a patient that could have a high consequence pathogen, and put them in our specialized isolation unit and provide them that care,” said Arguinchona.

She said they learned so much from the work they did during the pandemic. She hopes there isn’t another pandemic anytime soon, but they’re prepared.

“We all hope that that day isn't coming soon, but we never know what could, you know, appear on our doorsteps and having that state of readiness is important for our community,” said Arguinchona. 

The unit currently has no patients. The treatment center is available for patient overflow if hospital capacity becomes an issue.


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