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COVID-19: Keep eye on O2 storage systems, mortuary supplies as surges continue

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March 4, 2021

by A.J. Plunkett (aplunkett@decisionhealth.com)

Check your liquid oxygen storage and supply systems frequently to ensure they aren’t overtaxed if you experience a surge in COVID-19 patients.

If you need more morgue space, be sure there is a sufficient power source for any refrigerated trucks or other equipment, and work with your suppliers so you can get heavy-duty body bags for obese patients.
Also ensure staff are trained in how to handle bodies, including lift equipment, and review OSHA and CDC mortuary safety requirements.

The number of COVID-19 patients continues to rise and fall, sometimes county by county, across the nation as the federal government works to get out a vaccine against the novel 2019 coronavirus.

A smaller hospital in California, which has been hit heavily in a second-wave surge of patients, had so many patients on oxygen that they overwhelmed the facility’s supply system, says Ernest E. Allen, ARM, CSP, CPHRM, CHFM, a former life safety surveyor and now a patient safety executive with The Doctor’s Company who travels across the country conducting mock surveys along with other consulting services.

The hospital had to “blow off the ice at the liquid oxygen tank near the piping connection, otherwise it freezes and oxygen pressure to the hospital drops to zero,” says Allen, noting that the facility was forced to set up a schedule to use large fans to blow off the ice every two hours.

If you need more morgue space, be sure there is a sufficient power source for any refrigerated trucks or other equipment, and work with your suppliers so you can get heavy-duty body bags for obese patients.
Also ensure staff are trained in how to handle bodies, including lift equipment, and review OSHA and CDC mortuary safety requirements.



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