Facilities Engineering staff make YNHH safer for patients, staff

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After carpenters cut an opening for exhaust ductwork in a Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital unit, HVAC mechanic Matt Fabrizio worked on installing equipment to convert a room to negative air pressure for COVID-19 patients.

Like all of his coworkers in Facilities and Plant Engineering, Steve Langlan has taken on extra – often unexpected – duties during COVID-19. He’s happy to do whatever is needed.

Langlan’s daughter is a nurse, and while she doesn’t work at Yale New Haven Health System, she’s helped him understand even more how critical Facilities Engineering is to keeping patients and staff safe.

“I love being able to help,” said Langlan, an HVAC-refrigerator mechanic at Yale New Haven Hospital’s Saint Raphael Campus. “If I can make somebody else’s job safer so they can go home to their families, I feel good.” 

Since the start of YNHH’s COVID-19 preparations, Facilities staff have used their skills, experience and ingenuity to come up with solutions to even the most unique challenges. Among the many projects they’ve worked on:

  • Setting up tents for drive-through specimen collection centers and patient triage areas outside the Adult and Pediatric emergency departments
  • Building more than 300 Plexiglas shields for transaction work stations such as cash registers, reception areas and check-in/out desks
  • Assembling and installing temporary exhaust systems in regular patient rooms at both campuses to convert them into negative air pressure rooms for COVID-19 patients
  • Building negative pressure anterooms outside several ORs for procedures on COVID-19 patients
  • Installing windows in previously solid patient room doors so clinical staff can check on COVID patients without always having to enter their rooms
  • Building back boards for patient moves

In addition to these special projects, Facilities staff continue to do their regular work– though now they’re wearing masks and taking other precautions, said Andy Delandra, an HVAC-refrigerator mechanic at the SRC.

“These are extraordinary times, and I’ve seen how everyone in the hospital has pulled together and done extraordinary things,” Delandra said. “We’re proud to be part of that.”