There is an increasing number of COVID-19 infections in northern Canada and some patients may need to be transported from remote regions to hospitals in the south. Keewatin Air offers medivac services to Canada’s Arctic and has acquired a special isolation pod with which it can safely transfer contagious patients.
The pod is called an EpiShuttle and was developed by the Norwegian company EpiGuard based on experience from previous global epidemics. The pod has been certified by NATO, and Canada’s transport department has approved its use in Keewatin Air’s Pilatus PC-12 planes. These planes have short takeoff and landing capabilities which make them able to land in tiny, remote communities with modest airstrips. Keewatin Air has served communities like Alert, which is the most northerly community in Canada and the world, and is about 1300 km from the North Pole.
Pod is more quickly disinfected
The advantage to the EpiShuttle is that it can be loaded right into a plane, ambulance or other vehicle and it only takes two to four hours to disinfect whereas it can take almost a full day to disinfect an entire aircraft.
The pod protects the crew and accompanying health care workers from infection while allowing attendants to monitor the patient. It has ports through which they can offer full intensive care treatment such as intubation and insertion of catheters into veins.
“Disinfection puts transport vessels out of play, and in case of exposure, a whole team can be grounded for days,” said EpiGuard CEO Ellen Cathrine Andersen in a statement. “The pandemic compromise(s) the entire medivac system. That is why it is crucial (to transport) with airtight single patient isolation…”