LOCAL NEWS

Utah Business Created Bins Used To Move Coronavirus Patients

Feb 19, 2020, 7:39 PM | Updated: 8:37 pm

OGDEN, Utah – Large, secure containers built by a Weber County business have been used to help transport American patients back home after being diagnosed with coronavirus.

Workers at Ogden-based HHI Corporation said some of their work has been used to help fight the outbreak.

They started building the large containers several years ago.

Executive vice president Cliff Hokanson said they had no idea the containers were being used in the outbreak until images turned up in news coverage.

Hokanson said several parts of military planes are built inside their warehouse, including large stands for the large Boeing C-17 Globemaster military transport vehicle.

Projects go out the doors and are often never seen again. That was not the case with the containers.

“When we first saw them, we thought, ‘That’s cool! That’s our product,’” Hokanson said. “Our guys were excited about it.”

Hokanson said the large containers were seen being used to help bring coronavirus patients back for treatment in the United States.

He believed the two recently seen in news coverage were the first two they built in 2014.

“They’re unique. (It was) the first time they’ve ever been built,” Hokanson said.

The containers have three different chambers in them. Inside there’s an area where doctors and nurses can safely walk in, and another where they can suit up.

“Then they would go into the patient portal, where there’s four different beds and four different chairs, where the doctors or nurses could treat the patients,” he said.

The containers were first used in 2014 to bring doctors and nurses safely back from an Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa.

There were only four total ever made.

“We had an open order with the State Department to produce up to 20 of them, and the order was never filled,” Hokanson said.

He said the outbreak may show the need for more, but only time will tell.

“It takes about six months to produce them, and if there’s an outbreak, they need them immediately. They don’t need them in six months,” he said.

For now, HHI employees were glad to see those boxes still being used, especially during such a crucial time.

“We were just excited,” said Hokanson. “We were like, ‘We built these! It’s awesome.'”

The containers were built along with the help of MSI global, a research company in Kansas City that designed the filtration system, which keeps the virus from getting out.

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Utah Business Created Bins Used To Move Coronavirus Patients