With the number of COVID-19 cases still rising around the world, consistent and accessible testing remains critical to flattening the curve. But even as testing has become more available, another issue has surfaced: not enough interest from the general public to get tested. One reason people may be wary is fear or mistrust of the health care providers, according to a May 17 article in The Washington Post; another may be lack of equipped facilities in underserved communities.
Seeking to reduce stigma around testing while making the process safer for healthcare providers, global firm CannonDesign has developed COVID Shield, a modular testing facility that enables individuals to get tested without having direct physical contact with the healthcare staff administering the tests. With COVID Shield, CannonDesign aims to facilitate local, pop-up testing sites, allowing for community spaces—such as college campuses or outside workplaces—to become accessible testing centers as the need arises.
COVID Shield comprises durable, readily cleanable polycarbonate sheets attached to an external frame, creating a large rectangular space for a health care provider to stand within. Two flexible gloves anchored in the center of the front panel enable health care providers to administer the COVID-19 test on patients standing outside of the module. As a result, both parties maintain a safe distance through the life-sized polycarbonate shield. Additionally, the module may reduce how quickly providers go through their inventory of personal protective equipment, already in short supply.
Providers can purchase COVID Shields directly from CannonDesign, and then use common tools to assemble each 9-foot-tall unit in 90 minutes. To reduce the need for heavy lifting, CannonDesign capped the Shield's total weight at 185 pounds during its design and development process, ensuring that each element of the COVID Shield weighed 60 pounds or less and could be easily assembled by two people.
Providers can also customize COVID Shield's polycarbonate sheets, covering them with public health messages or printed advertising.
Although health care providers can currently purchase a basic or expanded license for the design for their own material sourcing and fabrication, CannonDesign is also exploring alternative procurement options.