Coronavirus: Abu Dhabi opens new field hospital to 'lift burden' from existing facilities

The high-tech facility in Al Razeen will mostly treat workers from nearby labour accommodation

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A new field hospital set up outside Abu Dhabi city opened its doors to coronavirus patients on Thursday.

Located in the Razeen area, the high-tech facility stretches over 46,500 square feet and is dedicated to treating workers from nearby labour accommodation.

"This is to lift the burden off regular hospitals," Maj Gen Maktoum Al Sharifi, a member of the Abu Dhabi Emergency Crisis and Disasters Committee, told The National as he toured the site on Wednesday night.

“The aim was to build it near labour camps in the outskirts of the city, so it would be easier and quicker to transfer patients."

The numbers may be growing, but many people test positive without suffering from any symptoms. The patients with severe symptoms are few

The hospital has 200 beds for regular Covid-19 patients plus an intensive care unit with 50 beds.

“Previously, all cases were transferred to regular Seha hospitals, which placed a lot of pressure on the health sector,” he said, in reference to the public hospital operator Seha.

“So the committee decided to introduce its own field hospitals to treat patients with severe symptoms who require medical care.”

Maj Gen Maktoum Al Sharifi, also director general of Abu Dhabi Police, said he does not expect the hospital to be fully occupied for some time and that there were relatively few serious cases.

“To be honest, from what I’ve seen as a member with the committee, the patients with severe symptoms are few," he said.

"The numbers may be growing, but many people test positive without suffering from any symptoms.

“However, we have to be ready.”

The hospital was built in nine days and was fully equipped and ready to receive patients on Wednesday night.

The corridors and wards have been painted with fresh bright colours, with drawings on the walls.

A day in the life of an ER doctor

A day in the life of an ER doctor

Beds have been separated with colourful curtains, and with each mini-room comes a flat screen TV with a variety of channels for both adults and children, an iPad device and high-speed internet to keep the patients entertained during their treatment.

Headphones are connected to the beds so patients don’t bother one another.

Next to each bed there is a coffee table decorated with flowers, and beside the bed there is artwork on the wall.

“We will try to play spa music in the background,” said one of the nurses, “especially in the ICU unit.”

Like any regular hospital, the facility has been equipped with examination rooms, x-ray units, pharmacies, storage areas, restrooms, toilets and food outlets.

The medical staff includes 50 doctors and 80 nurses, in addition to 50 administrators to manage patients.

Al Razeen was one of five field hospitals planned primarily for blue collar workers.

“This is the first one to open,” said Major Gen Al Sharifi.

The second one will open in Al Mafraq “within a few days”, followed by a third field hospital in Mussaffah.

Similar facilities are expected to follow in Al Dhafra and Al Ain.

“Across the five field hospitals there will be a total of 1,200 beds approximately, and around 225 ICU beds,” he said.

The hospitals are air-conditioned in a way that prevents the spread of the virus.

Negative air pressure systems prevent the spread of germs through the air through ventilation ducts.

“The field hospital is mostly dedicated for workers, however, it could receive anyone if needed,” the police chief said.