Jacobs is joining an international alliance that is seeking to convert shipping containers into plug-in pods to expand intensive-care units (ICUs) during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The alliance of architects, engineers, doctors, military experts and NGOs wants to help hospitals around the world overcome the shortages of ICU space to treat patients in needed of respiratory care and ventilators.
The first unit is currently being built in Milan, Italy, with the sponsorship of UniCredit. The Jacobs team is providing support with master planning, architectural design, construction and logistics support services.
The project, called Cura (Connected Units for Respiratory Ailments) is focused on turning shipping containers into plug-in ICU pods. The pods are hosted in 20-foot intermodal containers, each equipped with all necessary medical equipment to treat two Covid-19 intensive-care patients.
Cura pods are designed and constructed to be as speedy as setting up a hospital tent, but with biocontainment – thanks to negative pressure – making them as safe as an isolation ward, said the task force. Individual pods are connected by an inflatable structure to create multiple modular configurations – from four beds to over 40 – which can be deployed in just a few hours. Some pods could be placed in proximity to a hospital – such as in a car park – to expand the ICU capacity, while others could be used to create self-standing field hospitals of varying sizes.
Jacobs is working in partnership with the World Economic Forum and individuals from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to support Cura. The project is being developed in an open source, not-for-profit framework.