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The Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center’s Buena Vista clinic’s expansion will include a decontamination room for patients with infectious illnesses like COVID-19, thanks to a $25,000 grant from the Department of Regulatory Affairs.

The decontamination room, which will have a separate entrance from the main health clinic entrance, is expected to be completed with the rest of the expansion project, set to open in October.

“It’s going to be in line with the expansion of the clinic that’s happening already,” said HRRMC Foundation director Lezlie Burkley. “So it should be finished about the same time.”

“This room will be environmentally separate and from the rest of the clinic as well as negatively pressurized to prevent the spread of contaminants, disease, and virus,” said HRRMC vice-president of business development Peter Edis. “It will have showering facilities and a collection system to contain contaminated water and waste.

“Additionally, the room will have an outside entrance as well as an entrance to the larger clinic. It will also be outfitted as a typical patient exam room allowing our physicians and other practitioners to use it as a regular exam room as well when needed,” Edis said.

Currently, The clinic is divided into three sections for routine non-COVID visits, possible COVID visits, and telemedicine, Edis said.

“Additionally, we often assess patients with symptoms curbside and collect the sample for COVID testing while the patient is sitting in their car,” he said.

The forthcoming decontamination room gives the clinic a greater capacity to conduct that testing indoors, which will become especially important as the weather begins to turn and assessing patients curbside becomes infeasible.

The grant comes from DOLA’s Energy/Mineral Impact Assistance fund.

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