The role of dedicated biocontainment patient care units in preparing for COVID-19 and other infectious disease outbreaks
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In response to the Ebola outbreak of 2014-2016, the US Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) established 10 regional treatment centers, called biocontainment units (BCUs) to prepare and provide care for patients infected with high consequence pathogens. Many of these BCUs were among the first units to activate for COVID-19 patient care. The activities of the Johns Hopkins BCU in the three domains of containment care ---(1) preparedness planning, education and training, (2) patient care and unit operations, and (3) research and innovation---helped prepare the Johns Hopkins Health System for COVID-19. Here we describe the role of the JH BCU in the Hopkins COVID-19 response to illustrate the value of BCUs in the current pandemic and their potential role in preparing healthcare facilities and health systems for future infectious disease threats.
Keywords: COVID-19; biocontainment; emergency preparedness; infection control and prevention; infectious disease preparedness.