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November 27, 2020

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GROB System’s group effort creates medical testing booths

11 donated to Bluffton, Findlay and Lima hospitals; used to test for COVID-19 virus

FROM BLUFFTON ICON – Some health professionals call it the Superman booth.

Whatever you call it, a Bluffton-made product has immediate use for health care professionals testing persons who may have the COVID-19 virus.

A three-and-one-half week crash-course group effort by associates at GROB Systems resulted in creation of 11 testing booths that GROB is donating to area hospitals. The booths are being delivered this week.

The booths were created in GROB’s fabrication department, according to Emily Brock, GROB’s marketing coordinator. 

“We looked at prototypes from Boston, New York and South Korea before creating our own booth,” she said.

Each booth consists of Plexiglass held in an aluminum frame. Each booth has protective gloves used by a health care worker who stands on one side of the Plexiglass. The person being testing stands on the other side of the Plexiglass.

Nicki Keuneke, director of operations at Bluffton Hospital, explains that the test involves a very long nasal Q-tip swab. The health care worker takes a sample from the patient as one part of the COVID-19 test.

Two booths are going to Bluffton Hospital, three to Blanchard Valley Hospital, Findlay, three to St. Rita’s Medical Center, Lima, and three to Lima Memorial Hospital.

Depending upon demand, GROB might manufacture more of the booths.

Keuneke said that one booth will be placed in the Bluffton Hospital ER. The other will go in the outdoor testing tent.

Keuneke stressed that the two booths donated to Bluffton Hospital, as a small, rural hospital, are extremely significant. 

“The booths provide an extra layer of safety for our staff and reduces the PPE required to make a test,” she said. “PPE is critical to our staff and we can’t afford to deplete it.”

She added that the hospital is taking several safety precautions for all persons who enter the hospital.

The hospital has limited its entrances and now uses only the ER entrance. Everyone who enters, including the staff, patients and visitors, have their temperature taken.