Manitoba airline implementing new tool to transfer COVID-19 patients

WINNIPEG — A Winnipeg-based airline has implemented a new tool to aid in the fight against COVID-19.

Keewatin Air says it is now ready to deploy the EpiShuttle, a single-patient isolation and transportation unit to help transport contagious patients who need additional care due to COVID-19.

“It has a dual role,” said Jason Kendall, the person responsible for maintenance with Keewatin Air. “It provides a layer of safety to the patient, because it keeps them protected from the environment, and it keeps the medical people protected from the patient.”

With the EpiShuttle, medivac service providers can perform patient monitoring and full intensive care of infected patients during air, land, and sea transport.

This month, staff with Keewatin and the hospital staff at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg and Stretcher Service of Manitoba have completed training and trial runs with the new equipment.

Keewatin Air

(Source: Keewatin Air)

“It goes right through everything,” Kendall said. “How to use it is the biggest part, the safety side of it, how to clean it, which is a very big part of this unit, and obviously with anything that’s highly contagious.”

The equipment has not yet been used in a call, but Kendall said it will help with transport in remote areas of Canada, including the north. He specifically cited Nunavut’s COVID-19 cases as an example of a situation where it could be used, noting the company has a transport agreement with the territory.

“This is what the shuttles are for, is when they feel they cannot contain it, and they need to move people, this is when we’re there for that full support for them,” he said.

The EpiShuttle is made by EpiGuard, a company based in Norway.

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