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As COVID evolves, so does San Luis Valley Health

On Friday, March 11th, 2022, San Luis Valley Health’s maintenance team took down the temporary Negative Pressure Unit (NPU) walls.

Staff was excited to see the walls come down and had written several messages of perseverance in the days leading up to the deconstruction.

“It’s almost a sign of relief and hope that things will continue to calm down,” says ICU RN, LauriAnn Blakeman. Taking down the walls were a time to pause and reflect on the past two years, especially for the nurses.

Emma Ulmala, RN, BSN, wrote a good-bye ode to COVID on the NPU wall. “…You broke us down, Shut us out, Pushed us to the edge, But I’m still here – still holding on, Balanced on a ledge…”

The NPU walls were first built nearly two years ago, at the onset of the pandemic, on the third floor of San Luis Valley Health’s Regional Medical Center. Their purpose was to create a unit of rooms for COVID-positive patients separate from other rooms.

The hospital is still able to care for its COVID-19 patients, but having an entirely separate unit is no longer necessary for safety. Now, patient rooms are able to be individually ventilated as opposed to ventilating an entire unit.