COVID-19 respiratory center available to WSU students

Center housed in Bustad Building; students need to be evaluated via telecommunication before receiving care at the facility

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COLE QUINN

WSU’s COVID-19 respiratory care center is located in Bustad Hall, on the east side of campus.

JENAE LAXSON, Evergreen reporter

Cougar Health Services opened a new respiratory facility to treat WSU students who have more severe COVID-19 symptoms.

For students to receive care at the facility, they need to be evaluated via telecommunication first, said CHS executive director Joel Schwartzkopf. A nurse will determine if the student should be treated at the Washington Building or Bustad Hall.

CHS operates the respiratory center, he said.

The Washington Building has been a good place to treat students because it was originally the hospital for Pullman, Schwartzkopf said.

“My office is in the old pharmacy,” he said. “Everyone has their own door and a giant bathroom [and] because it is a hospital, it’s really good at providing space.”

The new respiratory care center will be located in Bustad Hall, according to WSU Insider. The Washington Building was not designed to handle something as complex as COVID-19.

CHS has been able to use the National Guard’s tents to treat students, and this was a good gap center, Schwartzkopf said.

“The [Bustad] facility is designed for the nastiest types of infections you can see,” he said. “It worked out perfectly for people possibly having COVID.”

The Washington Building does have negative pressure rooms, but the team needs more space. Schwartzkopf said these types of rooms allow for constant fresh airflow.

“You are in a place where the air is just being sucked out,” he said.

The Bustad Building has 11 rooms, according to WSU Insider. Three will be used for COVID-19 testing, a lab for all required testing, three workstations and four examination rooms.

Schwartzkopf said the funds to finance this facility were all handled internally. This was a collaborative effort with different areas in the university. Any funds needed were pulled from WSU’s internal budget.

“The [theme] of ‘Cougs helping Cougs’ really applied here,” he said.

People can expect the Bustad Building to look more like a veterinarian hospital than a traditional medical office, Schwartzkopf said. It was designed to handle large animals and needs to be sterile rather than comfortable.

This facility will be used to strictly treat WSU students, and the team will not be performing any asymptomatic testing, he said. Students who need to get tested can visit the Compton Union Building, Schwartzkopf said.