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St. Luke’s opens new 32-bed unit at Allentown campus

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St. Luke’s University Health Network opened a newly constructed, 32-bed unit today at its Allentown campus on Hamilton Street, which includes a newly designed air filtration system.

The new, spacious room on the fifth floor of the south tower is a medical surgery floor that’s equipped with an air system that’s designed to remove airborne pathogens from the heating, ventilation and air conditioning circulation within the space, with the goal of reducing patient and staff exposure to airborne contaminants.

LifeAire Systems of Upper Macungie Township partnered with St. Luke’s to install the in-duct air purification technology. LifeAire said it is its first installation at a hospital.

The $8 million unit, designed by NK Architects of Morristown, N.J., and led by St. Luke’s’ project manager Brian Walsh, includes nearly 40 new staffers to the Allentown campus, including environmental maintenance technicians, nurses and physicians.

The Allentown campus also welcomed its new president, William Moyer, who transitioned into the role from St. Luke’s Miners Memorial Hospital in Coaldale.

The campus’ previous president, Frank Ford, moved into a new role as chief integration officer to handle the recent acquisitions of Blue Mountain Health System of Lehighton and Palmerton and Sacred Heart Hospital in Allentown, which are pending regulatory approval.

“We feel it most appropriate to bring the provision of this technology here to the Lehigh Valley. … As a company located in the Lehigh Valley, we want to provide the finest care for our local residents first and foremost, and then replicate the model in other regions,” said Kathryn C. Worrilow, founder and CEO of LifeAire Systems.

The technology uses multi-staged levels of air filtration, purification and inactivation media to aggressively remove chemical, particulate and infectious biological pathogens from both outside and recirculated air. The patented design is mathematically modeled to kill or inactivate most infection biological pathogens – such as anthrax spores – on a single pass through system.

The new unit will start hosting patients today. Technology specialists at St. Luke’s will track and collect data to compare the potential impact of the air filtration system with other network units throughout 2018.

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Christopher Holland

Christopher Holland

Christopher Holland is a researcher for Lehigh Valley Business and blogs on arts and entertainment in the region.

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