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Michigan's Health Care Coalition Obtain Available HEPA Filters to Expand Isolation Care Capacity for the Upper Peninsula Health System Marquette

October 2020


In early October 2020, a rapid rise in new COVID-19 cases was noticed in Wisconsin and Region 8 Healthcare Coalition across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This was true especially along the Wisconsin border where the case load was rapidly increasing, far beyond previous counts. Upper Peninsula Health System (UPHS) Marquette is the only tertiary care center in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. They are also the receiving hospital for many of the patients requiring tertiary critical care who were seen and treated at many of the outlying hospitals in the area. As the case load was increasing, all the hospitals across the region began using their medical surge plans to provide care for COVID-positive patients. There was a need to bolster the surge capacity for isolation beds at UPHS Marquette as the critical patient case load for COVID-positive patients went on a rapid upward trajectory.


Region 8 Healthcare Coalition queried hospitals for available portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) units and were able to get some relief. With many of the hospitals at a high capacity due to the medical surge of COVID-positive patients, outside resources were needed. A request was made to the Region 1 Healthcare Coalition hospitals for any available portable HEPA units. These units were purchased through the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) in past years. Memorial Healthcare Center in Owosso and Mid-Michigan Medical Center Gratiot were able to provide two units each to assist the rapidly growing need for additional isolation care. Region 1 Healthcare Coalition coordinated with the hospitals, and the health care coalition (HCC) coordinators from Regions 1 and 8 met in Grayling (halfway) to transfer the units. The Region 8 Healthcare Coalition team delivered them to Marquette, where UPHS Marquette put their masterful engineering team together to create a much-needed isolation surge unit. This was part of multiple surge expansions done by UPHS Marquette, allowing them to​ continue taking many of the most critical patients across the region’s hospitals.

 Image of medical staff with a HEPA unit            ​Image of Region 8 Health Care team delivering HEPA units


Regions 1 and 8 have collaborated successfully in the past, enabling them to serve the people in their communities more effectively during the response to the surge in COVID-19 cases. The facility also added five intensive care unit (ICU) beds still in use today, allowing care for 40 patients. Now more than ever, it is critical for relationship building and partnership, as the fight continues during the global pandemic.

This story was developed and submitted by the Amber Pitts, the HPP Coordinator for the state of Michigan. The ASPR Health Care Readiness Programs Communications Team made minor updates throughout for clarity.