Skyping In

American Doctors Are Treating a Coronavirus Patient With a Robot

One easy trick to avoid catching a deadly pathogen.

1. 27. 20 / Dan Robitzski
Providence Regional Medical Center
Image by Providence Regional Medical Center

American doctors are taking extra precautions as they monitor and treat patients with 2019-nCoV, the coronavirus that emerged in China last month.

In order to prevent the coronavirus from spreading within and beyond the hospital, the staff at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Washington is relying on a robot that can measure the patient’s vitals and act as a platform for video conferencing, according to CNN.

The robot is little more than a platform on wheels with a built-in screen — nurses reportedly still need to enter the room to reposition its camera — though it does sport a stethoscope, like a real doctor. All the same, the tech illustrates the extent to which medical officials are trying to isolate 2019-nCoV cases and stem a potentially devastating outbreak.

The hospital updated its robotic quarantine system, CNN reports, in response to the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak.

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“That’s why we set up protocols that will allow us to treat patients with infectious diseases in a way that we can isolate them without spreading the virus to anyone,” George Diaz, chief of the hospital’s infectious disease division, told CNN.

It’s unclear how long the patient will stay under quarantine, CNN reports, as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have requested that the hospital conduct additional tests.

“They’re looking for ongoing presence of the virus,” Diaz told CNN. “They’re looking to see when the patient is no longer contagious.”


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