Cleveland company turns shipping containers into medical offices, COVID-19 testing sites


CLEVELAND – Typically filled with cargo, shipping containers may be put to a new use to expand capacity for medical offices and COVID-19 testing.

“This is just our way of helping,” said Derrick Childs, Container Homes USA director of Construction and Design.

The Cleveland-based company is building prototypes, showing how the containers can be transformed into mobile doctor’s offices and COVID-19 testing sites.

“We can put together the unit very quickly, and we can make it mobile,” Childs said. “We can transport it all over the United States.”

Childs said 20-foot containers will be used for the mobile medical offices and will be climate controlled and have electricity.

He said they’re designed for placement in underserved communities, helping to free up hospital space, and a Northeast Ohio doctor has already ordered the prototype for use.

“We’ll go in, set up a mobile unit, it will have a doctor’s station in there, a refrigerator for chemicals, medication, things of that sort. You’ll come in and get yourself examined. There will be an exam station in there. It will come with a bathroom,” Childs said.

He said larger 40-foot containers will be designed for COVID-19 testing, with the capacity for 2,500 tests per day. Childs said Container Homes USA is currently in discussions with a national diagnostic lab about purchasing units.

“We’re going to be able to help some people. We might be able to save lives, literally save lives,” Childs said.

It’s just the latest creative use for shipping containers. Last spring, Columbus-based Battelle used containers to disinfect masks at mobile sites across the country.

(Photo courtesy: Container Homes USA.)

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